HEART MONITORING – © Bill Moorcroft Swimming

What is your:

  • BASAL pulse?
  • MAXIMUM hear rate?
  • TARGET heart rate?
  • RESTING heart rates?


Heart Rate Monitoring when swimming: After interval repeat, take your heart rate for 10 seconds then multiply by 6 to get number of beats per minute (BPM).

Heart Rate Monitoring procedure:

  • Use index and middle fingers to find pulse (never use the thumb as you may feel its own pulse.)
  • The radial pulse is beside the crease lines at the wrist, on the same side as thumb.
  • The carotid pulse is on either side of the windpipe (only check one side at one time.)


Your BASAL Pulse: Your basal pulse is taken just after waking when your body’s metabolism is at its lowest. A low early morning pulse indicates heart efficiency with your heart muscle pumping more blood with each beat. An untrained heart will beat faster to pump the same volume of blood.

Average pulse is around 65 to 70 beats per minute.


MAXIMUM Heart Rate: Your maximum heart rate (MHR) is estimated by subtracting age from 220.

It is inadvisable for the unfit or older person to attempt working at MHR as this places too much stress on the heart.


TARGET Heart Rate: Your target heart rate (THR) will vary according to age and fitness level but is in the range of 60 to 85% of MAXIMUM HEART RATE. It is the degree a heart rate should reach and be sustained over a period if a training effect is required.


RESTING Heart Rate: A drop of approx 40 beats per minute (BPM) within 2 minutes of completion of exercise would indicate a fair standard of fitness. Heart and lung efficiency and fitness are indicated by a quick return to the pre-exercise heart rate (resting heart rate).


Remember: If drill work is a struggle and the heart rate is getting up high, flippers can be used to help lessen the effort.