Train More Effectively Using Heart Rate Zone
Hit the bullseye in your fitness goals with heart rate training. This is crucial for athletes and anyone with fitness goals to maximise all their hard work in their training and workouts.
Heart rate training is a great tool to maintain good health, lose weight, monitor energy exerted during a workout, and develop your overall fitness. For athletes, it can improve cardiac output, increase the amount of oxygen used during training or VO2 max, and enhance athletic performance.
A measurable physical routine is a good motivator for better health. Whether you’re an athlete or you just started training, monitor your fitness level and tailor an exercise session according to your body’s capacity and needs.
What is the heart rate zone?
The heart rate zone is a range within an individual’s heart beats per minute.
Training within your heart rate zone helps you define the limits of your training intensities. Your fitness level changes as you age. Understanding the heart rate zone is a good foundation for training to support your capacity while still gaining the maximum benefits in your physical activities.
Find out your target heart rate training zone
Heart rate is one of the most accurate measurements for workout intensity. There are different types of heart rates you need to define for your target heart rate during training:
- Resting heart rate – Check it after waking up or a few hours of sitting (if your work isn’t stressful!).
- Maximum heart rate (MHR) – The upper limit of your cardiovascular system under a physical activity or stress– check it at the high-intensity interval of your HIIT or any time you can’t speak at all at the gym, trying to catch your breath after an intense workout.
- Heart rate reserve – The difference between your resting heart rate and maximum heart rate.
Calculating your target heart rate zone
The best method is a lab test conducted by professionals or certified trainers using various equipment. You can also check this blog post about the benefits of heart rate tracking to know how to measure your MHR.
Karvonen method is another formula you can use to figure out your target heart rate once you have your resting heart rate, MHR, and heart rate reserve.
- Target Heart Rate = (Heart Rate Reserve x Training %) + Resting Heart Rate
Want an easy and practical way of measuring your heart rate?
A heart rate tracker gives a more accurate measurement than doing your own computation and manufacturers can easily update the device to match new research about heart rate.
Our Myzone Belt uses a formula derived from Londeree and Moeschberger: Max HR = 206.3 – (0.711 x age) and automatically establish your MHR based on your age.
How does heart rate training zone work?
The different zones represented below are based on the percentage range of the MHR. There are different levels of workout intensity and exertion in which your body will gain different results.
- Healthy Heart Zone: 50% to 60%
This less intense exercise zone is perfect for warmups or cooldown. It’s colloquially known as a “very light” zone so you should still be able to hold a full conversation with ease. Walkers are often in this zone unless they upgrade to brisk walking. You can only gain a few cardiorespiratory benefits but you can decrease body fat, blood pressure and cholesterol.
- Energy Efficient or Recovery Zone: 60% to 70%
This zone is the higher end of the moderate-intensity exercise. You get the same health benefits but you’ll burn more calories per minute because the exercise is a bit more intense. Your body also learns to utilise the oxygen and pumps the blood efficiently.
You’re going to start sweating although you can still talk and carry on a conversation. Compared to the healthy heart zone, the pace and intensity are now more noticeable. Brisk walking, jogging on a treadmill, water aerobics, doubles tennis, and volleyball are some of the activities that fall under this zone.
You can also use this zone for recovery for high-intensity interval training (HIIT).
- Aerobic Zone: 70% to 80%
This zone is between moderate intensity and vigorous intensity activities. You pump your legs and other major muscle groups to raise your heart rate to this zone. Your circulatory system is improved by building new blood vessels while the heart and lung capacity is also increased.
Breathing is harder than usual and you’ll only be able to speak in phrases. Running, swimming, cycling, and using cardio exercise machines like treadmills and elliptical trainers helps you achieve an aerobic zone. Zumba and aerobic sessions also work. For best results, aim for at least 20 to 60 minutes in this zone.
- Anaerobic Zone: 80% to 90%
This is also known as lactate threshold or anaerobic threshold. Non-endurance athletes use this zone to increase strength, power and speed. At this level, breathing will be very hard and on the edge so you won’t be able to speak a full sentence.
You use your glycogen stores in this zone and carbohydrates are burned faster than fats. This zone gives the body a quick energy burst, helps handles lactic acid more efficiently, and improve your VO2 max.
Training may be for a few seconds like power-lifting or can range for several minutes like sprinting, hurdles, and speed skating. To make sure you’re getting the most out of this exercise, do a 10 to 20-minute range or make it a part of an interval training workout.
- VO2 Max: 90-100%
This is the red-line or the maximum training zone that is recommended for advanced and professional athletes. You can’t train higher than this zone and you can only “speak” by gasping a word.
HIIT and sprint interval training are some of the activities you can do to reach this zone. Remember that this requires lots of recoveries to avoid overtraining and injury.
Working out in this zone improves muscle strength, high-end speed, lactate threshold, and a bit of endurance. You burn lots of calories per minute in this zone, but it’s best to use this for short burst during interval training.
Start your training!
Reap the benefits of your hard work with proper exercise intensity and fitness goals!
You don’t have to do intensive training all the time. Create an appropriate workout session for yourself or with your trainer using heart rate training.
Vary the intensity and length of your workout sessions and remember to include a recovery day when you’re exercising between aerobic, anaerobic, and red-line zone.
Don’t know where to start? Train with Code 5 to achieve your fitness goals! Start your 7-day free trial today.