Reference sets are the key ingredient for allowing workouts to be fairly compared. Starting each workout with exactly the same short set means that the way your heart rate responds is determined largely by the state of your body, something that needs to be respected for your workout to bring you the most benefit.
As an example, our lead developer starts each of his kettlebell sessions with exactly the same short set: 20 basic swings on an 8kg bell (you can define your own details in the app settings).
Tapping the “New Set” button during a workout and choosing “First reference set” opens the screen shown here. The live heart rate graph is shown in red, with the blue curve showing data from a previous workout (you can choose which workout this comes from when reviewing a workout). In this case, his heart rate for the reference set was lower than the previous workout, an indication that he should consider working harder today (e.g., using more weight or more reps).
By recording another identical reference set at the end of his session he is able to see what the impact of the workout has been – an easy session would mean the graph would be similar to the one at the start, while the effect of a harder session would lead to a larger difference between the curves.
If you have recorded reference sets for several workouts, it is instructive to compare them all on the same screen. This view, accessed from the main screen of the app, can allow you to spot trends in your training, fatigue, or perhaps an ongoing minor illness (which may be indicated by a raised heart rate during the reference set).
Shown here are reference sets from the start of the selected workouts (left) and end of the same workouts (right), as before comparing to a reference set from a particular chosen workout (blue).
Heart Graph allows you to compare reference sets from any of your workouts, so for example you can compare curves from several weeks or months apart to better understand the long-term impact of your training.
Comparing reference sets on the iPad is particularly quick and easy – in landscape orientation, the app presents you with a list of workouts to choose from, updating the graphs on the right as you change your selection.
Want to find out more? Take a look at our Tutorial Videos to see the app in action.