Heart Rate Training is something that many people already have as a part of their exercise fitness programs, but the intricacies of heart rate training are probably lost on most people. The typical person doing heart rate training today hops onto a bicycle or a treadmill and exercises for 30 minutes or so before getting off and going onto the next part of their workout. While there is nothing wrong with this method of approaching heart rate training it is important to know that it only works one part of a person’s heart rate and that is related to the percentage interval that the heart rate is in. Don’t know what a percentage interval is? No problem, by the time you finish reading this article you will and you will learn how to target your heart rate training to provide you with maximum effectiveness.
Before we discuss percentage intervals, we need to discuss two concepts; the resting heart rate of a person and the maximum heart rate of a person.
Resting Heart Rate and Maximum Heart Rate
The resting heart rate of a person is defined as the heart rate of that person when they are not performing anything physically demanding. Since there are no other physical factors involved it can also be thought of as the basic pumping efficiency of your heart (the number of beats required to pump a given volume of blood). To measure your resting heart rate simply lie down and relax for a significant portion of time (a minimum of twenty minutes) and then measure your heart rate.
Maximum heart rates are impossible to measure directly, but a reasonable estimate of the number of beats can be obtained by subtracting your age from the number 220. This might not even be close to the real number, but it will definitely get you in the ballpark. A maximum heart rate is simply the fastest rate at which your heart can likely beat.
The Percentage Figure
Percentage intervals are calculated based upon a person’s working heart rate which is basically the range of values that their heart could conceivably beat at. As might be somewhat conceptually implied by the definition, the working heart rate is calculated by subtracting your resting heart rate from your maximum heart rate. For example if your resting heart rate is 80 and your maximum heart rate is 200, then your working heart rate would be 120 (200-80).
The percentage intervals below are calculated as a percentage of your working heart rate (explained above). Working out at a specific percentage interval indicated below will have a very distinct effect. Study the percentage intervals well and apply the one that suits your workout goals the best. Doing so will allow you to target your workout, increase efficiency and get more satisfying results in a shorter amount of time.
Efficiency and Recovery (60% to 70%): This percentage interval is the smallest one that is practical to workout in and involves activities like low impact walking and biking. This is the interval used to develop endurance as well as burn fat and for that reason is probably the most popular interval to workout in.
Aerobic (70% to 80%): This percentage interval is used to develop your cardiovascular system and increase the ability of your body to facilitate the transportation of oxygen and carbon dioxide to and from your body respectively.
Anaerobic (80% to 90%): Training in this percentage interval will allow you to slowly develop a resistance to the build up of lactic acid in your muscles towards the end of a very strenuous activity. To people that do a lot of sprinting, speed skating or similar activities, being able to resist the effects of lactic acid build up is essential and training in this interval on a frequent basis will help you build up that resistance.
Red Lining (90% to 100%): It is impossible, even for the greatest athletes, to train in this interval for a long period of time. However, training in this interval is desirable because it serves to develop your speed.