Southampton’s director of performance Mo Gimpel explains how you can take the guesswork out of training by using this simple piece of technology a heart rate monitor.
When Sam Allardyce introduced heart rate monitors at Bolton Wanderers in the mid-1990s, his cutting edge approach to sports science had mixed results.
While most of the squad embraced his methods, veteran striker Ian Marshall strapped his monitor to his pet dog in a bid to avoid additional fitness training.
He was later forced to admit the canine was responsible for the bizarre readings on the device after being quizzed by Allardyce, who thankfully saw the funny side.
Heart rate monitors have since become a staple piece of wearable tech used by professional clubs, amateur sides and even Sunday League players trying to get in shape.
But how exactly can you use one to improve your fitness? We spoke to Southampton’s director of performance, Mo Gimpel, to find out…
“First of all what you’re trying to do is work out your maximum heart rate,” says Gimpel. “You can do 220 minus your age, which is a bit old school and isn’t accurate for everyone – but it will give you a rough idea. From that you will be able to work out where your 90%, 80% threshold is and all the way down.”
Get a sweat on
“When you train you’re looking to get a stimulus that makes you fitter. To do this you need to be working at 80-85%. Interval training such as repeated sprints will ensure you reach this zone and get you fit fast.”
Use the numbers
“If you have a system that means you can see your heart rate live, you can see how hard you have to work. If you have to work harder to reach that zone, then so be it – run harder or reduce your rest time so you don’t allow your heart rate to drop so much.”
Reap the rewards
“When you get used to reading the numbers you get in tune with your body and how hard you need to work. We’re all busy trying to fit in training so let’s get the best quality training we can – a heart rate monitor is a great way of trying to do that.”