HR Monitor recommendations

Baron von Raschke

Triple-Digit Post Count
Hello all. I've searched through the forums here for HR monitor recommendations and there have been a lot of discussion about the use of them but I don't see any specific threads on favorite brands/models, etc. Looking online at reviews it appears that opinions on these monitors is very polarized. Every brand seems to get 5 star reviews and 1 star reviews and it makes it difficult to make a purchase. I'd like to get this board's opinions of types of HR monitors everyone is using and which brand they've been happiest with. Thanks!
 

Bill Been

More than 500 posts
I found a Polar H6 at Target on Close-out a few months ago. Although I believe it has been obsoleted by the newer H7 model, it works seamlessly with the free Polar App. I think others have reported good results with the H7. These are both chest strap style. Not idea if a wristwatch style would work with cleans and snatches.
 

jca17

More than 300 posts
I have a Polar FT-7 and it is serving me well. I really like it BUT I would buy a different one if I could now. I'm just doing S&S so cleans or snatches aren't even part of my session (outside of skill practice in warm up). Even with just swings, its kind of annoying to have it on though. I don't wear a watch, so maybe for people who always wear a watch it wouldn't be an issue. Also, the range is so short that if you set the watch just a few feet from you, it loses the connection.

I would definitely go for the H7 now and take advantage of the features the app provides. I think you're also able to interface with HRV apps with it, which is something I'm interested in now.

I'm not going to get a new one though, because the FT-7 does the job well for seeing how recovered I am after sets. You can do "recharge" days following the discussions on (180-age) + 5 being your target max, or you can go for more glycolitic days where your go to 90% max HR. It sounds like knowing how and when to do either type of session is important for optimal progress towards the S&S goals.
 

Lew

Triple-Digit Post Count
BvR, I too just went through the process of researching and purchasing a HRM. There are hundreds to choose from. It comes down to finding one that does exactly what you want it to do, and then finding the best model with those characteristics.

I'm new to S&S. One week to be exact.
This morning I had my first full session with my new HRM.
The practice session was everything I wanted it to be.

I just bought a Polar FT-7.

I almost bought the FT-1, but the FT-7 is something I could grow with for while.
The FT-1 is strictly heart-rate.
The FT-7 takes it to a whole new level.

I wear a watch a lot of the time, and the chest strap does not bother my 48" chest, but I am exploring the limits of that flexible fabric!

The H7 sounded great, and was my first choice since the readout would be on my phone instead of my wrist, allowing for practice of
exercises Bill mentioned, but the H7 will not connect with my iPhone 3GS.

As for the watch getting in the way of the bell, I plan to turn the watch around or simply move it up my arm where it will be out of the way.

When you add GPS features they can get expensive.

I just wanted to keep track of my HR and collect some data about it.

They are difficult to return so be sure you research well and decide exactly what you want.
 

Baron von Raschke

Triple-Digit Post Count
Thanks everyone, I appreciate the input. I checked out the Polar FT-7 on Amazon and it looks good to me. I always wear a watch so I'll have no trouble with this on my wrist. I had a $50 heart monitor, though I can't remember the brand, it was a watch type, and just had a lot of trouble synching the watch to the chest strap so I gave up on it. I can see it maybe getting in the way of getups (or any other move where the bell ends up resting on your wrist, like snatches) but I like the idea of maybe turning it around on my wrist like Lew suggested. We'll see how it goes. I don't have a smartphone (yes I know, get with the times) so any of the H7 types are out, I think. Polar seems to have a good name in general and I've seen others on the forum mention Polar. I'm only looking for HR because I'm sticking with S&S and GPS and other features that runners may appreciate are not necessary for me. Going to check out the FT-7. If I had a smartphone, the H7 would probably be the one. It's a nightmare trying to read through all the reviews online and decide who to believe.
 
  • Like
Reactions: Lew

Harald Motz

Quadruple-Digit Post Count
Certified Instructor
Herr Baron,
I can recommend Polar. I have the H7 now and it works very well. Before I used an old Polar model (over 10years od) I was not content every time, as it happened sometimes, that the readings where pure bulls...Then I read somewhere that it works a whole lot better, that you should wear the transmitter slightly left or right out of the Center line of the sternum. That made a real difference (and make the strap really wet), but on very few occasions there are/will be problems, which seems kind of bit of "normal" with these devices in general, as with any product review there are a few people who tear a product in shreds completely.
 

Baron von Raschke

Triple-Digit Post Count
Hello Harald, thank you for the additional information. This is the first I've heard of wearing the transmitter slightly off center to get a better signal. I knew enough about the last one I had to get the strap wet prior to working out but still had some frustration with it. It sounds like from what you're saying that it just goes with the territory with these units, so maybe I'll lower my expectations a bit. Thanks again!
 

LeoTraining

Double-Digit Post Count
Certified Instructor
Hi Baron, I have used the Polar FT4 and currently use the Polar M400. I went with the M400 because it has built in GPS tracking for running, rowing, cycling etc and blue tooth capability so you can check your HRV as well on mobile applications.

If you aren't looking for all the bells and whistles and strictly HR the FT7 or FT4 will fulfill your needs.

Also, I've used Garmin and Polar. Polar's products are far superior and I believe they are the original developer of the technology. Their customer service is also outstanding.

Enjoy!
 

LeoTraining

Double-Digit Post Count
Certified Instructor
You're welcome Baron. Enjoy and let me know if you have any additional questions about training. I've been training using HR for several years and previously trained using lactate testing.
 

Abdul-Rasheed

Quadruple-Digit Post Count
Is there a monitor that allows us to set an upper limit and lower limit, crossing which will alert us with a beep or something similar? I prefer something that does not require a smart phone. Thanks.
 

LeoTraining

Double-Digit Post Count
Certified Instructor
Hi Abdul, The Polar FT4 lets you set a floor and ceiling on your heart rate training zones. It will beep if you are below/above the threshold you have set. Most models do this so check out what additional features you want.
 

JamesO

More than 500 posts
Someday I'll be able to post something that isn't the "polar" opposite of what everyone else seems to be suggesting ;)

I had a Wahoo TICKR, and a Wahoo TICKR X. Fantastic HRM's. The TICKR X has additional features that really up it's ante, like internal memory that lets you use it without actually being connected to your device. I don't know how useful that is in our situations, but it was great during the training I did for my triathlon. It essentially turned my phone in a a top of the line Garmin. The TICKR's integrated with my phone seamlessly, and they were comfortable to boot. They "disappeared" after a minute of two.

So that's another option.
 

jrosto

Double-Digit Post Count
I checked my Fitbit Charge HR against a Pulse Oximeter the other day and found the Fitbit was way off. So I bit the bullet and purchased a Polar H7, The FB wasn't worthless, but the H7 is great.

Here is today's swings on the H7



And the same swings as recorded by the Fitbit



The FB did help, but trying to work with such inaccurate data kinda sux.
 

Darren Best

Triple-Digit Post Count
I also use a H7 for HR monitoring with presses, get ups and snatches. Paired with my iPhone it does great and stores all my sessions.

You will be surprised at what you learn by watching your HR from day to day.

I also have the Fitbit Charge HR and the HR part it is consistently way off.
 

Henningb

Triple-Digit Post Count
For short strength sessions optical readers currently used in wrist devices is underdeveloped to suffice, chest straps are far more accurate.
 

King Cobra Fit

Matt - CSEP-CPT, SFG I, FMS I&II
Certified Instructor
For short strength sessions optical readers currently used in wrist devices is underdeveloped to suffice, chest straps are far more accurate.
I have found the same thing. I have a Tomtom Spark (wrist HR). its great for tracking activity, distance traveled, and as an alarm, however when I'm doing things like swings or teaching a spin class, I'll be killing myself and look at the watch and my heart is at 96 and dropping (I'd like to think I'm that fit however I'm not going to fool myself haha). its also sketchy having a pricy watch on your wrist and having the bell in the rack on that side.....Sketchy as in I don't wear it haha.
I also have a polar chest strap and watch that I use when I'd like accurate HR info but the strap isn't compatible with the tomtom.
 

Henningb

Triple-Digit Post Count
@offwidth The kettlebell could crush the watch, how do you avoid that as there is some limitation to how far the devices can be separated.
 
Top Bottom