Heart Rate Zones for Different Types of Workouts
Have you ever wondered what your heart rate should be when working out? Have you ever been curious about different ways to track your heart rate? These are essential questions to consider when making a serious effort to improve your fitness and health.
Below, we will discuss the heart rate zones, including the normal resting heart rate and the maximum heart rate for your age. We’ll also look at how exercise intensity and other factors can affect your heart rate.
What Are Exercise Heart Rate Zones?
Your heart rate is the number of times your heart beats per minute (BPM). Your heart rate zones are based on a percentage of your maximum heart rate (MHR).
The goal of knowing your heart rate zones is to make you more efficient in your workouts and allow you to challenge yourself to improve your cardiovascular fitness. When you increase your tempo, workload, and intensity, your heart rate will often increase because of the demands you are putting on your body.
Everyone has a resting heart rate zone and a max heart rate zone (HRMAX). Between those two zones, there are several other heart rate zones that you can go through, depending on your training intensity. Knowing the different heart rate zones is very beneficial to your training plan because it gives you a sense of how hard you are pushing yourself when you’re working out.
Let’s take a look at the five different heart rate training zones:
This heart rate zone is 50% to 60% of your HRMAX.
This zone is considered to be very low-intensity. All fitness levels, from beginners to advanced, can perform in this zone by simply walking or biking at a leisurely pace. Although you are only working out at a low intensity in zone 1, you can still promote weight loss and reap the benefits of exercise.
Don’t let the “very low intensity” fool you; training at this level can prepare you for the higher intensity zones in the future.
This heart rate zone is 60% to 70% of your HRMAX.
In this zone, you are still training at a lower intensity level and should be able to perform for a longer period of time while maintaining this heart rate.
This zone is an essential part of your exercise program. While you are still working out at a low intensity in zone 2, you can build up your endurance by maintaining this level of intensity. Both strength training and cardio workouts can get you into this heart rate zone.
This heart rate zone is 70%-80% of your HRMAX.
In this zone, you are performing at a moderate-intensity level and are probably increasing your blood circulation significantly. Once you reach this heart rate zone, lactic acid will start building up in your muscles, and you may begin to feel some tightness and soreness after your workout.
Many aerobic exercises will put you in this heart rate zone, including jogging and swimming.
This heart rate zone is 80%-90% of your HRMAX. In this zone, you are probably breathing heavily and working at a vigorous-intensity level. Many athletes see this heart zone when completing a high-intensity interval training (HIIT) workout.
When training at this level, your speed and endurance will improve over time. The higher the heart rate, the more you’ll push yourself, which means that you may only be able to maintain this intensity level for shorter periods of time.
This heart rate zone is 90%-100% for your HRMAX. When you are performing in this heart rate zone, your heart and respiratory system are working at their highest possible level.
If you want to get into this zone, think about doing intense interval training or anaerobic exercises.
In this zone, you are working out as hard as you can, and you can only perform at this level for a short time. Therefore, your training plan has to be broken up into sections when you’re in zone 5.
Another critical factor to note about this heart rate zone is your vo2 max (maximum oxygen consumption). While performing at a higher heart rate, you are also nearing your maximum oxygen consumption. In this zone, your overall heart health and fitness are improving, but you’re also pushing yourself as hard as you can.
What Is the Best Heart Rate Zone for Fat Burning?
It is essential to remember that fat burning can occur in every heart rate zone. Whether you are working out at a higher or lower intensity, you can still burn calories and promote weight loss.
However, many experts recommend strength training if your specific goal is to build muscle and burn fat. Building more muscle mass will boost your metabolic rate, helping you burn more calories overall. That means more calories are burned not only when you are working out but throughout the day.
How Do I Find My Target Heart Rate?
You will need to know your max heart rate before being able to find your target heart rate zone.
To find your max heart rate, you will need to subtract your age from 220. That number is your estimated maximum heart rate. You will then need to multiply your max heart rate number times the percentage listed in the exercise heart rate zone you wish to reach.
For example, the average 30-year-old has a max heart rate of 190 beats per minute. If they are looking to train in a moderate-intensity zone, then their target heart rate range will be 133 bpm to 152 bpm (190 multiplied by 70% and 80%). Of course, there are also some workout accessories like smartwatches that can do this for you automatically.
How Can I Track My Heart Rate?
There are many ways to track your heart rate while working out.
You can always track your heart rate periodically throughout your workout the old-fashioned way. This means taking your pulse on the inside of your wrist or the side of your neck.
To do this, you will use the tips of your index and middle fingers to press lightly over the artery on your neck or wrist. You then count the number of beats you feel for 30 seconds and multiply it by two.
Nowadays, there are much easier ways to track your heart rate through technology. Some cardio machines have sensors to track your heart rate automatically. There are also fitness trackers and heart rate monitors that you can use to constantly track your progress throughout your workouts.
Knowing all five of the different heart rate training zones is essential. To reach your fitness goals, you should target all five zones at some point in your training sessions. This will help with both your overall performance and recovery.
This also means trying out different types of workouts such as walking, cardio, weight training, and more. Be prepared when you go to the gym and have a workout planned. This way, you will know not only what target heart rate you are aiming for; you will also know that you have all the equipment you need stashed in your gym bag beforehand.
Knowing your target heart rate helps you set realistic workout goals and measure your progress in a simple and practical way. You can use your target heart rate to make your strength training sessions more productive, but it’s especially critical during cardio workouts.
According to the American Heart Association, cardio-based exercises are best at improving overall heart health and metabolic health. Cardio also helps to lower blood pressure and cholesterol, balance out your blood sugar level, and decrease the chances of heart disease.
No matter your age, size, or fitness level, get outside and get moving. Any movement or physical activity, at any intensity, can help increase your overall health.
For more information about working out or different gym equipment to help you on your fitness journey, feel free to check out our Haven Athletic blog.