Is the wrist heart rate monitor as accurate as a chest strap monitor?

That is still the most frequently asked question we get about Garmin’s Elevate wrist heart rate monitors. So, to put them to the test, we sent Frank Smuts from Everfit on a 21Km run with a Vivoactive HR doing the wrist heart rate recording, and a Forerunner 735XT connected to a RUN heart rate strap around his chest.

Without getting off topic, it just needs to be pointed out that the upside of the wrist heart rate strap is obviously comfort, but it only records cadence and no other running dynamics. The Garmin RUN heart rate strap records all the running dynamics, such as stride length, vertical oscillation and ratio, ground contact time balance and ground contact time. (If your watch supports these features)hrmvswhrm

But back to the topic. In answer to the question, the answer can be summed up succinctly: the differences are negligible. Compare the two heart rate graphs of the chest and wrist recording. The strap recorded a 137 bpm average with a 149 maximum heart rate, and the wrist HRM recorded 136 bpm average with a 151 maximum. Closer than that it does not have to be to get a thumbs up from me. All fears of non-believable, untrustworthy stats can be buried.

It needs to be pointed out that the wrist strap should be snug around the arm. When cycling, road vibration can also influence it, but even during Ironman events I have recorded stats that were perfectly fine. The principle is that the Elevate HRM technology gives stats that can be trusted.

You can allow yourself the luxury and comfort of wrist heart rate monitoring. It is here to stay and as the saying goes: “if you can’t beat them, join them”.  – (c) 2016 NavWorld

About The Author

Frank Smuts is a triathlete and writer at www.everfit.co.za.

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