The most primitive way to monitor the heart rate is for an athlete to take her own pulse, either at the neck or the wrist. However, this is an awkward procedure in the midst of most workouts, leading to a lot of guesswork and imprecision.
A heart rate monitor is an electronic device that, at a minimum, takes the pulse in real time. A common feature is that the monitors must have direct contact with the skin to function properly.
The two most commonly encountered formats for heart rate monitors are the chest unit and the wrist unit. The former is worn as a strap-mounted device under the shirt, while the latter is worn like a wrist-watch.
Heart rate monitors are great for building up cardiovascular conditioning. With one, an athlete can either correct an accidental drop off in work-out intensity as it is happening, or she can adjust her training program as her strength improves.
These monitors can also have other added features, such as the clock commonly added to wrist-style units. Other common features include waterproofing for swimmers, GPS for cross-country runners and storing heart rate data for a detailed analysis.
There are many supplementary products that improve contact between the device and the skin to get better monitoring results. Chestlick is a good example of the available products.
Article Written By Edwin Thomas
Edwin Thomas has been writing since 1997. His work has appeared in various online publications, including The Black Table, Proboxing-Fans and others. A travel blogger, editor and writer, Thomas has traveled from Argentina to Vietnam in pursuit of stories. He holds a Master of Arts in international affairs from American University.