Heart Rate Training


Monitoring your heart rate allows you to maximize the effectiveness of your training time. It helps you to adjust your effort so that you can achieve the goals of each workout. The first step is to determine your Maximum Heart Rate (MHR) and Resting Heart Rate (RHR) so that you can use them to establish your Training Heart Rate Range (THRR). One way to do this is to have a stress test done. Your physician can then tell you what your maximum and resting heart rates are and what training range would be best for you. The other way is to use the mathematical formulas explained below, which will give you a pretty good approximation.

To estimate your maximum heart rate, you can use the rule of thumb that your maximum heart rate (MHR) is 220 minus your age. You can find your resting heart rate (RHR) by lying down or sitting still for a while and then taking your pulse (do this several times and take the average for greater accuracy). By subtracting RHR from MHR, you will determine your heart rate reserve (HRR). You can then calculate your training heart rate range by taking prescribed percentages of this HRR and adding them back to your RHR. Specifically, for aerobic training you will take 50-75% of your HRR and add it to your RHR to get your training heart rate range. For anaerobic threshold training you will take 80-85% of the HRR and add it back to your RHR to get your training range. The following examples will show you how to do this. Then you can use the worksheet provided to calculate your own values.



Let’s say you are 50 years old, with a resting heart rate of 60. Using 220 minus your age, 220 – 50, you calculate a MHR of 170. Subtracting RHR from MHR, you get 170 – 60 = 110 for your HRR. Your aerobic training heart rate range will lie between 50% and 75% of your HRR: 50% of 110 = 55; 75% of 110 = 83. Adding these figures back on to your resting heart rate gives: 60 + 55 = 115 and 83 + 60 = 143. Thus your aerobic THRR is 115 to 143 beats per minute. If you exercise below 115, you will decrease the efficiency of your workout. If you exercise above 143 for any length of time, you will feel some stress.



The anaerobic threshold is the zone in between aerobic and anaerobic training. On a strong 5000 meter piece, or a best effort for 30 minutes, you are probably working at your anaerobic threshold. To calculate this range, take 80 to 85% of your HRR. Using the HRR of the first example we get: 80% of 110 = 88 and 85% of 110 = 94. Adding these figures back on to your RHR gives: 88 + 60 = 148 and 94 + 60 = 154. Thus your anaer-obic threshold THRR is 148 to 154 beats per minute.



Going beyond your anaerobic threshold range is asking your body to work purely anaerobically. Anaerobic workouts are usually interval workouts, simply because your body can’t work anaerobically for very long at a time without rest. You may do all-out intervals (“putting the pedal to the metal”) or repeated intervals. All-out intervals, where you may reach your MHR, call for a longer rest interval to reach a lower heart rate before the next interval. Repeats, where your heart rate should be just under MHR, call for a higher heart rate at restart.

For best results on the Indoor Rower, we recommend a diet of all three types of workouts. The variety will provide your body with a range of productive stresses, while avoiding boredom and the overuse of any one system. Your largest serving of the three should be of aerobic work, where duration takes priority over high intensity. Monitor Your Progress

Monitoring your Training Heart Rate and your Indoor Rower scores enables you to track your fitness progress. In addition, periodic test pieces will be very informative to you. As your fitness improves, you will find that you can achieve more meters, watts or calories for a given heart rate. Or, at the same pace, your heart rate will be lower. You may also find a reduction in your resting heart rate. On the other hand, if you find increases in your heart rate for a given work level, or increases in your resting heart rate, it may mean that you need some time off. You may be overly fatigued or showing the beginnings of an illness. Knowing how your cardiovascular system is responding to training will enhance your interest in your health and well-being.