Can’t Get Heart Rate Up Cycling – 6 Common Symptoms & Useful Advices

Why you can’t get heart rate up cycling

Can’t get heart rate up cycling; do you know why? It could be your worse fitness performance, bad medical problem, or something else. Let’s find the answer.



That you can’t get heart rate up cycling is a common problem during the practice session. But why?

For cycling, heart rate (HR) always plays an important measure. The higher intensity of the cardio workout, the larger the number of heartbeats each minute.

But the problem is that your heart rate doesn’t not go up that much. Consequently, it affects your training effectiveness.

Why you can’t get heart rate up cycling

Why you can’t get heart rate up cycling

Why does this issue keep occurring?

Some bikers believe that it is because of the individual fitness performance, while others think about medical problems. Which one is true? Having the right answer can help to change the situation.

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Why Can’t Get Heart Rate Up Cycling?

Many people notice that they find it difficult to rev up their HR when cycling. Plus, in contrast with those who run or swim, numerous bikers tend to have a lower heart rate. So, why do cyclists have low heart rates?

Bikers tend to have a lower heart rate

Bikers tend to have a lower heart rate

The fact points out that inability to get the HR up while cycling constitutes one of the most common signs of overtraining. It is not that just full-time bikers suffer from this problem.

Even when your cycling frequency (insert link of the article: how many cycling miles per week) is about 8 hours/week only, the possibility of overtraining gets quite high.

What’s Overtraining?

Overtraining commonly relates to both cycling speed and endurance.

Simply put, it often occurs when your ride gets a high volume and reaches an excessive intensity. At the same time, there is not enough time for rest and recovery in the training program.

If you detect and have adjustments early, the situation can improve within around two weeks. Otherwise, it probably takes from 6 months to 1 year for recovery.

What’re Contributors To Overtraining?

Knowing about overtraining causes holds a key that can help you find the solutions. And the following are some of them.

  • Excessive volume of training
  • Body fatigue
  • Physiological problems like stress
  • Poor diet
  • Issues related to travel like jet lag
  • Lack of recovery in training

Besides the points above, several other factors join in the game with nearly the same level of influence. They could be your training discipline, your development stage, as well as your personal quality.

Thus, not only elite athletes, highly competitive and desired riders tend to be more susceptible to the condition of the sports. In other words, they have higher motivation for frequent hard training.

What’re The Symptoms?

Unfortunately, overtraining is a kind of idiosyncratic illness that hardly shows its indication. Hence, it may not be easy to detect this issue. Even some cyclists have no signs of overtraining still they are at risk.

When getting more motivated to be on the saddle, you need to balance the time of training and resting for recovery. So exactly, how to know whether you are pushing yourselves beyond your limits?

You need to balance the time of training and resting for recovery

You need to balance the time of training and resting for recovery

If the following symptoms occur, the overtraining is truly bothering you.

Trouble With Sleeping

After days of cycling, you will likely have insomnia or get tired with fitful sleep. Experts consider this restlessness a typical sign of the stress hormone increase caused by over-intensity training.

Muscle Soreness

If the muscle ache goes higher than the DOMS level (Delayed Onset Muscle Soreness), your muscles are becoming inflamed. It is another obvious symptom of overtraining.

Constant Fatigue

Training beyond your physical limits for days can cause a repeated energy breakdown. Consequently, it fails recovery and leads to constant mental and muscular fatigue.

Weight loss & Decreased Appetite

Another bad case found with overtraining is the amino acid level and hormone changes. Over time, you could witness a loss of appetite and then weight.

Weak Immunity

Allergies, head colds, and several other infections also come from overtraining sometimes. When finding these symptoms, it would be better to visit a doctor. They can help check whether you are facing any health risks.

Decreasing Physical Performance

Undoubtedly, the training routine is a must to improve your fitness performance. That said, your result sometimes diminishes or plateau. It might be a consequence of an ineffective workout process or even overtraining.

In some cases, it is not that you cannot get your heart rate up while cycling. You could be reaching your max heart rate instead. In other words, the “beats/minute” indication of different people in various sports never hits the same.

So, knowing about the limit on your own also holds a key.

Does Your Heart Rate Truly Stay The Same Or Go Down?

The more you know about your HR limit, the easier it will be to determine how hard your cycling should be. Due to that fact, what should your heart rate be while cycling?

You need to prepare are a bike and an HR monitor like Garmin HRM-Pro

You need to prepare are a bike and an HR monitor like Garmin HRM-Pro

I would like to recommend a practical method in this write-up for better understanding and application. All that you need to prepare are a bike and an HR monitor like Garmin HRM-Pro or the fitness app Strava. Then, let’s get started.

  • Step 1: Warm up your body for 15 minutes.
  • Step 2: Start pedaling at a quick pace and increase the speed for every minute.
  • Step 3: Have 5 minutes of rest on the saddle.
  • Step 4: Get off the bike and sprint if you cannot cycle at any higher pace.
  • Step 5: Check the monitor to see your HR (your estimated max HR) at that time.

When Is Your Heart Rate Too High?

Letting your HR while cycling exceeds the maximum level is never a good idea. If this excess happens for a long period, it could become a threat to your health. Hence, it would help stop cycling when you feel ill, dizzy, or lightheaded.

Can You Try Any Heart Rate Training?

The answer is a big YES. However, in my experience, you should always keep the zones of HR training in mind with any exercise method. So, how do I get my heart rate up while cycling with them?

Normally, there are five different zones for a heart rate training process. And your practice will start at the lowest level and then climb up gradually.

  • Zone 1: Recovery with the intensity reaching 50-60% of your max HR.
  • Zone 2: Endurance training with the intensity reaching 60-70% of your max HR.
  • Zone 3: Tempo with the intensity reaching 70-80% of your max HR.
  • Zone 4: Lactate threshold with the intensity reaching 80-90% of your max HR.
  • Zone 5: VO2 with the intensity reaching 90-100% of your max HR.

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You can’t get heart rate up cycling. So now, we know the reason why. The highest possibility is overtraining, which comes with several typical causes and symptoms mentioned above.

You can refer to HR monitors like Garmin HRM-Pro for the precise and real-time data. For improvement, I also suggest a set of five HR training zones. Hopefully, all of the information will work for you.

See you next article!

Ridge Davis

Ridgid Fitness represents the synthesis of Ridge Davis's career experiences in fitness and sports.

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