3 Heart Rate Monitors to Track Tough Mudder Workouts

By mark barroso | August 31, 2017


Tough Mudder is probably the toughest event on the planet with 10 miles of mud and 20+ obstacles designed to drag you out of your comfort zone. If you ask us, that sounds like the perfect recipe for a jacked up heart rate. Checking our heart rates when we escape the ordinary is just one reason us Mudders strap heart rate monitors around our chests, putting a number to how gritty our Tough Mudder training workouts are is another. Us Legionnaires have learned that monitors that strap around our chests are less likely to come off during a Tough Mudder event, plus they’re generally more accurate at tracking the two most important numbers: resting heart rate (RHR) and maximum heart rate (MHR).

Resting Heart Rate (RHR)

An RHR is your pulse in beats per minute while you’re lying down, sitting, or standing before exercise.

Typically, RHR is lowest when you’re while lying down first thing in the morning, which is why it is most accurate to measure RHR using a (wrist or chest) heart monitor that you wore while sleeping.

Maximum Heart Rate

An MHR is, as its name indicates, the maximum number of times your heart should beat per minute during exercise. According to the NSCA’s Essentials of Strength Training & Conditioning, you don’t have to go into a sports performance lab to find your MHR, you can use the equation MHR= 208 – (0.7 x age).As a general rule, Mudders-In-Training should stay between 50-85% of their MHR during steady state cardio work like running, biking or swimming, and 90-100% of their MHR during high intensity interval training work periods ( 70-75% during recovery periods).

These 3 heart rate monitors are Legionnaire faves for finding out just hard how their actually training. The numbers don’t lie, after all.

Polar H10

Polar released the first wireless wearable chest heart rate monitor in 1982 and they continue to be the most popular heart rate monitor brand. The H10 is Polar’s latest chest strap which uses Bluetooth Smart technology to sync MHR, average heart rate, calories burned, and more to a Polar Beat smartphone app after each training session. The app allows H10 to save the data onto your phone, without requiring that you bring your phone along for the workout; this is key for capturing metrics during a Tough Mudder, bringing your phone with you through the mud is a no-go.

Silicone dots on the straps keeps the monitor from slip-and-sliding during Tough Mudder training. Plus, the Polar H10 is waterproof up to 30 meters so you can swim with it during training or keep it on when you’re washing the mud off post-event.  

Fitbit Blaze

The Fitbit Blaze is the most fashion-forward fitness tracker a Legionnaire can wear on and off course. Like a high-tech watch, the Blaze continuously tracks heart rate through the the wrist through a process that involves sending an LED light through your skin and measuring the amount of light that is reflected back.

The Blaze does more than monitor heart rate. It also serves as a GPS, comes preloaded with several workouts, tracks sleep, and displays smart notifications like texts, calendar alerts, Facebook messages, and calls.

Between the heart rate/fitness tracking, removable and washable straps, sleek design and smooth touchscreen, the Blaze is extremely user-friendly for any Mudder.


At just $50, the Wahoo TICKR is one of the most affordable, reliable, and easy-to-use monitors you can buy.

The TICKR stores one workout worth of metrics and uses both Bluetooth 4.0 and ANT+ to transmit data. This means that you can wear Bluetooth headphones and an ANT+ watch and have your heart rate data synced to the watch even as you’re listening to music. Plus, LED lights let you know if the heart rate sensor is connected to a device (blue) and tracking heart rate properly (red), which means you’ll never have to question if it’s working correctly or not.

What’s more, the TICKR uses a replaceable battery, connects directly to the Apple Watch and streams with over 50 apps including MyFitnessPal.