The old method of putting two fingers on wrist or neck to measure heart rate works but it is difficult to monitor and track the heart rate amidst activity. Heart rate monitoring is an essential tool to gauge the physical fitness of a person. Heart rate monitors track the heartbeats per minute, optimising calorie burnout and making the fitness regime better. Heart rate training and heart rate recovery can be can be done by correct heart rate monitoring. Apart from fitness workouts, heart monitors are also useful for fitness tracking in long distance endurance activity, recovery from injury or in medical conditions.
Heart rate monitors usually operate as Chest strap heart rate monitors and Wrist based strapless built-in heart rate monitors. The essential differences between chest-strap monitors and wristband watches are comfort and accuracy. Since ECG devices are worn close to your heart, they are more accurate than built -in heart rate monitors; however, bulky monitors are needed to be worn around your chest that operate best in conjunction with water or sweat. Built -in monitors are much more distinct and simpler to wear, but are slightly less accurate gauge of your heart rate. Heart rate watches are an excellent method to keep track of your fitness but not a good way to indicate your health.
As the name suggests, chest strap heart rate monitors have a transmitter or sensor which is attached to the chest and from there the information is sent to the wrist tracker. The information is stored amongst the devices and adjusted according to the height, body weight, BMI which you feed into the device. All the numbers then lead to the calculation of the success of the activity. Chest strap monitors are of various types and are useful for various functions. For instance, Wahoo Tickr X effectively tracks the effort in the workout; Polar H10 has advanced precision electrodes for better outcomes, My Zone can be used to track activity in different heart zones, Garmin HRM Tri is designed for triathletes; Suunto Smart Belt, Moov HR Burn and HR sweat and Scoshe Rhythm+ are also making strides in the industry. Let’s review the chest strap monitors in detail
1. Wahoo Tickr X
The most modern of Wahoo’s three heart rate training chest straps is Tickr X. It is the ultimate heart rate monitor and workout tracker and captures both motion and intensity to give the most effective workout. Apart from heart rate, calorie burn, running form metrics, indoor run, spin rhythm and counts reps with Wahoo’s Run fit or 7-minute workout apps are also measured during strength training.
Heart rate data up to 16 hours can be stored in its internal memory, which permits you to leave your smartphone behind and sync afterwards. It is water resistant and can be used up to a depth of 5 ft. Weighing about 8.5gms with a sweat proof washable adjustable strap, it is really handy piece of technology. The battery has a life for 12 months.
Over 50 smartphone apps including Nike+ Running, MapMyFitness, Run keeper, Strava, Apple Health, and Cycle meter/Run meter are compatible with it. Tickr X can be connected to GPS watches, iPhones and Android devices using ANT+ dual band technology and Bluetooth 4 capabilities. The strap can be linked directly to the Apple Watch to get heart rate data in the Workout app.
It gives a tough competition in the market of heart rate monitors.
2. Polar H10
Polar has introduced H10 as the latest version of its high in demand H7 heart monitor. The H10 has a soft fabric chest strap adapts to the shape of your body smoothly, similar to its forerunner. The new buckle mechanism and silicone dots assist in retaining it in place during training, and heart rate is caught precisely by interference-preventing electrodes. The improved electrodes make Polar H10 the most accurate heart sensor in Polar’s history.
Internal memory is offered by H10 currently which can be useful in conditions when you desire to leave your phone behind. Since just a single session can be stored at an instant, it has to be synced soon after the session. Data transfer can be done to Polar Beat, which is Polar’s free training app. Being waterproof, it can be worn for swimming and data transfer can be done later on; however, the Bluetooth connectivity will not operate. H10 strap can be utilized with several other products from Polar and it works well with other gym equipment. It keeps on improving with OTA software updates.
The H10 is one of the best options as a dependable heart monitor. Heart rate monitoring has become more precise than ever with Polar H10.
3. MyZone MZ-3
Primarily operating in gyms and health clubs, MyZone has been in the chest strap heart rate monitoring business for quite sometime. MZ3, the company’s latest device, has definitely introduced a level of competition to regular heart rate training.
The name stands for different fitness zones that everyone has that alter over time. Those zones are recognized, rewarded and adjusted by the MZ3 and that information is presented in five tiles according to the intensity. This data is then used in a very simple point system, called MEPS (MYZONE Effort Points), to give users a sense of satisfaction and achievement and makes fitness an enjoyable game. It ensures you earn the rewards for your effort. Speed, cadence, or weight lifted is not measured by MyZone – it measures the effort put in. This evens out the playing field and hence the beginner effort can be comparable with the effort exerted by elite athletes. Everyone can control the effort they exert, and it is the control of that factor that makes MYZONE so fun and engaging.
It is claimed by the company that readings delivered by its chest straps have 99.4% EKG accuracy which is much greater than wrist based monitors.
4. Garmin HRM Tri
Particularly designed for triathletes, Garmin HRM Tri is a superb device for cycling, swimming and running.
The HRM-Tri can be used under water where it stores heart rate data, then forwards it to the monitor when you are out of water. Real-time heart rate is also send to the watch when the monitor is out of the water. While running on land, six running dynamics metrics are reported by the built in accelerometer which include: cadence, stride length, ground contact time, ground contact time balance, vertical oscillation and vertical ratio. This wireless strap sends heart rate data to Garmin devices. It is compatible with Foreunner and Edge units, as well as Colorado and Oregon series units that have HRM capability.
Garmin’s smallest and lightest heart rate monitoring module fits within the width of the strap. It is made highly comfortable in and out of water with the soft, rounded edges of the strap and covered seams. The life span of the user-replaceable battery is a remarkable 10 months (assuming 1 hour/day use) period.
Garmin HRM Tri has added another level for triathletes offering them the most comprehensive records of their activity to help them train and achieve their goals.
5. Suunto Smart Belt
Suunto is highly particular about the size of their product. It is claimed by the company that their product is the smallest Bluetooth Smart compatible heart rate sensor on the market currently and that might be correct. Being little, the sensor module weights only 40 grams, while the strap width is only 30 millimetres.
When running, real-time heart rate data and calories burned are provided by the sensor. It can be used while swimming as well as it is water resistant up to 30 metres. While in water, up to 3 hours of heart rate data is stored by the sensor. The device can be synced back to your Ambit 3 watch or the Suunto smartphone app on your Android or iOS phone for post workout analysis when you return to the land. Pairing the sensor with the free Suunto Movescount App, enables you can analyze, relive and share your moves to make every move count, which takes your fitness tracking to a different level.
Suunto Movescount is a growing outdoor sports community with a sports diary and unique personalization options to enrich your Suunto sports watch functionality which can be joined with the free Suunto Movescount App.
6. Moov HR Burn & HR Sweat
Moov is a company known for its strides in taking an innovative approach to activity tracking. HR Burn, its first heart rate monitoring chest strap, was introduced recently. It follows the EKG-accurate HR Sweat, which came last year.
You will be guided by both trackers to get the most out of your workouts and keep burning those calories hours after your workouts. You will remain in the same heart rate zone by just following the voice coaching. To bring you the correct intensity, there has been adjustment of the workouts with variety and intelligence.
HR Burn operates like a regular chest strap; however, HR Sweat sits on your high temple to get a more accurate pulse reading than from your wrist or chest. The device shines a LED light to illuminate the skin and measures changes in light absorption which correlates to the perfusion of blood and hence measures the heart rate. Related to design, the sensor is present in the sweat-absorbant headband. It is also available as Moov HR Swim, the exact same technology in the form of a swim cap. This implies you can get dependable heart rate data during your activity in the swimming pool.
Thus, the availability of multipurpose chest straps, with high accuracy makes them highly advantageous as heart rate monitors. You can choose between the wide variety of available options and manage your health and fitness accordingly.