We all want to get the most out of our workouts, whatever they may be, but did you know that many of us simply aren’t doing so, due to the fact that we’re not working within our target hear rates? Obviously you want to get the most out of your cardio, or weight training, or cross fit or anything else, and understanding your target heart rate is absolutely ideal for doing just that. Your heart plays an incredibly vital role in the everyday functioning of your body, yet many of us still don’t understand just how important it is to find our target heart rates (THR). If you’ve ever seen joggers, athletes, and keen fitness enthusiasts randomly stopping to check their pulses, they aren’t doing so just to kill a little time or because they’re curious as to what their pulse currently is, they’re doing so because it is necessary for what it is that they’re looking to achieve. Checking their pulse helps them to keep an eye on their heart rates. By keeping your heart rate at a certain level, you can actually achieve different results based upon your goals and targets. If you’re looking to improve your stamina for example, there is a heart rate zone which, if you keep your heart rate within this zone, is optimal for boosting stamina and endurance. If you’re looking for fat loss, again, there is a zone which will help the body to effectively burn body fat. Here’s a look at how you’re able to find your target heart rate.
Methods of monitoring your heart rate
Basically, your heart rate is the exact number of times in which your heart will beat within one minute. There are many different ways of working out your heart rate, especially these days thanks to modern technology. For example you can:
Wear heart rate monitors – Typically, heart rate monitors will be made up of a watch-like device and a chest strap which will tell you your exact heart rate. What’s more, many of these devices allow you to manually enter your target heart rate based upon your training goals, and once you reach this zone, the device will beep or vibrate to alert you. What’s more, if you leave your target heart rate zone, the device will beep or vibrate and alert you once more.
Cardio equipment – If you’re training at the gym, many pieces of cardio equipment are equipped with heart rate monitors in which you basically place both of your hands on the specially designed sensors, and wait until your heart rate is displayed upon the screen of the machine. Obviously older, and poorer-quality machines may not be 100% accurate, but they do give a pretty good indication.
Check your own pulse – What would we do without technology, ay? Oh yes, how about do things manually instead. Simply place your index finger and middle finger on your carotid or radial pulse (wrist or neck) and count how many times it pulses in 10 seconds. Multiply this by 6 and there you have it.
Calculating your target heart rate
Now that you know how to calculate your heart rate, take a look at the following method of calculating your target heart rate (THR). Although it may sound complicated, the formula itself is actually pretty straightforward. Take a look:
Step 1 – As soon as you wake up, find out your resting heart rate. Next, repeat this process for 3 days. Take the three readings, add them together and then divide them by three to obtain an average. So, if your readings were 62, 65, and 63, you would add them together, divide by 3, and be left with 63.
Step 2 – Next up you will need to find out your heart rate reserve and your maximum heart rate (HRmaxRESERVE). To find your maximum heart rate, subtract your age away from 220. Next, take your resting heart rate and subtract that away from your maximum heart rate. So, if you were 40 years of age, your max HR would be 180. You would then subtract 63 from 180, leaving you with 117.
Step 3 – The next process requires you to calculate the lower figure of your target heart rate. So, this will figure 60% of your heart rate reserve and maximum heart rate in which you multiply it by 0.6 and then you add your resting heart rate to your answer. So, 117 x 0.6 + 63 = 133.
Step 4 – Next you must identify the upper limit of your THR. Here you will figure 80% of the HR max and reserve (multiply by 0.8) and then add your RHR to the answer you get. So, 117 x 0.8 + 63 = 157.
Step 5 – Finally, you will take the values you obtained in steps 3 and 4 and will divide this by 2. The answer here will be your target heart rate. So, 133 in step 3 and 157 in step 4, you would combine them together, and divide the answer by 2, which would leave you with 145. You would then know that your THR is 145. (133 + 157 divided by 2 = 145).