Target Heart Rates
are you in the ZONE?

polar heart rate monitor

The term TARGET HEART RATES refers to the predetermined number of Beats per Minute, (bpm) of your Heart during Exercise that you are wanting to work at.

This predetermined number is a percentage of your Maximum Heart Rate (Max HR) and this percentage differs in various Training Zones.

Firstly you need to take a look at the Factors that can Effect Your Heart Rate. Heart Rate (HR) response to Exercise is proportional to the Workload being performed, the greater the Intensity, the higher the Heart Rate

It is the major means of monitoring yourself during Workouts or Training Sessions and there are many external and internal factors that can affect your Heart Rate.


  • an increase in Workload will result in an increase in HR. This is the same for both Aerobic and Anaerobic Training.

  • Check out Aerobic and Anaerobic Training in How to Exercise.

  • with an increase in age, there is a decrease in Maximal HR.
  • stroke volume (the amount of blood that is pumped per beat) as the heart size decreases HR inversely increases to maintain the same or adequate Cardiac Output.
  • ingestion and the subsequent digestion of food increases HR. Post meal Exercise at a given workload results in a higher HR, due to the body coping with both exercising and digestion at the same time. It is a good precaution to wait 1 – 2 hours after eating, before Exercising.
  • emotional stress can elevate HR above normal levels and this is most noticeable at rest. However it can result in an increased Cardiovascular response during Exercise.
  • when the Body temperature increases above normal (this includes fever due to illness) HR increases and conversely as the Body temperature decreases your HR declines.
  • environmental factors – it is suggested that ambient temperatures are one of the most important factors affecting Cardiovascular responses to Exercise. During moderate Exercise increases of 10 – 40 bpm may occur depending on the magnitude of the temperature increase. Also high humidity and the lack of air movement over the body can affect HR at any given Exercise load or temperature, if the humidity is high and the air movement is low there is an increase in HR.

  • exercise balls


    Your Heart Rate can be monitored easily during your Workouts by checking your Pulse at regular intervals and then changing your Intensity according to your Training needs. But first lets take a look at some of the Heart Rate thresholds required before you can calculate your Targeted Heart Rate Zones.

    You will need to know your,

  • This is your sedentary heart rate, when you are totally inactive. The best time for you to find out your Resting Heart Rate is to take your pulse just before you get out of bed in the morning. Your body is not trying to digest any food, it's under no stress and this way you will get a true indicator of your Resting Heart Rate.

  • This is an indicator of your 100% total Heart Rate. Your Maximum Heart Rate is used in calculating your Target Heart Rate through the use of percentages. Examples of this would be selected training intensities using Target Heart Rates of 50%, 60% and 70% of your MHR.

  • Your Target Heart Rate is a beats per minute intensity, that you are using for your specific training requirements.


    There are several techniques used in calculating your Target Heart Rate and they are,

  • This method is relatively accurate at determining a Target Heart Rate (THR). It factors in both your Resting Heart Rate (RHR) and Maximum Heart Rate (MHR).

    You can easily calculate your Maximum Heart Rate (MHR) by using this formula. All Training Heart Rates are calculated from a benchmark Maximum Heart Rate figure of 220. You subtract your age from this amount and this is your projected Maximum Heart Rate.

    For example if you are currently 35 years of age, you would subtract the number 35 from 220 to calculate your 100% MHR.

    220 (Benchmark) - 35 (Age) = 185 bpm (100% MHR)

    Now that you are armed with this information, you can quite easily calculate your training Heart rate using the following formula,

    THR = (MHR – RHR) x % of Intensity + RHR.

    For example, if a person had a MHR of 185 bpm (aged 35), a RHR of 65 bpm and wanted a Training intensity of 60%. Their Target Heart Rate would be,

    (185 – 65) x 60% + 65 = 137 bpm.

  • This is a simple method based on a persons age. Your MHR is calculated the same as above 220 – age and then a percentage of Exercise Intensity is calculated.We’ll use the same example as above, a person of 35 years of age with an Intensity percentage of 60%.

    (220 – 35 = 185) x 60% = 111 bpm.

    These BPM are considerably lower than in the Karvonen Method because the RHR is not taken into account.

  • This method is a measure of “HOW YOU FEEL” while you are Exercising. It is based on a scale of 0 to 10, where 0 represents doing nothing at all and 10 represents participation in very strenuous, vigorous activity.

    This method is especially useful to those who have an unusually Low or High HR or those on Medication that affects their Working Heart Rate.


    0No Activity
    0.5Extremely Weak Activity
    1Very Weak Activity
    3Moderate Activity
    4Somewhat Strong
    8Very Strong
    9Extremely Strong
    10Maximal Effort

    exercise balls


    It is generally accepted that there are four Training Zones with each one being appropriate for achieving a different Fitness Target.

  • TRAINING ZONE 1, 50% - 60% General Health.
  • It has been researched and found that taking part in any form of Aerobic Activity at this level for a period of at least 30 minutes on most days can reduce the risk of many Chronic Diseases.

    Training Intensity (% of MHR)150155160165170175180185190195200
    General Health 50 - 60%75 - 9078 - 9380 - 9583 - 9985 - 10288 - 10590 - 10893 - 11195 - 11498 - 117100 - 120

  • TRAINING ZONE 2, 60% - 70% Weight Control.
  • This Exercise Intensity will allow you to Exercise at a steady pace for long periods. It should increase your metabolism enough to use a greater number of Calories.

    Training Intensity (% of MHR)150155160165170175180185190195200
    Weight Control 60 - 70% 90 - 105 93 - 109 96 - 112 99 - 116102 - 119105 - 123108 - 126111 - 130114 - 133117 - 137120 - 140

    Please note that there is no such a thing as a “Fat Burning Zone” or an Intensity that will increase fat loss. It’s a simple calculation for working out Weight Loss and that is to use up more Calories with activities and Exercise than you would consume with your Food intake.

  • TRAINING ZONE 3, 70% - 80% Aerobic Conditioning.
  • This Intensity level will increase your Cardiovascular capacity and if you are already Fit and Healthy it will assist in maintaining your current level.

    Training Intensity (% of MHR)150155160165170175180185190195200
    Aerobic Conditioning 70 - 80%105 - 120109 - 124112 - 128116 - 132119 - 136123 - 140126 - 144130 - 148133 - 152137 - 156140 - 160

  • TRAINING ZONE 4, 80% and above Athletic Performance.
  • This level should not be sustained for any long periods of time. You would only enter this training zone if you were a seasoned athlete and used this level in a form of Interval training. Where it would be incorporated into short bursts of Intensity followed by longer periods of slower Exercise. And it is also not recommended to do this type of training on a daily basis. It is very exhausting and strenuous and you could leave yourself open to Over-training and Injury.

    Training Intensity (% of MHR)150155160165170175180185190195200
    Athletic Performance 80 - 90%(Anaerobic)120 - 135124 - 140128 - 144132 - 149136 - 153140 - 158144 - 162148 - 167152 - 171156 - 176160 - 180

    exercise balls

    Using the advantage of a Heart Rate Monitor is without doubt the best and easiest way to track, understand and target your Training Heart Rate for peak performance, no matter what your Fitness Level.

    Today’s Heart Rate Monitors are an invaluable training partner that can provide you with a myriad of information and can truly assist you in being "Smack Bang" in your Target Heart Rate Training Zone.

    These are just a few of the features and the information that will be at your finger tips,

  • Current HR (in real time)
  • Maximum HR
  • Average HR
  • Time
  • Calories Used
  • and much more...


    Their effectiveness cannot be underestimated, so a great investment would be instead of spending your hard earned $$$ on a diet book, why not put a little away each week and put it towards a life enhancing training companion like a Heart Rate Monitor. You will be able to increase your fitness, lose weight and hit your target heart rate all at the same time.

    Don't you agree that having a fit and healthy body is far better than a chocolate bar. If you don't think so you're probably a slave to your taste buds. Your stronger than that, Don't let them win!

    If you would like a more comprehensive look at ”Heart Rate Monitors” just “Click here for the Link.

    exercise balls

    Please take me from"Target Heart Rates" and return me to "How to Exercise".

    Click here if you have any questions on"Target Heart Rates".

    Click here to return to the "Home Page".

    balls and bands