Heart Rate Training – Friendly Competition in the Aerobic Zone

Some friendly competition has started during our small group training thanks to the Polar Team app. We’re all working to get our target heart rates in the aerobic zone, although you can see that some of us like the anaerobic zone even more (86%).

Strength training, Crossfit WODs, and basic aerobic exercise have all been able to push our clients into their desired zones. It’s like I always say, strength training IS cardio training: you strengthen your heart, improve blood flow, burn fat, and improve your body’s ability to deliver oxygen to working muscles. Exercise that improves cardiovascular endurance are activities that elevate your heart rate and keep it elevated for a sustained period of time, and strength training can do that.


My cardiorespiratory assessment for clients. Progress comes in many ways.

Heart rate training shows how exercise drives heart rates. We can then know whether we should work more intensely or back off. We can also compare the same work out on different days and know whether we may be overtraining (if we see our heart rate rise) or know we have adapted and progressed (if our heart rate or recovery heart rate is lower).

The best thing about training zones is they are individualized, yet we can compare effort, since we focus on the percent rather than the beats per minute. The Polar Team app uses maximum heart rate, but when we assess, we use heart rate reserve. We use the Karvonen Formula, determining through either age formula or submaximal testing your maximum heart rate. We subtract your resting heart rate to get your heart rate reserve, and it is this number that we use to determine the activity ranges.

Heart rate training is all about improving your VO2Max.

Maximal oxygen consumption reflects aerobic physical fitness, an important way to know endurance capacity during prolonged, sub-maximal exercise. VO2Max is reached when oxygen consumption remains at a steady state despite an increase in workload. You can increase your VO2Max by working out at an intensity that raises your heart rate to between 64 to 94 percent of its maximum for at least 20 minutes three times a week. Those with a high VO2Max will likely also have a lower resting heart rate, lower blood pressure, and lower risk for chronic diseases.

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