Accuracy of Polar S410 Heart Rate Monitor to Estimate Energy Cost of Exercise

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The purpose of this study was to examine the accuracy of the Polar S410 for estimating gross energy expenditure (EE) during exercise when using both predicted and measured V̇O2max and HRmax versus indirect calorimetry (IC).


Ten males and 10 females initially had their V̇O2max and HRmax predicted by the S410, and then performed a maximal treadmill test to determine their actual values. The participants then performed three submaximal exercise tests at RPE of 3, 5, and 7 on a treadmill, cycle, and rowing ergometer for a total of nine submaximal bouts. For all submaximal testing, the participant had two S410 heart rate monitors simultaneously collecting data: one heart rate monitor (PHRM) utilized their predicted V̇O2max and HRmax, and one heart rate monitor (AHRM) used their actual values. Simultaneously, EE was measured by IC.


In males, there were no differences in EE among the mean values for the AHRM, PHRM, and IC for any exercise mode (P > 0.05). In females, the PHRM significantly overestimated mean EE on the treadmill (by 2.4 kcal·min−1), cycle (by 2.9 kcal·min−1), and rower (by 1.9 kcal·min−1) (all P < 0.05). The AHRM for females significantly improved the estimation of mean EE for all exercise modes, but it still overestimated mean EE on the treadmill (by 0.6 kcal·min−1) and cycle (by 1.2 kcal·min−1) (P < 0.05).


When the predicted values of V̇O2max and HRmax are used, the Polar S410 HRM provides a rough estimate of EE during running, rowing, and cycling. Using the actual values for V̇O2max and HRmax reduced the individual error scores for both genders, but in females the mean EE was still overestimated by 12%.

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