Use Max Heart Rate Training to Maximize Your Fitness Results

 By: Trina Rowe
Want to get the most out of your cardiovascular training program? Don't just train harder, train smarter with max heart rate training. Knowing your max heart rate and working within targeted heart rate zones is the way to get the most out of your training, bar none.

I recommend investing in a heart rate monitor for accurate heart rate training. All the bells and whistles are useful but a simple heart rate monitor will do for most cardiovascular training programs. Once you have this vital piece of equipment you'll need to calculate your max heart rate before you get started with your training. To find this, just use the following formula.

220-age= max heart rate

Now, use the number to calculate your ranges for different heart rate zones. Here is a rundown of the different heart rate training zones.

Heart Rate Zone 1
Intensity: Very Low
% Max Heart Rate: 50%-60%

Zone 1 workouts are achieved by walking briskly. This is generally the intensity level used for warming up and cooling down. Train at this level if you are just beginning a cardiovascular training program for the first time, or have a history of heart problems.

Heart Rate Zone 2
Intensity: Low
% Max Heart Rate: 60-70%

Relatively low level of heart rate training that is used for endurance workouts and is achieved by jogging slowly. Zone 2 is often called the "fat burning zone" because it is in this zone that your body releases fat from cells to be used as fuel for your workout.

Heart Rate Zone 3
Intensity: Moderate
Max Heart Rate: 70%-80%

Heart rate training in zone 3 improves fitness by increasing lung capacity, size of blood vessels, and strength of your heart so that you can exercise longer before experiencing fatigue. This level of intensity is reached by running easily. In Zone 3 you are utilizing a 50-50 ratio of fats and carbohydrates to fuel your workouts.

Heart Rate Zone 4
Intensity: High
% Max Heart Rate: 80%-90%

Zone 4 is reached by running hard. At these heart rates, your heart cannot pump enough blood and oxygen to fully supply the exercising muscles so they switch from aerobic to anaerobic energy source. Training at or slightly below this pace teaches your body to "recycle" the lactic acid created during the high intensity workout.

Heart Rate Zone 5
Intensity: Very High
% Max Heart Rate: 90%-100%

This is the equivalent a maximal running effort and can only be maintained for brief periods of time. Typically Zone 5 heart rate training is utilized mostly during interval cardiovascular training programs.
Getting a heart rate monitor and simply being aware of your heart rate and what heart rate zone(s) you are training in, can improve your workouts significantly.
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