Cross-validation of age-predicted maximal heart rate equations among female collegiate athletes


The purpose of this study was to determine the accuracy of 3 general and 2 female-specific age-predicted maximal heart rate (HR max) prediction equations in female collegiate athletes. Thirty female collegiate athletes (age 21.5 ± 1.9 years, height 164.7 ± 6.6 cm, weight 61.3 ± 8.2 kg) participated. HR max was determined with a maximal graded exercise test and predicted with 3 general equations (Fox et al., Astrand, and Tanaka et al.) and 2 female-specific equations (Fairbarn et al. and Gulati et al.). There was no significant difference between observed HR max (185.9 ± 5.0 b·min -1) and the Fairbarn (187.5 ± 1.2 b·min -1) and Gulati (187.1 ± 1.7 b·min -1) equations (p 0.11 and 0.23, respectively). The Fox (198.5 ± 1.9 b·min -1), Astrand (198.1 ± 1.6 b·min -1), and Tanaka (193.0 ± 1.4 b·min -1) equations provided significantly higher estimates compared with observed HR max (p < 0.001 for each). The standard error of the estimate was similar for all the prediction equations (between 5.0 and 5.4 b·min -1), but the total error was smallest for Fairbarn and Gulati (5.3 b·min -1 for each) and largest for Fox and Astrand (13.9 and 13.3 b·min -1, respectively). The 95% limits of agreement of the mean error were similar for all of the prediction equations, with values varying between 9.9 and 10.5 b·min -1. Because of the wide limits of agreement displayed by each equation, the use of age-predicted methods for estimating HR max in collegiate female athletes should be performed only with caution.

Document Type





aerobic, cardiovascular, endurance, women

Publication Date


Journal Title

Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research