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Polar Vantage V
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Polar Vantage V

Polar – Vantage V

The latest and quite possibly the most advanced GPS and heart rate monitor on the market is designed to help you train smarter and recover quicker.

I’ve been using it for the last few months and here I take a look at the features and benefits of this amazing piece of kit.

At first glance the watch looks similar to a whole range of GPS watches on the market right now, but on closer inspection you begin to realize there’s more to this watch than meets the eye.

First up, the rear of the watch that sits against the wrist features a combination of sensors that measure heart rate. Unlike many other watches, which simply relay on optical sensors (that can easily be effected by light and thus give erratic measurements), the Vantage V uses both optical and skin contact measurement sensors. This eliminates any disturbance from motion or light that could disturb the signal and provides a highly reliable reading.

The spikes in heart rate signal I’ve experienced with previous watches have become a thing of the past thanks to this feature, which has proved very accurate in training, daily use and when sleeping.

This is another useful feature, Sleep Plus, where the watch will constantly monitor your sleep pattern to detect the time and quality of sleep. These figures are monitored and help to provide a further insight into your recovery over a period of time.

It’s recovery where the watch really comes into its own. As well as being a very technically advanced watch, it’s the online software as part of the Polar flow website ( that stores, measures and creates the bigger picture in terms of your training and its effect. Here charts, graphs and every piece of recorded information can be compared and analysed to provide you with detailed insights into your performance and progress over a period of time.

One of the key features I found most useful was the Cardio load status chart. As well as being available on the watch itself, this can be seen over a longer period of time online.

Having started to use the watch after a short break from training I quickly started to see the correlation between my training and its effect on the body. If the user is prepared to spend a little time getting used to the watch and allows it to monitor there training and follows the guidance provided I’m convinced it will help steer them towards performing more effectively.

The most groundbreaking feature of the Vantage V is its use of power monitoring. A long time metric used in cycling, power essentially provides a measurement of the load on your muscles of running. It’s important to remember that this measurements works with the measurement of heart rate and not instead of, this way you get a more complete picture of the effort and effect of your training. Whist power is a very complex metric to explain I try to think of it as a ‘complete figure’ to represent a collection of data. So it’s a number to combine heart rate and speed together with GPS and barometric data. The watch is looking at the effort used in relation to the course you are running. Again this helps give the watch the ability to measure your effort and help with recovery. The power metric also reacts to change much quicker than heart rate, allowing you to maintain sustained effort more easily.

The Training Load Pro feature built into the Vantage V measures Cardio Load, Muscle Load and Perceived Load. Measuring your training and using quick feedback questions after a session the watch can build an in depth insight into your training and over a period of time use this to monitor strain and tolerance. This data is monitored over the previous 7 days and shows how well the body is adapting to training. Again, I found this to be very useful, as previously, especially when coming back from injury I would just continue to train, occasionally the watch suggested that I might be loading my system too quickly. Thinking about it retrospectively I know the watch was correct, as ultimately its measuring and calculating more data than anyone could begin to monitor on their own.

This data combined with the watches orthostatic test (a measurement of heart rate variance) quickly provides information on how well the body is recovered, helping the user to determine their training load for the day.

The watch features all the usual features we’ve come to expect from a heart rate monitor and GPS watch as well as those features now found on smart watches. So the watch is easily programmable via its Smartphone app and can accept notifications from your phone.

The watch has built in profiles for pretty much any sport you can imagine and will represent the data for these in the most usefully manor on its touch sensitive, colour display.

Ultimately the Vantage V is the most technologically advanced training tool I’ve experienced at I really think that with long term use it will be a massive advantage in providing specific insights into training and recovery.

The Polar Vantage V is available in three colour options and two wrist sizes.

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