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Year : 2014  |  Volume : 55  |  Issue : 4  |  Page : 314-320

Age-predicted vs. measured maximal heart rate in young team sport athletes

Department of Physical and Cultural Education, Hellenic Army Academy, Athens; Exercise Physiology Laboratory, Nikaia, Greece

Correspondence Address:
Pantelis Theo Nikolaidis
Department of Physical and Cultural Education, Hellenic Army Academy, Athens, Greece

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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None

DOI: 10.4103/0300-1652.137192

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Background: Although maximal heart rate (HR) max is used widely to assess exercise intensity in sport training and particularly in various team sports, there are limited data with regards to the use of age-based prediction equations of HR max in sport populations. The aim of this study was to compare the measured-HR max with three prediction equations (Fox-HR max = 220-age and Tanaka-HR max = 208-0.7×age and Nikolaidis-HR max = 223-1.44×age) in young team sport athletes. Materials and Methods: Athletes of soccer, futsal, basketball and water polo, classified into three age groups (u-12, 9−12 years, n = 50; u-15, 12−15 years, n = 40; u-18, 15−18 years, n = 57), all members of competitive clubs, voluntarily performed a graded exercise field test (20 m shuttle run endurance test) to assess HR max . Results: Fox-HR max and Nikolaidis-HR max overestimated measured-HR max , while Tanaka-HR max underestimated it (P < 0.001). However, this trend was not consistent when examining each group separately; measured-HR max was similar with Tanaka-HR max in u-12 and u-15, while it was similar with Nikolaidis-HR max in u-18. Conclusion: The results of this study failed to validate two widely used and one recently developed prediction equations in a large sample of young athletes, indicating the need for specific equation in different age groups. Therefore, coaches and fitness trainers should prefer Tanaka-HR max when desiring to avoid overtraining, while Fox-HR max and Nikolaidis-HR max should be their choice in order to ensure adequate exercise intensity.

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