T Nation

Illusion of Time Slowing when HR Redlines

Has anybody ever experienced the phenomenon of time appearing to pass slower when training really hard and your heartrate approaches redline? It happens when limiting myself to very short rest periods between sets in the gym or immediately after finishing a run.

It’s most noticeable while listening to music that I’m familiar with. I know the tempo of said music because I’ve heard it so many times but under these conditions it appears to be playing significantly slower than I know it actually is. Depending on the level of fatigue, this skewed perception can last up to several minutes.

[quote]myonlyvice wrote:
Has anybody ever experienced the phenomenon of time appearing to pass slower when training really hard and your heartrate approaches redline? It happens when limiting myself to very short rest periods between sets in the gym or immediately after finishing a run.

It’s most noticeable while listening to music that I’m familiar with. I know the tempo of said music because I’ve heard it so many times but under these conditions it appears to be playing significantly slower than I know it actually is. Depending on the level of fatigue, this skewed perception can last up to several minutes. [/quote]
This happens all the time in the movies.

[quote]Silyak wrote:

[quote]myonlyvice wrote:
Has anybody ever experienced the phenomenon of time appearing to pass slower when training really hard and your heartrate approaches redline? It happens when limiting myself to very short rest periods between sets in the gym or immediately after finishing a run.

It’s most noticeable while listening to music that I’m familiar with. I know the tempo of said music because I’ve heard it so many times but under these conditions it appears to be playing significantly slower than I know it actually is. Depending on the level of fatigue, this skewed perception can last up to several minutes. [/quote]
This happens all the time in the movies.[/quote]

and your point is…

I’ve experienced this too, as well as the music becoming more faint. It’s pretty awesome when you’re listening to something repetitive like trance or rap

Scientifically, I’m sure it’s a product of glucose depletion in the brain. Kind of trippy.

OP , you concentrate on listening to music while training, you sure as hell aint training very hard…

[quote]spk wrote:
OP , you concentrate on listening to music while training, you sure as hell aint training very hard…[/quote]

I’ll beg to differ on that. Tell Rocky Balboa.

I can’t listen while doing dead lifts and squats but it sure gets me in the zone for bench and any arm workouts. I have specific songs that motivate, not radio. They push me over the limit.

lol!! thats a frickin movie!! ask the bulgarian,russian and turkish oly lifters if they listen to music while traing hard…

[quote]spk wrote:
lol!! thats a frickin movie!! ask the bulgarian,russian and turkish oly lifters if they listen to music while traing hard… [/quote]

Really that was a movie? Gimme a break.

For crying out loud you telling me no serious lifters on the planet listen to music? The Rocky theme was probably the widest listened to thing on the planet back then.

i guess you’re right… i see a lot of wanna be bodybuilders going thru the motions with ear phones in… i see the really built old school guys drowning out the music thats on in the gym… musics ok if your warming up, or jogging slow, but as a past runner ,current cyclist, you dont run a hard 10 miler @ 5:10 a mile in training, or do quarters in sub :55 with head phones in… or anything hard on the bike…

Why is it an issue if people listen to music while training? I always listen to music when running or at the gym. I enjoy music. It doesn’t make me go harder during my sets, and to be honest, I reckon half the time I don’t hear it during my working sets. But cos I am listening to it doesn’t meaning I am working less relative to some other bloke who doesn’t have music.

[quote]spk wrote:
i guess you’re right… i see a lot of wanna be bodybuilders going thru the motions with ear phones in… i see the really built old school guys drowning out the music thats on in the gym… musics ok if your warming up, or jogging slow, but as a past runner ,current cyclist, you dont run a hard 10 miler @ 5:10 a mile in training, or do quarters in sub :55 with head phones in… or anything hard on the bike…[/quote]

He obviously is training hard enough to make his HR redline (as the title clearly says).

I wish I could drown out the Top 40 garbage they play at my gym.

What you’re describing sounds similar to one of the common effects of Survival Stress Reaction (SSR), a collection of physiological and perceptual effects associated with extreme stress and closely tied to heart rate. Other effects include tunnel vision, auditory exclusion and deterioration of fine motor skills.

There is actually a scale that ties different effects to specific heart rate zones. It’s easy to see how perceived “slow motion time” would be a benefit as your brain is attempting to rapidly process crucial information and respond in a survival situation.

However, these effects usually only crop up when a real or perceived threat is causing the elevated heart rate and usually cannot be duplicated when exertion alone is used to achieve the same heart rate (although instructors keep trying). I often experience slow motion time during emergencies and combatives training where a threat is being believably simulated, but not so much during regular training.

I suppose it’s possible that for some reason your brain is somehow interpreting metabolic stress as survival stress and triggering some of the same reactions, but that’s just an uneducated guess on my part.

the only time i hear the music is when i walk to my next piece of equipment. other than that i focus on my breathing and i only hear myself breathing… Is listenin to music bad while lifting… NO, i used 2 do it all the time, but in time you end up focusing more on your breathing involuntarily.