Heart Rate Training Zones
What is a heart rate training zone?
Understanding how your heart works and what the optimal heart rate training zones are is an essential step into improving your overall health and fitness levels.
Heart Rate training Zones are simply made up of a range of different heart beat ranges, and training in different zones come with their own unique advantages. For example, training in one heart rate zone can burn fat faster, while another can improve cardio and conditioning.
Anyone can use this method to exercise, whether you are 60 years old and trying to improve basic health, or simply just a 20 year old endurance athlete looking to improve conditioning. This is why it is important that you pick the best heart rate monitor for your own goals and needs. They can provide you with detailed and accurate data on things such as your average heart rate, calories burned and even time spent in specific training zones.
The problem is that this data is useless if you don’t understand what the information means.
In order to target specific heart rate training zones during exercise we use a scale that is displayed as a percentage of maximum heart rate beats per minute.
There are 4 main zones that you need to know about:
Safe Health Zone (50% – 60% of your Maximum Heart Rate)
If you are suffering from heart problems, looking to improve basic fitness, or simply just want to train safely without stressing your heart then this is an ideal zone to train in.
This is also known as the recovery zone as it can allow your body to recoup during exercise, making it a great zone to warm up and down in after your more intense workouts. To train in this zone would simply require some light walking, or any type of exercise with very little energy output.
Fat Burning Zone (60% – 70% of your Maximum Heart Rate)
If losing weight is your main goal then this is the best zone for you to train in. The majority of calories burned in this zone are fat calories and can be achieved by slow cardio such as light cycling or brisk jogging.
One of the biggest mistakes people make is training too hard and too fast thinking it will burn fat faster. By training outside this zone you are not maximizing your fat burning potential as you may not be burning as many fat calories in other zones. It would be ideal to train in this zone for 25-60 minutes at a time if losing weight is your main goal.
Aerobic Zone (70% – 80% of your Maximum Heart Rate)
Training aerobically means that the body will use oxygen to supply energy to the muscles. This means lung capacity and respiratory rate will greatly increase during exercise, which will help improve the cardiovascular system by strengthen our heart.
This can make us last longer in exercise which makes it an ideal zone for athletes to train in. To reach this zone would require running or cycling at a medium to fast pace and it is recommended to exercise anywhere up to 60 minutes for best results.
Anaerobic Zone (80% – 90% of your Maximum Heart Rate)
Unlike the aerobic zone, training anaerobically means to train without the supply of oxygen. The reason for this is simple; you will be training so hard to get into this heart beat range that heart will simply be unable to supply the needed oxygen required to fuel the muscles.
You will not be able to stay in this zone for long as the muscles will not be able to keep up. Training in this zone will allow you to increase the body’s overall anaerobic threshold which is essential for any athlete that needs to keep up at a high pace for long periods of time. This includes athletes such as sprinters, boxers, football players and any other type of sport that requires explosive performance.
Red Line Zone (90% – 100% of Maximum Heart Rate)
This heart rate training zone requires you to exercise all out as fast and hard as you. You will definitely not be able to stay in this zone for very long, as even most professional athletes are unable to stay in it for more than a minute at a time.
It is recommended to train using HIIT (high intensity interval training) when trying to target this zone. This means exercising at a slow pace then a fast pace at regular intervals, such as 30 seconds on and off.
The main benefits of this include the development of the body’s fast twitch muscle fibres. These are responsible for enhancing your speed levels allowing you to last longer in explosive type sports. It is essential to mix between this zone and the prior zones to increase all aspects of your fitness if you are an athlete.
Now you know why a heart rate monitor should be an essential piece of exercise equipment to be used with any type of training program.
Target heart rate zone training will greatly improve your health and fitness levels no matter what age you are or what your goals are and it is essential that you pick the best heart rate monitor to suit your own needs.