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I’ve used heart rate straps for over a decade in conjunction with various Garmin Forerunners. But for the last year or so they just haven’t worked for me. First thing that happened was I lost my Wahoo TIKR, and bought a new one. And it just never worked right either with my Forerunner or my phone. I took it up with Wahoo and they replaced it, and it still didn’t work. It works fine for my wife, but not for me. So I bought a Garmin HRM Dual, and it never displayed any sort of heart rate on my phone (Bluetooth), and would only work with my Forerunner (Ant+) for about an hour and then it would start dropping off to around my resting HR even though I was working hard. I also bought a Fenix 6X around the same time, and the HRM Dual was no better with it. The wrist HR on the Fenix wasn’t terrible, but it wasn’t all that close to the strap heart rate when the strap heart rate was working, and lagged terribly when increasing load like doing an interval or climbing a hill.

I’ve tried

  • using electrolyte gel instead of water on the pads of the strap
  • Replacing the battery on the HRM dual
  • Shaving my chest under the strap
  • Losing 40 pounds

None of those have appreciably improved the heart rate functionality. I’m ready to give up on heart rate and go back to training and racing by feel.

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  • In my Garmin Fenix 3, heart rate monitor works good by running and generally cycling, but quite random by gymnastics and hiking. It looks like it needs a strong heart rate in order to detect it, and once heart beats not strong enough, this desynchronizes somehow. But honestly, it's only a trivia statistic, nice to know, but doesn't contribute directly to the training. – Danubian Sailor Jun 8 at 21:39
  • @DanubianSailor unfortunately it conks out even at high heart rates. Today in the middle of an interval, it declined from 145 to 78 then completely shut off. I took a pulse after and it was still in the 130s. I use HR for pacing in races and training, so I want it back. – Paul Tomblin Jun 8 at 21:53
  • Still, fast hr doesn't necessarily mean strong hr. The light sensor detects the vibration of the skin by the hr, if it doesn't vibrate strong enough, the sensor won't work well. At least not the 'amateur' sensor. Labs have better stuff, but it's very expensive. – Danubian Sailor Jun 8 at 22:09
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    @DanubianSailor chest heart rate uses electric signals, not light. – Paul Tomblin Jun 9 at 1:00

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