Wednesday Workout Tip: Learn How To Take Your Own Heart Rate

There are two quite simple ways to determine your own heart rate (HR). While such methods aren’t always going to yield the most accurate result, they will be fairly close and they are a lot cheaper than purchasing a personal HR monitor.

Finding your Radial Pulse

Your radial artery runs distally (on the side of the thumb) along the anterior part of your forearm through your wrist and into your hand. It is connected to your brachial artery. It is here, at the radial artery that you can take your pulse.

To do so, take two fingers from your opposite hand and place on the radial artery. Don’t use your thumb as it has its own pulse and would interfere with your reading. You will need to adjust your pressure until you find the sweet spot. This is a more challenging pulse to find relative to the carotid artery (well, at least I think s0).

Finding your Carotid Pulse

The majority of you will be familiar with this technique. If not please click here (as my hair has not yet been brushed this morning, I am not including a personal picture). With your right index finger and middle finger (can use the left if you wish) feel for your Adam’s Apple or the female equivalent. Move your two fingers slightly away from the centreline of your body (i.e. slightly away from the Adam’s Apple). Using a light pressure you should be able to feel the pulsing of your Carotid Artery.

Determining your Pulse (i.e. Heart Rate)

You will need to have a clock of some sort to measure out 10 seconds. With your fingers on the pulse (oh, I am so witty) begin your timer and count the number of beats (pulses) in a 10 second time period. Multiply this number by six and you have your beats per minute (bpm) = your HR.

When to Take your Pulse

I encourage you to take your pulse first thing in the morning (while still lying in bed) to get an idea of your resting HR.

Additionally, take your pulse pre-, mid-, and post-exercise session. It’s good to get an idea of how high your ticker is going during your respective cardio and weight training workouts. Your HR maximum should be close to 220-age. However, this formula isn’t a perfect science as my HR maximum should be 195 bpm, but is actually 204 bpm.

And there you have it, how to take measure your own HR.




4 thoughts on “Wednesday Workout Tip: Learn How To Take Your Own Heart Rate

    1. Good question! I performed a maximal oxygen uptake test at Queen’s. Guelph U used to offer the service to the public (at a hefty price), but I don’t believe they do it anymore. There is a private company in the area. Also, I would assume Waterloo U would offer some type of service…The test is intense, but worthwhile. It is neat to experience your physiological limit.

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