Heart Rate Zones
The first step to successful heart rate (HR) training is knowing your maximum heart rate. To calculate this, simply subtract your age from 220. The formula is 220 - Age = Maximum Heart Rate. Once you’ve determined this, you can figure the numbers for each zone listed below.
- Zone 1: 50-60% of Max HR - Very light effort
- Zone 2: 60-70% of Max HR - Light effort
- Zone 3: 70-80% of Max HR - Moderate effort
- Zone 4: 80-90% of Max HR - High effort
- Zone 5: 90-100% of Max HR - Maximum effort
Benefits of Heart Rate Zones
Understanding what each HR zone does to your body helps you strategize your workouts in order to get the desired results. Below is a breakdown of the benefits and uses, as well as sample exercises, for each zone.
- Weight Loss and Recovery - Don’t let the low-intensity of zones one and two fool you; these are the best zones for weight loss. This is due to the fact that fat is the primary source of fuel when exercising in these zones. Also, workouts in these zones are able to be performed for longer periods of time, further maximizing your results. These exercises can also be performed during the recovery period of high-intensity training (HIIT), which is the time that actually burns fat. Examples of zone one and two workouts are fast-paced walking and strength training.
- Improved Overall Fitness - To improve your overall fitness and build endurance, you’ll need to exercise within zones two through four. Zone two is where you begin to build a base of endurance, which allows you to perform aerobic exercises for longer periods of time. Zones three and four help you maintain and increase your aerobic fitness. During zone four, you also begin to build muscle. Examples of these workouts include long distance running, tempo runs, and intervals.
- Maximized Performance - Zones four and five are best for advanced athletes who wish to maximize their power and speed. HIIT and hill sprints are examples of exercises in these zones.