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Your Guide to Heart Rate Zones

All our members can use MyZone Club to get real-time data of their heart rate to optimise the effectiveness of every workout. Heart rate training, simply put, consists of using your heart rate to gauge your exercise intensity, and aiming for different heart rate zones depending on what your fitness goals are.

Calculating Max Heart Rate

Your max heart rate is the greatest number of beats per minute your heart can possibly reach during all-out strenuous exercise. Maximum heart rates vary from one person to another, and while they are not an indicator of physical fitness, knowing what your max HR is can be very useful when deciding what types of workouts or training you want to do.

A basic formula that is commonly used is to just subtract your age from 220. So by this method, if you’re 30 years old you’re max heart rate is 190 beats per minute. However, this equation does not take into account things specific to you, like gender, genetics, etc.

Over the years a number of more detailed formulas have been created, such as the Tanaka (208 – 0.7 x age) or the Gulati (206 – 0.88 x age - women only), but they make broad generalisations as well and fall victim to many of the same variables. Additionally, other factors like temperature, altitude, hydration, and even time of day can affect your heart rate.

Every human body is different with varying maximum heart rates, so a better solution is to use chest-worn heart rate monitor like Myzone Mz-3 - one of the most accurate fitness trackers on the market, which uses an algorithm to estimate your heart rate and then monitors your workout data to give you more accurate results.

Training zones

Once you know your max heart rate, you can establish your own heart rate training zones. Different percentages of your max HR represent various heart rate training zones, which are useful to target depending on what your goals are. For example, working at 70-80% of your max HR builds aerobic fitness. When we bump that up to 80-90% effort we start building anaerobic capacity and capacity for shorter efforts.

On Myzone, the grey, blue and green zones are best-suited to warm ups, low intensity movements, meditation, flow exercises, strength and conditioning work, and cool downs. These zones are also vital to determining your ability to recover during more intense workouts.

The yellow and red zones come into play with high intensity physical activity and cardio workouts. Whether you're running, performing plyometric movements or in a CrossFit workout, pushing yourself into these zones will burn more calories.

Benefits of Heart Rate Training

As a general rule, most athletes will want to train in varying zones of max heart rate at different times, both within specific workouts and from one to the next. A typical one-hour session might include 10 minutes in the 50-60% target zone warming up and cooling down, 30 minutes at a sustainable pace at 60-70%, 12 minutes pushing a little more at 70-80%, 6 minutes going hard at 80-90% and 2 minutes all-out at 90-100%.

Monitoring your workout heart rate can help you avoid training too hard by knowing exactly when you’re overexerting yourself. It will also allow you to bounce back faster by ensuring you stay in the proper zone on recovery days. Additionally, heart rate training enables you to moderate external factors like heat and humidity, or better adjust on days when you may not be fully recovered In these cases, your standard workout may be increasing your heart rate more than usual.

Click here to learn more about MyZone at Chalk Fitness.


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