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How to Calculate Heart Rate Training Zones

If you're looking to train more efficiently and achieve more results from your cardiovascular workouts, learning how to calculate your heart rate training zones and implementing it into your routine can benefit you. Below are the steps to calculate your training zones.

Step 1: Find the essential metrics

Below is the required information to calculate your heart rate training zones:

  • Maximum heart rate

  • Resting heart rate

  • Heart rate reserve

  • Age

  • Desired training intensity zone

Step 2: Understand the different training zones. Determine which zone you want to train in.

Five heart rate training zones:

  • Very Easy - Fat burning zone – 50-60% of heart rate reserve

  • Easy - Basic endurance zone – 60-70% of heart rate reserve

  • Moderate - Aerobic zone – 70-80% heart rate reserve

  • Hard - Anaerobic zone – 80-90% of heart rate reserve

  • Maximum - Red zone – 90-100% of heart rate reserve

Step 3: Calculate the training zone of choice via Karvonen Formula.

1. Take note of resting heart rate

*Best time to measure resting heart rate is first thing in the morning after waking up. Upon waking up, give yourself 5 minutes to lay in bed then count your pulse for 15 seconds and multiply it by 4.

2. 220 - Age = Max Heart Rate

3. Max Heart Rate - Resting Heart Rate = Heart Rate Reserve

4. Heart Rate Reserve x Desired Work Intensity in decimal + Original Resting Heart Rate = Estimated Work Intensity


Example 1: Individual age 30 with a resting heart rate of 65bpm wanting to train at 70% intensity

1. Resting heart rate = 65bpm

2. 220-30 = 190bpm

3. 190bpm - 65bpm RHR = 125bpm HRR

4. 125bpm HRR x .70 + 65bpm RHR = 152bpm Work at 70% Intensity

Example 2: Individual age 30 with a resting heart rate of 60bpm wanting to train at 90% intensity

1. Resting heart rate = 60bpm

2. 220-30 = 190bpm

3. 190bpm - 60bpm RHR = 130bpm HRR

4. 130bpm HRR x .90 + 60bpm RHR = 177bpm Work at 90% Intensity

Disclaimer: All information presented and written within this article are intended for informational purposes only. You should not rely on this information as a substitute for, nor does it replace, professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. If you should choose to follow or participate in any workout, program or practice, you do so voluntarily and do not hold Initial Mile and it's founder responsible for any cause of injury or death. If you have any concerns or questions about your health, you should always consult with a physician or other health-care professional.


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