Heart rate monitor for running - select a device for the task

A compact sports heart rate monitor (tracker, heart rate monitor - heart rate monitor) is very popular among personal electronic "assistants". We will analyze the useful functions of such devices, as well as tell you how to purchase a suitable gadget.

Heart rate monitor for running - select a device for the task

Why do I need a heart rate monitor?

Moderate aerobic exercise helps to improve health and lose weight. In turn, super-intense cardio training can harm the cardiovascular system. Therefore, all athletes involved in high-speed disciplines, it is recommended to control the work of the heart during the training.

Until the beginning of the eighties of the XX century, athletes had to stop the session and manually determine the heart rate. The procedure consisted of applying finger pads to the wrist or neck and counting heart beats over a period of time. Naturally, this was extremely inconvenient, and the accuracy left much to be desired.

Beginning in 1983, the first personal heart rate monitors began to arrive in retail sales. More than 30 years have passed since that time, the heart rate monitor today is a computer with many useful functions for an athlete.

Training with this accessory provides the following benefits:

  • protection of the heart muscle from overvoltage;
  • quick and accurate determination of the load;
  • long stay in the required pulse zone;
  • tracking progress by indicators (steps, calories, mileage);
  • setting training intervals.

Heart rate monitors are designed for athletes involved in cardio workouts for weight loss or high-intensity interval training.

In addition, the electronic "assistant" will be useful to people who, for medical reasons, need to constantly monitor their heart rate.

Functions and characteristics

From the name of the device it is clear that its main task is to control the heart rate. But this is not the only task that a smart gadget can handle.

Consider the additional features of heart rate monitors:

  • Calorie Counter . Based on your data (weight, age, gender), as well as heart rate analysis, the device calculates approximate energy costs. Almost every tracker for running is equipped with this function.
  • GPS module . The device communicates with the satellites and receives information about the location of the owner.

    The mileage traveled, the elapsed time is calculated, and a route is drawn up for subsequent use.

  • Tracking heart rate zone . The device monitors the constancy of the load, signaling the output of the heart rate beyond the set limits of the pulse. Thus, an electronic bracelet helps to conduct effective workouts.
  • Pedometer .

    Many hand pulsometers have a built-in vibration sensor.This module captures the movements of the limb, converting the signal into a number of steps and calculating the approximate distance traveled.

  • Tonometer . The principle of operation is based on the operation of piezoelectric sensors that record the change in pressure and convert the electrical signal into readings on the display. The minus of the built-in tonometer is low accuracy (+/- 20% of the actual values).

  • Integration with smartphone . This function allows you to see incoming calls and SMS, as well as process and analyze the results of training using special software installed on your smartphone.
  • Bluetooth . This is a wireless protocol by which the device is synchronized with the phone. This type of connection is also used in fitness trackers to communicate with a chest heart rate sensor.

  • Music control . It's no secret that athletes prefer to do aerobic training for their favorite compositions. All heart rate monitors integrated with the phone, as a rule, have the function of managing a music list.
  • Autopause . Some jogging fitness bracelets come with the useful auto-stop timer feature.

    This mode is necessary when the athlete is forced to interrupt the movement for a short time, for example, with a delay at the traffic light.

  • VO₂max (maximum oxygen consumption, IPC) . It characterizes the amount of oxygen that an athlete can convert to energy. The larger it is, the more intense the training. Such a function is necessary only for professional athletes.

Now we consider the main technical characteristics of heart rate monitors:

  • Form factor . Most individual heart rate monitors are in the form of a watch or bracelet. Such monitors are almost imperceptible on the wrist during training, which makes them very comfortable to wear.
  • Case design . Many electronics manufacturers are trying to reach athletes of all ages, so they release their popular heart rate monitors both in the form of classic watches and in the design of sports fitness bracelets.

  • Water resistant . This feature allows you to use the electronic "assistant" in any weather and during long voyages. As a rule, even the cheapest monitors are equipped with a moisture-proof housing.
  • Display backlight . A bracelet for running with a heart rate monitor is used at different times of the day.

    Therefore, manufacturers equip their devices with LED backlighting, which allows you to control your heartbeat even in complete darkness.

  • Weight of the bracelet . During aerobic exercise, it is important that the athlete does not feel the device on his hand. To do this, engineers are trying to make the monitor case as light as possible. Most wrist trackers weigh no more than 40-50 grams.

  • Operating time . With long runs, it is important that the "survivability" of the device is high.Bluetooth synchronization and other functions consume a lot of energy. Therefore, the minimum life of the bracelet without recharging, as a rule, is at least 15-20 hours.
  • Interface language .

    Large manufacturers install in their devices support for the language of the region in which their products are sold. The presence of the Russian interface will greatly facilitate the setup of the heart rate monitor and help more accurately record the results.

Of course, not all functions and features are important for most amateur athletes. For example, a VO₂max sensor and a tonometer are necessary only for professional athletes and people who have problems with blood pressure. The presence of such "chips" significantly affects the cost of the device.

We recommend choosing a fitness bracelet based on the needs and type of sports discipline:

  • A swimmer should pay attention to waterproof fitness trackers that can be used at a depth.
  • An athlete engaged in a gym, such as a crossfighter, is better to buy a simple device with a timer and a heart rate sensor.
  • For a lover of a healthy lifestyle who wants to lose weight, we recommend a running watch with a heart rate monitor and GPS module.
  • For a professional athlete, it is better to use a chest fitness tracker for accurate measurements.

If you are new to running, we do not recommend paying attention to advanced heart rate monitors with the maximum range of functions.

Simple bracelets for jogging with a heart rate monitor and a pedometer will suit you.

Such devices allow you to track the heart rate, as well as calculate the distance traveled. At the initial stage, this is quite enough. In addition, such trackers are affordable.

Types of heart rate monitors

There are three types of heart rate monitors: chest, shoulder, and wrist.

We will analyze the principle of action, as well as the advantages and disadvantages of each type.

Chest heart rate monitor for running

It happens with or without a bracelet. In the first case, the sensor readings are transmitted to the wrist bracelet, in the second - to the smartphone.

The principle of operation is the reading of heartbeats using electrodes tightly pressed to the sternum (similar to an ECG). Sensors are attached to the body with an elastic strap.

Advantages: high precision, reasonable price.

Disadvantages: a little discomfort from wearing in the first lessons, interference with the transmission of the signal to the bracelet.

Chest pulsometers are suitable for the following disciplines:

  • long-distance running;
  • race walking;
  • marathon.

Shoulder fitness tracker

This is a reader with a short elastic strap. Unlike pulsometers for running with a chest ECG sensor, shoulder devices are equipped with an optical sensor.

This allows you to place the tracker on almost any part of the body.

The principle of operation is the reading of the heart rate by an optical sensor.

Advantages: rather high accuracy, comfortable wearing.

Disadvantages: it is possible to crawl from the shoulder with active hand movements.

Shoulder heart rate monitors are suitable for:

  • running;
  • crossfit;
  • aerobics;
  • fitness.

Carpal heart rate monitor

The most popular type of electronic "assistant". It is a bracelet with an optical sensor on the inside.

Principle of operation: reading of the heartbeats using a sensor tightly pressed to the skin surface.

Advantages: wearing comfort, stylish design, a large set of additional functions.

Disadvantages: rather high cost, measurement errors.

Such heart rate monitors are usually chosen by amateur athletes. Carpal trackers are suitable for almost any discipline.

Smart watches with a heart rate monitor

Mechanical and quartz watches have always been a popular accessory. However, now we increasingly prefer to wear on our wrist not just a time indicator, but a whole mini-computer with many functions. For advanced users, a smart watch has been developed.

Externally, smart bracelets resemble the classic form factor: a rounded or square case, a soft strap. But instead of a dial on the case is an electronic display.

In addition to determining the time of day, such a watch has the following functions: GPS, Bluetooth, Wi-Fi, synchronization with the smartphone’s operating system, water resistance, receiving calls and SMS.

Some smartwatch models are equipped with a heartbeat sensor, which allows you to use them in intensive training. For measurements, an optical sensor is used on the inside of the case.

There is also a watch with a sensor on the display (to control the heart rate, you must put your finger every time).

Advantages of a smart watch: ease of wearing, synchronization with a smartphone, stylish appearance, a large number of functions, including the ability to access the Internet.

The main disadvantage of such bracelets is the high cost.

Popular models and approximate prices:

  • Suunto Spartan (28 000 p.);
  • Garmin Forerunner 235 (35 000 p.


  • Apple Watch 3 (23,000 p.).

Algorithm for selecting a heart rate monitor

We offer step-by-step instructions that will help you choose the heart rate monitor you need:

  1. Consider the devices of several well-known manufacturers (Suunto, Sigma, Polar, Beurer, Xiaomi, Mio). Select 1 model from each company, then compare their functions.
  2. Deal with the type of device (chest, shoulder, or wrist).

    If you are not a professional runner, then shoulder and wrist pulsometers will suit you.

  3. Determine for yourself 2-3 models of devices and make sure that their technical characteristics (water resistance, time without recharging, backlight) meet your requirements.
  4. Relate the final choice with financial capabilities.If the cost of the pulsometers in question is about the same, choose a "design assistant".

If you want to have a universal device that can be used with a business suit and treadmill, pay attention to the smart watch.

At the same time, be prepared to give a round sum for such an accessory.

Rating of heart rate monitors

We offer a selection of functional heart rate monitors that are relevant for 2019.

For running:

  • chest : Suunto Smart Sensor (2,000 p.), Polar H10HR (7,400 p.) , Wahoo TICR X (5,000 p.


  • carpal : Sigma ID. Run HR (8 300 p.), Beurer PM80 (5 000 p.), Polar FT 4 (9 700 p.);
  • with GPS function : Polar V800 H10 (28 000 p.

    ), Polar M430 (15,000 p.), Suunto T6D GPS pack (17,000 p.).

For fitness:

  • carpal : Mio Fuse (9,000 p.), PolarA360 (10,000 p.

    ), TomTom Spark 3 Cardio + Music (15 000 rubles);

  • without GPS module : Honor Band 3 (3 000 rubles), Nokia Steel HR (11 000 rubles) , Beurer PM26 (3,000 p.).

For swimming:

  • Misfit Shine (6 000 r.).
  • Garmin HRM Swim (5,000 p.


  • Moove Now (5,000 p.).

Budgetary :

  • Beurer PM15 (2,000 rubles);
  • Xiaomi Mi Band 2 (1,300 rubles) );
  • iSport W117 (1,700 p.).

Lux class :

  • Polar Vantage (44 000 p.


  • Garmin Fenix ​​5s Plus (62 000 p.);
  • Suunto 9 Baro Titanium (55,000 p.).


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