Target Heart Rate Training Zones Calculator

  • Age years Max Heart Rate bpm
    Resting Heart Rate bpm Reserve Heart Rate bpm
    Lower Training Zone % which is a Heart Rate of bpm
    Upper Training Zone % which is a Heart Rate of bpm
    Estimated VO2 max ml/kg/min

  • Target Heart Rate Training Zones

    Heart-rate training uses heart rate in beats per minute (bpm) or a percentage of your maximum heart rate as a guide for intensity.

    By training in this manner instead of training at a specific pace, you will train your cardiorespiratory system to work at a specific effort for a set amount of time resulting in performance increases and more effective cardio, conditioning and fat burning than you've ever experienced before.

    How to use

    1) Determine your Resting Heart Rate. Take out a stopwatch and set it for 60 seconds. Count your heart rate beats and after the time is up you have the result.
    2) Take a look at the below table and assess what heart rate training zone is suited towards your goal.
    3) Take the higher and lower % figure and input into the calculator. This will give you the target heart rate of which you should be performing during training to yield effective results
    During training I recommend wearing a heart rate monitor watch which will make finding your working heart rate easier than measuring manually. More information is displayed below.

    Heart rate variations

    The heart is a muscle so with regular exercise it will become larger and become more efficient as a pump. As a result, you will find your resting heart rate gets lower so you will need to check your HRrest on a regular basis (e.g. Monthly). A reduction in heart rate for a given intensity is usually due to an improvement in fitness but a number of other factors might explain why heart rates can vary for a given intensity:
    -Dehydration can increase the heart rate by up to 7.5%
    -Heat and humidity can increase the heart rate by 10 beats/minute
    -Altitude can increase the heart rate by 10 to 20%, even when acclimatised
    -Biological variation can mean the heart rate varies from day to day by 2 to 4 beats/minute.


    The Energy Efficient or Recovery Zone - 60% to 70%

    Training within this zone develops basic endurance and aerobic capacity. All easy recovery running should be completed at a maximum of 70%. Another advantage to running in this zone is that while you are happily fat burning you may lose weight and you will be allowing your muscles to re-energise with glycogen, which has been expended during those faster-paced workouts


    The Aerobic Zone - 70% to 80%

    Training in this zone will develop your cardiovascular system. The body's ability to transport oxygen to, and carbon dioxide away from, the working muscles can be developed and improved. As you become fitter and stronger from training in this zone it will be possible to run some of your long weekend runs at up to 75%, so getting the benefits of some fat burning and improved aerobic capacity.


    The Anaerobic Zone - 80% to 90%

    Training in this zone will develop your lactic acid system. In this zone, your individual anaerobic threshold (AT) is found - sometimes referred to the point of deflection (POD). During these heart rates, the amount of fat being utilised as the main source of energy is greatly reduced and glycogen stored in the muscle is predominantly used. One of the by-products of burning this glycogen is lactic acid. There is a point at which the body can no longer remove the lactic acid from the working muscles quickly enough. This is your anaerobic threshold (AT). Through the correct training, it is possible to delay the AT by being able to increase your ability to deal with the lactic acid for a longer period of time or by pushing the AT higher.


    The Red Line Zone 90% to 100%

    Training in this zone will only be possible for short periods. It effectively trains your fast twitch muscle fibres and helps to develop speed. This zone is reserved for interval running and only the very fit are able to train effectively within this zone.

    Points to note:

    Please remember that any equation used to determine your maximum heart rate (HRmax) is only a best guess and not a guarantee of your true HRmax value. The use of an equation implies that anyone of the same age has the same HRmax, which is not the case. To determine your true HRmax you should consider conducting a Stress Test.
    The calculator determines your HRmax based on the equation: 217 - (age × 0.85) (Miller et al. 1993)
    If you know your true HRmax then adjust your "Age" so that the correct value appears in the "Max Heart Rate" window.
    Enter your age, resting heart rate, the lower and upper training zone values (%) and then select the 'Calculate' button.

    VO2 max - using heart rates

    Research by Uth et al. (2004) found that VO2 max can be estimated indirectly from an individual's maximum heart rate (HRmax) and resting heart rate (HRrest) with an accuracy that compares favourably with other common VO2 max tests. It is given by:
    VO2 max = 15 x (HRmax ÷ HRrest)

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