Find out why continuously holding onto the treadmill  for heart rate will sabotage your efforts.

Just because you must hold onto the treadmill sensor pads to get a heart rate, does not mean you must keep your hands glued there for the entire workout.

As a personal trainer, I’ve told clients that continuously holding onto cardio machines interferes with progress in many ways.

I’ve been asked about heart rate checks on cardio machines. First of all, placing hands anywhere on the stationary bike will not interfere with progress or work efficiency, due to the mechanical nature of pedaling a stationary bike.

But holding onto the elliptical, revolving staircase and treadmill will create a sub-par workload that will cheat you substantially out of getting a true, efficient cardio workout.

What about heart rate checks on the treadmill and other machines?
One must hold onto the bar in front of one’s self so that the machine could detect a heart rate.

If the user holds on, then in about 30 seconds, a heart rate reading will appear. Then it’s time to let go.

However, some users will keep their hands on the bar the entire treadmill or elliptical workout, not because they can’t balance, but (sometimes) because they want to know, every second that they’re on the machine, what their heart rate is. This is obsession. The cardio machine may not even be accurate anyways.

This is obsession that will remove focus from the cardio workout. Your focus on breathing, form, posture and effort will be compromised.

This obsession can make the cardio workout become tedious, even dreaded. Not only that, but holding onto the monitors can increase blood pressure.

If you constantly hold onto the monitor to ensure you don’t dip below target heart rate or get above a limit, you can gauge for target heart rate by familiarizing yourself with how your body feels when it’s in the target heart rate range. It feels a certain way.

Learn how to recognize that feeling by tuning into your body, rather than obsessing about the computer display.

By tuning into your body and becoming acquainted with how it feels during various heart rate ranges, an occasional heart rate check will suffice quite well.

Continuous gripping of the bar will greatly reduce workload, reduce calorie expenditure, may result in repetitive stress injuries and will prevent good posture.

Whether you’re on a treadmill, elliptical or staircase machine, there is no reason to continuously hold on for a heart rate check.

Lorra Garrick is a former personal trainer certified through the American Council on Exercise. At Bally Total Fitness she trained women and men of all ages for fat loss, muscle building, fitness and improved health.