How To Find Your Target Heart Rate

 

This is one of the first questions I had when I bought my first heart rate monitor: How To Find Your Target Heart Rate? The device I had bought was a very basic entry level one, the Timex T5G941, which basically only displayed your heart rate. If you go for a slightly more expensive model, then even an entry level HRM will come with built in target zones calculation. The easiest way to see what features are included in different models, take a look at this comparison table.

But even if you heart rate monitor comes with a built in zone calculation feature, it is very useful to understand what the different zones mean and how they can benefit your training.

 

What is a target heart rate?

best heart rate monitor 2A person’s heart rate is measured in beats per minute (BPM) and is a measurement of how fast your heart is beating at any given time. When you are working out, e.g. while running, your heart rate increases, and the total BPM is dependent on how intensive you are training.

A target heart rate is a value that can help you achieve your training goals, as the value is different dependent on what you want to achieve. For example, if you are aiming for weight loss then the target rate is a lot lower than the anaerobic rate a high performance athlete tries to achieve at certain times.

So, your target heart rate is dependent on how hard you want to work out and is divided into different zones. Most commonly you will see references to three heart rate zones, but professional athletes with highly tailored training regimes will quite possibly work with 5 or more zones.

 

What are heart rate zones?

best heart rate monitor

 

As already mentioned, a heart rate zone is a margin of beats per minute at which your body will undergo different levels of strain. No matter what level of fitness you are at, and whether you are trying to lose weight or prepare for a marathon, using heart rate zones will help you to make sure your body is progressing towards that goal.

 

 

Generally speaking you will come across the following three heart rate zones:

  1. Fat loss: This zone is best suited for people who are trying to lose weight and aims at a relatively low training heart rate.
  2. Aerobic: This zone will help you improve your general fitness levels.
  3. Anaerobic: This Is the maximum level exertion used by athletes to target very specific goals and it can only be achieved for short periods of time.

The difficult thing about target heart rate zones is that they are different for every individual and have to be calculated individually.

 

How do you calculate your target heart rate zones?

When you are trying to find out how to find your target heart rate I would first of all point you to a very handy online calculator on this site, where all you need is your age and your resting heart rate: Heart Rate Zone Calculator. To get your resting heart rate, you should measure it first thing in the morning while you are still in bed. If you do this over a couple of days you should be able to get an accurate reading

Secondly, it is important to note that this basic calculation is accurate for most people, but in order to get a really accurate target heart rate you would have to undergo a heart rate test performed in a clinical setting. This is only recommendable if you find that the calculations made here do not seem to match up with your training experience.

For those that want to know the science and calculation involved, I will explain that here:

  1. Calculate your maximum heart rate by subtracting your age from 220
  2. Next, measure your resting heart rate
  3. Calculate your working heart rate by subtracting you resting heart rate from your maximum heart rate
  4. Fat burning zone: multiply your working heart rate by 0.5 and then add your resting heart rate, and repeat the same by multiplying by 0.75; these two value represent the lower and upper limit of this zone
  5. Aerobic zone: multiply your working heart rate by 0.75 and then add your resting heart rate, and repeat the same by multiplying by 0.85; these two value represent the lower and upper limit of this zone
  6. Anaerobic zone: multiply your working heart rate by 0.85 and then add your resting heart rate, and repeat the same by multiplying by 0.95; these two value represent the lower and upper limit of this zone

 

Example:

best heart rate monitor 1Age is 30 and Resting Heart Rate is 70.

Maximum heart rate = 220 – 30 = 190

Working heart rate = 190 – 70 = 120

Fat burning zone lower limit = 120 * 0.5 = 60 + 70 = 130

Fat burning zone upper limit = 120 * 0.75 = 90 + 70 = 160

Aerobic zone lower limit = 120 * 0.75 = 90 + 70 = 160

Aerobic zone upper limit = 120 * 0.85 = 102 + 70 = 172

Anaerobic zone lower limit = 120 * 0.85 = 102 + 70 = 172

Anaerobic zone upper limit = 120 * 0.95 = 114 + 70 = 184

 

So, that is how to find your target heart rate, but as mentioned you can use this calculator to make things easier: Heart Rate Zone Calculator.

 

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