Talk test and HR

Discussion in 'Everything Else' started by Ryan T, Dec 6, 2018.

  1. Ryan T

    Ryan T More than 500 posts

    I think I've seen it mentioned somewhere else that HR isn't the best measure of being rested enough to proceed to the next set of A+A work, but even with my heart pumping along pretty fast, I've been able to legitimately pass the talk test slowly saying the following without huffing and puffing, "I can pass the talk test with no problem. I can pass the talk test with ease." I feel rested enough with good power for the next set when I can say that but am I really passing the talk test?

  2. Jim Lauerman

    Jim Lauerman More than 300 posts


    My experience is that passing the talk test is inadequate recovery for me. I am probably overthinking this but when I perform A+A swings I allow my heart rate to recover below 60% (about 96 BPM at my advanced age ) before starting the next set. This % was determined through a lot of trial and error, measuring my heart rate response to A+A weighted swings. It keeps my maximum heart rate below about 75% for the duration of the training and never over 80%.

    It may be that my aerobic system is more compromised than most but this protocol seems to work “for me”. YMMV.

    North Coast Miller likes this.
  3. Ryan T

    Ryan T More than 500 posts

    Thanks for the perspective Jim. I'm trying to get a "feel" for what it's supposed to feel like. My most recent session where I did OTM 200@16kg snatches, 100@24kg swings and 10 GUs@24kg, I could pass the talk test but the HR seemed to be "chugging" along. It wasn't uncomfortable, but it was elevated. I never felt the "burn" either.I enjoyed the session, but still trying to get a deeper understanding of all the nuts and bolts.
    Bauer likes this.
  4. banzaiengr

    banzaiengr Quadruple-Digit Post Count

    That's very tough to gauge in my opinion Ryan.

    It's my understanding from the A+A research that was the conclusion.

    Trying not to sound like a S.A. but what is pretty fast? In A+A research the HR was lowered to a value that would allow you to not go over your MAF value (180-age) the next set. But there is adjusted MAF (-5 if you take medication or are recovering from an injury) and (+5 if your are in very good health and have been training for sometime) and going over MAF just a few sets just a bit was no big deal. What using these values will do is IF you pay attention to how you feel at say MAF - 15 HBM when beginning the next set then you won't need the monitor. Also when doing aerobics at MAF you will pretty much be able to pass the talk test so if you pay attention to that, you know how you should feel if in theory you are in a state where you are not glycolytic. (of course that would be related to whether you are in good health or not)

    The talk test is well a qualitative test and will be very subjective to each person based on their previous training history.
    Bret S. likes this.
  5. Jim Lauerman

    Jim Lauerman More than 300 posts

    I should add to my comments that when I say the “talk test” doesn’t work well for me I don’t mean that I am “burning out” during the session. I am referring to my ability to recover and not feel like I am overtaxing my CNS. I may have some unique challenges there that require me to be more conservative on recovery between sets.

    It is common for me to feel fantastic during a training session and for the rest of that day, with energy to burn. Then I have a bad night of sleep and wake up physically exhausted the next day. I am assuming this is telling me that the training was too glycolitic, although I have no scietific knowledge or training experience to support that conclusion.

    I am just a layman at this stuff, but if Maffetone is right, I may need to “auto-regulate” my training with heart rate. “Listening to my body” doesn’t seem to work. All the voices in my head keep me from hearing it.
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  6. North Coast Miller

    North Coast Miller More than 2500 posts

    My breath recovers first, then HR - even doing HIIT within 60-90 seconds or so I can pass a talk test and HR might drop to 100 within 3 minutes.

    For a full recharge I think a timer is better than any other method you might use (3 minutes minimum), though the HR could work in absence of a timer. You'd want to chose a pretty low number, 60% of presumed max sounds good.
  7. Bret S.

    Bret S. Quadruple-Digit Post Count Certified Instructor

    Ryan, have you listened to Al's latest podcast? There you'll find the answers I believe.
  8. Oscar

    Oscar Quadruple-Digit Post Count

    I personally feel rushed when I train with a HRM, even if peaking at my MAF (145 for 35 yo in my case). When I go by feel I take more rest than when using the HRM.

    My interpretation of the talk test is that it should allow you to talk without interruption and without limit. If someone is listening to you, he/she shouldn't be able to notice you are exercising.
    Bret S. likes this.
  9. Ryan T

    Ryan T More than 500 posts

    I did. I heard Al say that he doesn't like HR as a determinant of readiness, but I don't remember anything else more specific from a guidance perspective. I may have missed it though.
    Bret S. likes this.
  10. Bret S.

    Bret S. Quadruple-Digit Post Count Certified Instructor

    For A&A just wait until your strong enough for the next max effort using full power, you can use the HR to teach yourself cues, pay attention to body sensations, respiration rate etc.. Nose breath.. forget about MAF.
    Some days will feel different from other days regarding strength and recovery, you can use the talk test to help train yourself too. I use the HRM but don't look at it, then I compare sensations and cadence to the charts, you have to go by feel, rest longer if you need so you'll be ready for the next repeat. Five reps with heavy snatches.
    Don't overthink it.. No rocket surgery here
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  11. fractal

    fractal More than 500 posts

    I just go by feel, and time. Usually until I feel ready + 10s. I like to see how long that took and try to stay 'on schedule' between repeats. If I can't sustain it, I overestimated my recovery. Don't think there is much harm in resting a bit longer than you need as long as you don't lose your mojo
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  12. Jim Lauerman

    Jim Lauerman More than 300 posts

    I am in no way suggesting that my methodology is good for anyone else but I want to share another reason for timing my “A+A” swings by heart rate. I use the time it takes to recover to 60% between sets as a measure of progress and when to progress.

    For example, I recently noticed that I could perform 20 sets of 7 two-handed swings in 20 minutes while recovering to 60% of presumed max between each set. A few weeks ago that took me almost 30 minutes. I am using the one set per minute standard (for at least 20 minutes) as a trigger to increase volume and/or intensity. Now I will increase the KB weight, decrease reps to 5 and sets to 10 and start the progression over with the new, heavier, bell.

    I think of it as “auto-regulation” of my progression. Esoteric, I know, but satisfies my need to quantify what I am doing while keeping my enthusiasm under control (always a struggle).

    I doubt that anyone else would necessarily find this protocol helpful. It’s “geeky” to say the least.
  13. North Coast Miller

    North Coast Miller More than 2500 posts

    That's actually a very intelligent method of measuring progress in this context.
  14. ali

    ali Quadruple-Digit Post Count

    Jim, that's close to how I use a hr too, not geeky at all!!
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  15. Harald Motz

    Harald Motz Quadruple-Digit Post Count Certified Instructor

    @Ryan T a good measure for A+A work is your breath. After a repeat breathe only through your nose deeply in with short pause and out short pause deeply in. After just a few repeats you recognize, that the urge to breathe will get stronger. A good sign to be ready is when your breathing is free of any urgencies. This is a way to go if you want to put serious volume of up to an hour (or more, but usually the hands have a way of saying when it's enough)

    You can play the game a bit further by using Pavel's breath recommendation from S&S. As an example do five snatches and give yourself 10 breaths to recover. When this is easy reduce a breath. You come to a point where it you may not be recovered as you wish you would like how to feel to be ready. Make the recovery longer then by extending your breathing cycle. This is not easy, as it is a sure way to make resting "harder" than the ballistics.

    just resting until hr drops to a certain hr margin is a very easy and convenient way to put up volume.

    talk test is the poor man's way to have a rough hint where the anaerobic threshold is. This may be more useful in "pure" classic endurance events: running, biking, rowing swimming can get tricky.
    You run five minutes and talk a bit. increase speed and getting to another five minute mark talk a few sentences. repeat until you eventually unable to do so. Here should be the AnT.

    This test can be done with a hr monitor: increasing speed every five minutes. It takes up to 2 min where hr does not rise anymore and levels. repeat until the hr does not level, but keeps ascending. The last level hr is an indicator of AnT.

    The AnT is defined where Lactate build up and breakdown are no longer in balance. Lactate keeps rising, breathing gets heavier and increases, fatigue sets in...

    This AnT can be a good "safe" ceiling for "on the minute" work, as with a decent intensity recovery is incomplete pretty fast.
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  16. Bret S.

    Bret S. Quadruple-Digit Post Count Certified Instructor

    This is gold!
    fractal likes this.
  17. Jim Lauerman

    Jim Lauerman More than 300 posts

    For what it’s worth, I find this point (Ant) to be at about 85% of max. Because of my track record of doing way too much anaerobic work, I set my HRM to warn me if I get to 80%. If I was to get that high (I try not to) the lag in HR increase will probably peak at about Ant.

    I rarely actually peak over about 75%.
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