I get dozens of calls every month from triathletes, runners, cyclists, trainers and general fitness buffs that want to be able to continuously monitor heart rate but they don’t want to wear a chest strap. NEWSFLASH: The days of the chest strap are over!
Thanks to some wonderful technology now supplied by companies like Numetrex and Polar you don’t have to wear a chest strap anymore to get that ever-so-important continuous heart rate on your heart rate monitor.
It’s not often that I get excited about a new technology. Last year the Garmin 310XT was a really nice breakthrough product for the triathlon market and I felt was our “product of the year” but this year I’m feeling pretty confident that cardio bras and garments with heart rate monitoring fabric might be the product to bear that mantle.
Numetrex manufactures heart rate monitoring athletic apparel using innovative “smart fabric” technology that incorporates special sensing fibers directly into the fabric of its garments. By replacing the hard plastic chest strap that rub against and chafe skin with these form-fitting fibers they have solved a problem that has plagued many athletes that don’t like wearing straps to get accurate heart rate data. Polar’s design for their sports bra is very similar, but the Polar cardio sports bra will only work with Polar heart rate monitors.
A tiny transmitter is snapped into a small pocket in the front of the garment, where it instantaneously radios your heart rate for digital readout. Quick-drying nylon/Lycra® fabric gives a second-skin feel and improves moisture management and air flow.
Interestingly, of all the calls we receive from people regarding strapless heart rate monitoring nearly 40% of those calls are from men, which really surprised me. A lot of guys have strap aversion as well, so the cardio shirts should also find a receptive market.
Initial reports on this technology from users who did not like straps is that the garments are very comfortable and that they have removed a large barrier toward getting “strap-averse” fitness buffs to start monitoring heart rate.
For trainers and coaches that are having a hard time getting their clients to don the strap this development should come as welcome news. It is hard to manage athletes or clients without having the numeric data to compare their improvements and advancement, so now you can tell your clients that they can get the latest in fitness and assessment technology.