Q&A: Why Should I know my Maximum Heart Rate?
Written by Holden Rethwill

We received this question from one of our online followers recently and thought it would be a good opportunity to share the knowledge of the how’s and why’s of heart rate zone training. When we talk about heart rate training, we apply it to aerobic exercise zones and measure which zone you are in based on the percentage of your maximum heart rate and this can be very useful information to know.

Why should I know my maximum heart rate?

To put it simply, understanding zone training and monitoring your heart rate is a great tool to know what type of training you’re doing…aerobic, anaerobic, fat burning, recovery, etc. 

Knowing the 5 aerobic training zones and where you’re at within them based on your heart rate can help you analyze and understand the specific type of training that you are partaking in.

For example…Let’s say you’re going for a nice jog…if your maximum heart rate is 190, and you’re jogging at a pace where you spike to an average of 180 beats per minute, well, you’re definitely not doing aerobic training, or a nice easy jog anymore, and you’re on the verge of redlining. This high percentage is not something sustainable for an extended period of time.

How to Calculate Your Maximum Heart Rate

A good way to approximate what your maximum heart rate would be is to subtract your current age from 220. So, for example, I am 29 years old.

220-29 = 109

So my maximum heart rate is going to be around 191 beats per minute. That said, there is going to be give and take on a case by case basis, but this is a good place to start and get a rough estimate on where to set your percentages from.

Other Ways to Measure Intensity

Once you get an idea of what various percentages of your maximum heart rate feel like physically and mentally, you can start to better guestimate where you are through perceived rate of effort and use that to gauge your training zones and also how you are feeling on that particular day. Read more about perceived rate of exertion for: gym longevity -and- continuous gains without burnout.

Now your coach can prescribe a “Zone 2 Sunday Funday” and you’ll know what they mean. Check out this read for more interesting reading on training zones and specifically why you should be spending more time in Zone 2!

Invictus Engine Online Program

Do you want someone to tell you which Zone to train in each day and how? If you’re serious about better performance in your training, or just want to build your aerobic capacity to run a long distance race, you have to spend time training all of the different energy systems. With the Invictus Engine Program, you will have options for 3 running workouts, 3 rowing workouts, 2 mixed-modal workouts, and 1 swimming session. And, we give some guidance depending on your training needs. Join anytime – like now!

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