Know Your Number – HR Training Zones

Sooo, now that you’ve got a HR (heart rate) monitor (or do you?), you need to do 2 things.

1) Check yourself out because I bet you look as cool as that dude up there!
2) Find out where you should be training. To figure it out, here are the steps:
There are a bunch… bear with me. It doesn’t take that long. Grab a pencil and a calculator!

1) Find your maximum heart rate (220-age).
I’m 26 years old. 220-26= 194.
(There’s another method which is 206.9 – (.67 x age) but we’re going with 220-age for this)
2) Find your resting heart rate (find your pulse in the a.m. right when you wake up, before you get out of bed, or after you’ve been resting or immobile for a while. Count the beats for 1 minute)
My resting heart rate = 65 (beats per minute)
Using the Karvonen Formula we’ll find my training zones (% of max HR and HR reserve).
1) Max HR – Resting HR = HR Reserve
194-65= 129
2) HR Reserve x Low Training zone(65%) + Resting HR = Low End of Training Zone
129 x .65 + 65 =149 Beats per minute
3) HR Reserve x High Training zone (85%) + Resting HR = High End of Training Zone
129 x .85 = 65 = 175 Beats per minute
*If you don’t want to go through all the calulations manually, plug in your age and Resting HR at this website and it’ll do it for you!
SOOOO, what the heck does all that mean? It means that I need to stay in my training zone of 65%-85% of my max HR if I want to challenge myself appropriately.
Therefore, my HR needs to be between 149 and 175 (beats per minute) for me to improve. If it’s lower, I need to step it up, if it’s higher, I need to back it down.
To determine what training zone is best for you, determine where you are physically (e.g. beginner, regular exerciser, or athlete), then determine what kind of workout you’ll be doing (e.g. low intensity, high intensity).
Low Intensity – %60-%70 of Max HR
Medium – %70-%80 of Max HR
High – %80-%90 of Max HR
If you’re just beginning, you may want to use %55-%65 of your Max HR until you feel comfortable enough to step it up. This will keep you from over doing it (keeling over).
This article from The American College of Sports Medicine (ACSM) shows you everything you need to know about training with your heart rate monitor.
Happy Training!
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