I’ve used a peloton heart rate monitor for over 2 years, as well as other wearable devices. In this article, I’m gonna pull back the curtain and share with you my thoughts about what worked (and what didn’t).
As a whole, the peloton heart rate monitor is worth it because it is comparable with other chest strap heart rate monitors like Polar, Wahoo, or Garmin, but is less expensive. The only disadvantage is that it cannot measure heart rate variability.
However, when it comes to accuracy and durability, this device has exceeded my expectations. Here’s why.
How Does Peloton Heart Rate Monitor Work?
As a whole, the peloton uses ECG-based HR monitors, which are measuring electrical signals directly from your heart. It has the electrodes mounted on a chest strap sensor that receives the signals which indicate exercise intensity.
I’ve been using chest strap heart rate monitors since 2010. However, they have been around since the 1980s and are considered a gold standard for measuring the heart rate because they measure the electrical impulses, which is what causes the heartbeat.
The peloton heart rate monitors are not part of any package deal, which means you have to purchase them separately. The price for a peloton heart rate monitor is $49.
The peloton HRM is made of two parts.
- As you can see below, the first part is the adjustable elastic strap that you place under your sternum. The strap must be snug but comfortable.
- In the middle of the strap, you have the second part, which is the receiver that detects a heartbeat via the LEDs lights. It collects the electrical signals and sends them via Bluetooth and ANT+ to the peloton app.
The device is wireless and doesn’t require any installation or adjusting. Once the strap is on and you log in to the app, the peloton bike will automatically detect and pair with the device.
From there, you will be able to see your heart rate, as well as strive score when you’re off the bike.
What I like about the peloton chest strap is it fit comfortably, compared to other devices I’ve used. However, it does feel awkward if you wear it all day.
What Does The Peloton Heart Rate Monitor Do?
The peloton heart rate monitor exchange data using the ANT+ and BLE technology, which is a low-energy wireless protocol meant to collect and transfer data with other sensors. Then, the peloton bike and tread collect, analyze and interpret this data on the computer.
I use a peloton heart rate monitor to:
- Monitor workout intensity within the session – For example, if your goal is to maintain zone 2 for optimal fat loss, you can use heart rate information to know when you should either maintain, reduce or increase your pace. Also, you can adjust your intensity based on the targeted heart rate zone or strive score.
- Design and plan my weekly workout routine based on HRM numbers – This means you have access to historical data to compare and track your progress.
- Track caloire expenditure – Wearing peloton heart rate also allows you to estimate number of caloires burned in the session. You can reado more about “peloton calories accuracy” in my article here.
Is the Peloton heart rate monitor good? As a whole, the peloton heart rate monitor is good because it allows monitoring current heart rate and helps to make smart training decisions about the training intensity based on your workout goals.
Do You Need Peloton Heart Rate Monitor?
As a whole, you do need a peloton heart rate monitor if your goal is to train for performance-oriented goals, as well as to increase your workout motivation. Plus, monitoring your heart rate from every ride is a reliable indicator of training progression and training adaptations.
Here are some indicators that you know you’re getting fitter based on the data from your heart rate monitor.
- Better recovery heart rate – Fast recovery heart rate means your body is getting better at handling the physical demands and is becoming more efficient.
See the graph below.
As you can see above, the biggest spike in heart rate occurs during the work phase of the interval (e.g. 20 seconds sprint). Training using a peloton heart rate monitor allows you to track how much faster your heart rate goes down to baseline.
The faster your heart rate recovers to baseline after HIIT or climb intervals, the better cardiovascular shape you are in.
On the other hand, if your heart rate doesn’t drop after you stop exercising (or during the rest time), it can indicate poor cardiovascular fitness.
- Better resting heart rate – Regular exercise is related to a reduction in resting heart rate. Lower resting heart rate is linked with increased life expectancy, as well as cardiovascular and all-cause mortality.
Dr. Anne Kerstin Reimers from the Technical University of Chemnitz in Germany conducted a meta-analysis from 191 studies (from 15,332 articles) on the impact of exercise on resting heart rate.
She compared endurance training, strength training, school sports programs, yoga, tai chi, qigong, and 2 unspecified types of sports.
Keep in mind that this was a large sample and the exercise interventions lasted between 2 weeks and 2 years.
|Type of exercise||RHR Before||RHR After|
|Combined endurance and strength training||69.1||66.3|
|Additional school sports||84.8||80.4|
|Unspecified sports activities||75.8||75.1|
As you can see, all types of sports decreased the resting heart rate. However, endurance training and yoga significantly decreased the RHR, compared to other training methods (Reimers et al. 2018).
- Doing the same classes with lower heart rate – Regular exercise strengthens the heart muscle. This is part of the training adaptations where heart needs fewer beats to deliver more oxygen to the muscles and more blood with each heartbeat.
In other words, the more fitter you’re, the lower your heart rate will be during and after exercise.
Here you can learn everything there is to know about “peloton heart rate zone” training.
Peloton Without Heart Rate Monitor
As a whole, you don’t have to use a peloton heart rate monitor to enjoy your bike sessions and get fit. Also, the peloton bike has built-in power sensors that allow tracking your effort level directly from the bike, even without wearing a heart rate sensor.
I like scientific data and I love to base my workouts on heart rate numbers. Plus, a lot of people are driven by numbers and get motivated when seeing any sign of progress, especially in the beginning.
However, I also know that many people are busy with their lives and don’t want to put additional effort to measure everything. Just because you can measure it doesn’t mean you have to.
Here are some pros and cons of using the peloton with and without a heart rate monitor.
|Peloton with HRM||Peloton without HRM|
|Good for people who like to track their workouts.|
Good for people who have performance-oriented goals.
Good to measure recovery.
Good to measure fitness progress.
Good for additional motivation.
|Not useful for people who don’t track the metrics.|
Not useful for people who don’t have endurance-oriented goals.
Not useful for people who train for fun and pleasure.
As you can see, whether you should use a peloton heart rate monitor or not will depend on your personal preferences, lifestyle, and goals.
Also, keep in mind that if you already have a smartwatch like an Apple or Samsung, or Fitbit, then you don’t need to get an extra heart rate monitor.
Can I use my apple watch as a heart rate monitor for the peloton? As a whole, you can use the Apple Watch as a heart rate monitor for the peloton because it does come with Bluetooth technology. However, the apple watch does not support connecting with ANT+ devices.
Peloton Heart Rate Monitor Accuracy
As a whole, the peloton heart rate monitor is accurate because it is a traditional electrode-containing chest strap monitor that uses ECG sensors to transmit radio signals when a heartbeat is detected. The chest strap HRM is considered the most accurate HRM device.
Why ECG is the most accurate? In general, the chest strap heart rate monitoring method is the most accurate because the ECG sensors measure the electrical signals that cause the heartbeat, whereas the PPG sensors measure the blood flow changes after the heartbeat.
The ECG allows capturing more accurate data, compared to PPG sensors.
What is a PPG sensor? In general, the PPG stands for photoplethysmography, and it’s an optical measurement method that uses a light source and a photodetector at the surface of the skin to measure the changes in blood volume.
All of the wrist and armband heart rate monitors use PPG.
This method is convenient and more ideal for everyday home monitoring, however, it is less accurate than electrical monitoring because it is sensitive to the movement of the arm, which can interfere with the PPG signal.
The studies have shown that “optically based HR monitors varies with exercise type and is greatest on the treadmill and lowest on elliptical trainer. Electrode-containing chest monitors should be used when accurate HR measurement is imperative” (Gillinov et al. 2017).
Let me explain.
The study compared fifty healthy adults and every participant was wearing a traditional chest strap HRM, smartwatch, and armband.
The results showed that optical HRM (smartwatch and armbands) were accurate during the exercises that didn’t involve arm movement, and were inaccurate during exercises that included the use of elliptical arm levers.
This means that the PPG heart rate monitors can give a false reading, especially during vigorous activities that involve a lot of arm work (e.g. strength training, yoga, HIIT workouts), as well as underwater. However, during the inactivity and rest, it does provide accurate information.
Also, keep in mind that wearing the armband heart rate monitors requires the bottom of the devices to fit tightly to the skin surface, and any movement or muscle contraction of your arm can lead to changes in the readings.
Of course, wearing the chest strap is not ideal for everyone either. What I like about the armbands is you can wear them throughout the day without feeling uncomfortable.
How To Use Peloton Heart Rate Monitor
- Unbox the peloton heart rate monitor – The peloton HRM comes already asembled so you don’t need to attach or adjust anything apart from the strap to fit your chest size.
- Place the strap around your chest – The peloton heart rate monitor should be places below your chest, on the sternum. The strap have to touch the skin so you have to wear it under shirt.
- Tap the sensor pod – Touching and removeing the foil from the sensor pod will activate blutooth. You will see the blue flashing light that indicates the blutooth in on and the HRM is looking for a device to pair.
- Pair the HRM to the peloton bike – Once the peloton heart rate monitor will detect your heart rate it will start flashing with red light. If you cannot see the red light, try dip your fingers in water and moisturize the bottom of the strap to create better contact with the skin.
Can you wear a peloton heart rate monitor over a shirt? In short, you should not wear the peloton HRM over the shirt because it can cause detection problems and inconsistent data. The appropriate way to wear the heart rate monitor is under clothing when the straps with electrodes are touching the skin surface.
Can you use any heart rate monitor with a peloton? As a whole, you can use any heart rate monitor with Peloton bike and tread, as long as they are compatible with ANT+ wireless technology.
These include most of the popular devices like:
- Orange theory.
If youre looking for the best of the best at any price, I recoomend Polar H10, available on Amazon. Details here.
(if you buy through links on this page, I may earn a small commission).
Can you use the peloton heart rate monitor with other apps? In short, you can use a peloton heart rate monitor with other apps that have Bluetooth or ANT+ sensor to measure the heart rate or use HR to calculate workout intensity, track progress, and estimate calories burned.
Also, you can use a peloton heart rate monitor not only for cycling or running, but also for other workouts like strength training, pilates, bootcamp, or even yoga. Peloton uses the strive score system to collect the data and provides you with feedback on the workout intensity.
What is strive score on the peloton? In short, the peloton strive score allows you to track the heart rate zone when you are off the bike during other workouts and track the intensity.
You can learn more about “peloton strive score” and how to use it in my article here.
Peloton Heart Rate Monitor Troubleshooting
Sometimes you may notice that the peloton heart rate monitor does not consistently track your heart rate while working out. I personally had close to no problems, however, I know many people said that their monitor keeps disconnecting.
Here are some of the reasons why your heart rate monitor may be not working:
- Sensors are dry – Always make sure to wet the sensors on the strap. This will improve electrical conductivity between the sensors and the skin.
- The strap is too big – When the heart rate monitor strap is too big it won’t properly fit the skin surface. Make sure to adjust your strap to fit snugly.
- The strap is too low or too high – Peloton heart rate monitor needs to be placed under the chest, on top of your sternum.
- Low battery – Always make sure your battery is good. When you see the flashing yellow light it means you have to change the batteries.
You can read full article where I give a dozen reasons why “peloton heart rate monitor not working” here.
Peloton Heart Rate Monitor Battery
The peloton heart rate monitor uses a CR2032 3-volt battery that cannot be charged but can be replaced. The expected battery lifespan is 600+ hours, which is over 2 years of use if you train every day. If you train every other day, the battery should last over 4 years.
I’ve been using my peloton heart rate monitor for over 2 years and I haven’t changed the battery yet.
So keep that in mind.
How do you change a battery in a heart monitor? As a whole, you should change the battery in the peloton heart rate monitor once the right LED will flash yellow. To replace the battery you need to unscrew the battery door using a coin and rotate it counterclockwise.
Which way does the battery go in a peloton heart rate monitor? Overall, when you replace the battery, it should sit inside the battery door with the flat side facing down.
How Do You Clean a Peloton Heart Rate Monitor?
In general, the peloton heart rate monitor is water-resistant, which means it will still work when wet. However, you must wash it after every workout because the sweat can damage the strap material by corroding the fibers.
Sweat contains chloride, which not only can destroy the strap, but also can make the strap rigid by losing its elasticity.
Here in the video from J Dirom where here compare who straps. One is brand new and one is stained with sweat.
As you can see, leaving the strap without cleaning can lead to damaging the heart rate monitor.
Is the Peloton heart rate monitor machine washable? As a whole, you can place the peloton heart rate monitor strap in the washing machines, as long as you detach the connector from the strap before washing. Also, do not use any harsh bleach or fabric softeners. I recommend using the washing bag.
Alternatively, you can wash the peloton heart rate monitor strap by hand using lukewarm water with a mild dish or hand soap. After you wash it, let it hang to dry. Do not put the strap in a dryer.
Also, make sure to read the instructions before cleaning.
As you can see, I recommend you should get a peloton heart rate monitor because it does help with making smarter decisions around your workouts, as well as tracking your progress.
Knowing your numbers can be a great motivation. However, if you already train consistently and you’re not looking for extra motivation, using a peloton without a heart rate monitor is fine.