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Using A Heart Rate Monitor

Heart Rate Monitors
Part I – Why use a heart rate monitor?
Ok, very simply put…. measuring your heart rate is the most accurate way to determine what level of intensity your body is working at while exercising.  And the only way to accurately gauge your heart rate is to use a heart rate monitor.  Now, it is true, you could stop and check your pulse throughout your workout.  But seriously, by the time you find an artery and get finished counting – say for 15 seconds – and then multiply by 4 to get your beats per minute, you have already changed the level of intensity and lost any hope of getting an accurate gauge regarding your level of physical exertion.

Also, the neat thing about a heart rate monitor is that it gives you a continuous and accurate reading at any given moment during your workout.  If you use a heart rate monitor with a chest strap sending unit you will get an even more accurate reading because the unit is actually counting your heart beats, not your pulse.  As a spinning instructor, I like this method best because then I can attach the display unit (the wrist watch part of the monitor) to my handle bars and watch it all the time.  That way I can be sure that every second of my training is performed within or at the exact intensity level or energy zone planned for the workout.

 

Who should use a heart rate monitor?
Well, I would like to say everyone, but the real answer to this question is a bit more complicated.  Just about everyone can benefit from using a heart rate monitor during exercise, but really anyone can get a good workout without one.

People have been training for centuries without the use of heart rate monitors. In fact, I’m going to go out on a limb here and say that the first Olympians probably were aware of how hard they were working (or their level of perceived exertion), but never related that to a count of their heart beats per minute and I’m pretty sure they never broke their exertion levels out into energy training zones. So go ahead… workout without a heart rate monitor.  You probably have a pretty good sense of your perceived exertion….. You know when you’re working hard and when you’re taking it easy.  And let’s face it, any kind of exercise – no matter how unstructured – is better than sitting on the couch and eating doughnuts.

Ok, so who should be using a hart rate monitor?  I’m going to say, since you’re reading this – probably you.  Anyone who is interested in getting the most out of their workout time should be spending that valuable time monitoring their hart rate. Time is precious! So why waste any of it with an unfocused effort.  You simply can’t get the most out of your workout without tracking your heart rate.  A heart rate monitor is a small expense, with a gigantic payoff that will give you the tools to take your fitness to a higher level – period.

 
The Energy Training Zones
In spinning we use 5 zones to gauge energy exertion during a workout. The table below breaks out the zones with percentages of maximum heart rate along with the physiological benefits of each.  A well designed spinning program will focus on one or a combination of these defined zones as a fitness objective for the class.

Spinning Heart Rate Energy Training Zones

The energy zone chart above represents the core elements of a well designed training program.

In my next entry (part II of “Using a Heart Rate Monitor”), we’ll discuss how these zones are incorporated into a typical workout, how to determine your heart rates and how to determine your individual energy zones.

If you would like to purchase a hart rate monitor you can go to the links below and get one on line or you can check with your local bike shop or outdoor outfitter to get one locally.

 

spinning.com
ems.com
rei.com
dickssportinggoods.com
power_systems.com
Polar FT1 Heart Monitor Turquoise - Heart Rate Monitors

 
Part II – Using your Heart Rate Monitor

Caution: Prior to engaging in any vigorous physical activity or exercise test, consult your physician for clearance. If you have any questions or concerns about your exercise regimen, including your target heart rate, consult your doctor.

Ok, now that you have decided to use a heart rate monitor, and you can see how fast your heart is beating with every peddle stroke, flutter kick and fartlek, let’s figure out some practical applications for this useful bit of information.Spinning Heart Rate Energy Training Zones

 

 

 

 

 
Above is the Spinning Energy Zone chart complete with names for each zone level, percentages of maximum heart rate for each intensity level and some of the benefits for each training zone.  When we workout within these training zones we can target specific fitness goals, and ensure that we are not training too hard or not hard enough.  All pretty neat – but completely meaningless unless you know how you and your heart rate fit into each zones.

First, we need to figure out your maximum heart rate.  An easy way to do this is to work with the standard theoretical maximum heart rate formula based on your age.

Men:                  220 – Age = Max Heart Rate

Women:           225 – Age = Max Heart Rate

In my case as a 48 year old man, my theoretical max would be 172 beats per minute.

 220 -48 = 172

If we break that down into percentages and apply them to the training zones shown above we get the following heart rate ranges:

Recovery Zone               (50% – 65%)    =           88 – 114 bpm

Endurance Zone            (65% – 75%)     =          114 – 129 bpm

Strength Zone                 (75% – 85%)     =          129 – 146 bpm

Interval Zone                  (65% – 92%)     =          114 – 158 bpm

Race Day Zone                (80% – 92%)     =          138 – 158 bpm

Practically speaking, after mapping this out, I would now know that when the spinning instructor says “let’s take it up to 75% during this interval” I should try to keep my heart rate right around 129 beats per minute.

If you are interested in the simplest and easiest way to put your heart rate monitor to use – then the above calculations are the way to go.

Let’s take this to the next level and get more accurate
First of all, the formulas above are only general guidelines.  So your actual max heart rate may be higher or lower then what you get using 220 or 225 minus your age formula.

If we continue using me as the example, my actual max is about 195, not 172.  (I know this because I have seen it in the lab and in the field.) If I were to simply use the general 220 minus my age formula, I would be way under estimating my levels of exertion when training.   In addition, my resting heart rate, an important fitness level indicator is not taken into account when using the simple age based formula.

A final note on Max Heart Rate – your maximum heart rate does not change with increased fitness.  Sure it goes down a little each year as you get older – but no amount of training and becoming more physically fit is going to increase your maximum heart rate.  It is what it is and we can certainly base some intensity percentages on that number but the picture is not quite complete yet.


Resting Heart Rate

The typical adult has a resting heart rate of about 72 beats per minute (bpm) whereas highly trained runners may have readings of 40 bpm or lower.  Unlike your max heart rate, your resting heart rate does change as you increase your fitness level.  It goes down.   Also important when considering resting heart rate is that the percentages above figure in a heart rate range that starts at zero and we all know as long as we are alive, our heart rate is never zero.  And that’s where heart rate reserve comes into play.


Heart Rate Reserve

Heart Rate Reserve is a more accurate way to figure training ranges incorporating our resting hear rate and our maximum heart rate.  A simple way to think about it is that it adjusts the scale to where zero should be.  Below is a simple formula for this.

Calculating Heart Rate Reserve (The Karvonan Formula)

Max Heart Rate – Resting Heart Rate = Heat Rate Reserve

In my case:  a MHR of 195 – a RHR of 50 = a HHR of 145

As you can see from the formula, 145 represents what I like to think of as the active range in which my heart operates.  By taking into account that my resting heart rate is 50 we can now adjust any target zone percentages for my max heart rate and resting heart rate.  Let’s use the bottom of the strength zone; 75% as an example. Here is how we do it:

Heart Rate Reserve X Training Zone % + Resting Heart Rate = Target Heart Rate.

In my case: a HRR of 145 X .75 + a RHR of 50 = a THR of 159 bbm

If you look at the table above which used the straight age based formula and did not take into account my resting heart rate; 75% is 129.  That’s 30 bbm less than when we figure in my observed max heart rate and account for my fitness level by incorporating my resting heart rate.


Putting it all together

Let’s compare our two methods continuing to use me as our example.

                                                                                         Age Based                  Observed W/HRR

Recovery Zone             (50% – 65%)    =           88 – 114 bpm               123 – 144 bpm

Endurance Zone           (65% – 75%)     =          114 – 129 bpm              144 – 159 bpm

Strength Zone               (75% – 85%)     =          129 – 146 bpm              159 – 173 bpm

Interval Zone                (65% – 92%)     =          114 – 158 bpm              144 – 183 bpm

Race Day Zone              (80% – 92%)     =          138 – 158 bpm              166 – 183 bpm

Notice how much higher the Target Zones are in the column on the right using my observed Max and Resting Heart Rates and utilizing the formula for Heart Rate Reserve.  Given my unique inherited physiology and fitness level, these are much more realistic target heart Rates for me to work with when training.  This is also evident in the field.  When training within the age based zones, I can barley keep my heart rate low enough to mach my targets.  And when I do keep my heart rate down to stay within the zones, I am hardly challenged and come away feeling as though I have not had much of a work out.


Getting Started

Ok, so where should you the new heart rate monitor user start?  A good place for anyone to begin is with the simple Age Based formula. It will give you a safe starting place and once you have mapped out your Target Heart Rates you begin training you will have a good bench mark with which to base any adjustments you make to your Target Heart Rates.

Click here to open a new window containing a table listing multiple Age Based Target Zones.  Calculate your max heart rate using 220 or 225 minus your age and then locate the line that best matches your MHR.  Or go ahead and do the math and figure your zones to the exact beat.

Click here to open a new window containing a template for a Target Zone Workout Card. The top table shows the card with the values I use and is the actual card that I have with me whenever I train.  Having this quick and easy reference card makes it simple for me to keep track of where my heart rate is through out my training and tailor my workout intensity to whatever my goals are for that day.  The lower table is on this page is blank.  You can print it out and fill in the values for your zones.


Getting More Accurate by using you real Resting and Max Heart Rates

Figuring your Resting Heart Rate
First off, Resting Heart Rate is not the rate at which you heart beats during restful times throughout the day.  Resting Heart Rate is the rate at which your heart beats when you first wake up in the morning.  I think a more accurate way to describe it is not as your resting heart rate, but as your “waking heart rate”.  An easy way to determine your “waking heart rate” is to take your pulse when you first wake up in the morning, BEFORE you sit up and get out of bed.  Check it on three different mornings over a week or so of time, take an average, and you have your Resting Heart Rate.  Be aware, if you are at all sick, even just nursing a cold; if you have to urinate; or are suffering from a lack of rest; your heat rate will be elevated.  That’s why it’s a good idea to take it over a few days and figure an average.

Figuring Your True Maximum Heart Rate
Ok, this gets a bit trickier because you actually have to get out there and push your heart to its upper limits.  The best and most accurate way to determine this is to observe it in a lab under controlled conditions with an exercise physiologist or cardiologist.  If you can’t do that, there are several ways to determine your maximum heart rate in the field. My favorite method and the one I always come back to for its ease, availability and accuracy is The Biggest Number Test. Sally Edwards author of “The Heart Rate Monitor Book” and a pioneer in the field of heart rate based training describes it this way.

“.. This is one of those that is simply obvious. Given that you’ve worn your heart rate monitor a while, especially during hard workouts, your Max HR is the biggest number you have ever seen on your heart rate monitor (the biggest reasonable number, not 300 bpm, say–you don’t want to take one that’s influenced by interference).”

I love this method because it is right in front of your face as you do your regular workouts.  For other good methods I suggest reading; How to Determine Your Maximum Heart Rate by Sally Edwards.


Mapping Your Zones

Now that you have your Max and Resting Heart Rates, it’s time to put them to work for you in your regular workout routine.

Click here open a window with a table listing the Spinning Training Zones broken down by heart rate.  This chart takes into account both Maximum and Resting heart rate by using Heart Rate Reserve to determine each zone.  You can use this table with the age based formula for Max Heart Rate, but you must know your Resting (or Waking) Heart Rate to use it accurately.

After you have found the line that matches your heart rate on the chart you can print and fill out this Training Zone Card and keep it with you for reference when training.  I have a copy of this exact card with my heart rate zones mapped out in every spinning class teach or take.

Finally, for a more detailed description of the Spinning Energy Zones*; click here.  I strongly recommend becoming familiar with the detailed benefits of each zone.  It will aid you in understanding what your spinning or fitness instructor is shooting for when they ask you to train at any given level.  In addition, understanding these zones and how they benefit you can help you to set your own fitness goals.

Happy Training!

*Detailed descriptions provided by Jennifer Ward, Master Spinning Instructor, Madd Dog Athletics.

JCC Spinning Tuesday 10/2 @ 6:15

JCC North Shore

 

 

 

Hey everyone!  Great class yesterday!

 

Here is our Class detail:
Spin: 56 minutes
Style: Strength and Endurance Including

  • 7:30 Minute Warmup
  • Easy Jumps (2:30)
  • 30/30 Stair Step Climb – Strength Zone – fast feet on the flat (3:30)
  • 45/15 High Intensity Climbing Intervals – Race Day Zone – high cadence in relief (4:00)
  • Sustained Climb – Strength Zone (California Switchbacks) (5:30)
  • 20/40 Pace Line – Race Day Zone – 20 sec hard 90% pull w/focus on recovery in 40 sec relief (7:00)
  • Sustained Building Climb – Strength Zone – In the saddle & standing w/quick table tops (6:45)
  • Endurance Zone Work throughout 3 min in-between strength zone work.

Distance: 22 miles
Calories: 942 (based on my HR Monitor)

See you all next week!

Yoga Sakti SpinTRX Sunday 9/16 @ 10:00am

SpinTRX and Yoga Sakti

Hey everyone!  Great class yesterday!  It was nice to have so many people come out on such a beautiful Sunday morning.

Here is our Class detail:
Spin: 50 minutes
Style: Strength and Endurance Including

  • 11 Minute Warmup
  • 30/30 Easy Rollers Warm Up Climb starting with resistance loading (4:00)
  • 30/30 Running W/Resistance (4:00)
  • 30/30 Climbing Intervals with high cadence in releife :30 run the flat (3:30)
  • 30/30 Pace Line – Combo: seated/up in 2/up in 3 (6:30)
  • Sustained Climb (Georgia Switchbacks) (6:00)
  • Endurance Zone Work throughout 3 – 4 min in-between strength zone work.

Distance: 19 miles
Calories: 814 (based on my HR Monitor)

TRX: 35 minutes
Style: Upper Body & Core Including

  • Dips
  • Pull Up/Lat Pull
  • Regular and Reverse Curls
  • Over Hand Triceps Press
  • High Gymnast Planks
  • Suffer Roll-outs
  • TRX Crunches
  • TRX Pike
  • Leg Lifts
  • Tuck Ups

Calories Burned 487 (based on my HR Monitor)
Total Calories for the 90 Min Workout: 1301 (based on my HR Monitor)


Calorie note:  Young adults, ages 19 to 30 years, require more calories to be healthy than later in life. Males, approximately 70 inches tall and 154 lbs., need almost 3,100 calories daily. Females of an average height and weight (64 inches tall and 126 lbs.) still need as much energy as when they were adolescents–just over 2,400 calories daily. Energy, or calorie, needs vary greatly in adulthood and depend upon weight, activity level, basal metabolic rate and other factors. To be healthy, after age 30, most males require 2,200 to 3,000 calories, and women, 1,600 to 2,400.

Yoga Sakti SpinTRX Wed. 9/12 @ 6:15pm

SpinTRX and Yoga Sakti

Thanks everyone who came out for our SpinTRX class.  With yesterday being such a beautiful late summer day, it was inspiring to see so many of you in class!

Class detail:
Spin: 50 minutes
Style: Strength and Endurance Including

  • Warm Up Climb starting with resistance loading
  • 30/30 Running W/Resistance
  • Sustained Climb (Georgia Switchbacks)
  • 30/30 Pace Line – Combo: seated/up in 2/up in 3
  • Stair Step Climb 1:00 Combo Climb / :30 run the flat

Distance: 21 miles
Calories: 924 (based on my HR Monitor)

TRX: 35 minutes
Style: Upper Body & Core Including

  • Dips
  • Pull Up/Lat Pull
  • Regular and Reverse Curls
  • Over Hand Triceps Press
  • High Gymnast Planks
  • Suffer Roll-outs
  • TRX Crunches
  • TRX Pike
  • Leg Lifts
  • Tuck Ups

Calories Burned 425 (based on my HR Monitor)
Total Calories for the 90 Min Workout: 1350 (based on my HR Monitor)


Calorie note:  Young adults, ages 19 to 30 years, require more calories to be healthy than later in life. Males, approximately 70 inches tall and 154 lbs., need almost 3,100 calories daily. Females of an average height and weight (64 inches tall and 126 lbs.) still need as much energy as when they were adolescents–just over 2,400 calories daily. Energy, or calorie, needs vary greatly in adulthood and depend upon weight, activity level, basal metabolic rate and other factors. To be healthy, after age 30, most males require 2,200 to 3,000 calories, and women, 1,600 to 2,400.

Just because they make it look easy – doesn’t mean it is….

So many of us think these young superstars just woke up one day with a silver throttle in their hand and then just waltzed over to the podium for their trophy. We think…. Just look at all that natural talent! The truth is; you can have all the natural talent in the world – but you don’t take that trophy home unless you WORK for it.

Don’t think for one minute, you are any different. If you want to loose those 30 pounds, ride that century, finish that 5k, or climb those podium steps you’re going to have to dig in deep and sweat a little – maybe even sweat a lot….

Yoga Sakti SpinTRX Saturday @ 9:00am

SpinTRX and Yoga Sakti

 
 

Thanks everybody who came out for our 90 minute SpinTRX class today. It was so great to be able to teach to a full class!
 
 
 
 
Stats on our class class today
Spin – 50 minutes
Style – Strength and Endurance
Distance – 22 miles (off my bike computer)
Kcals Burned – 750 (off my heart rate monitor)

TRX – 35 minutes
Style – Upper Body and Core
Kcals Burned – 320 (off my heart rate monitor)

Notes:
Spinning was really fantastic. As I looked around the room it was amazing to see everyone spinning at 90+ RPM when we were working the flats, and also right in that 60 – 80 RPM power zone when we were climbing in the saddle. Great job everybody! Way to work your form and get the most out of your bike and your work out.

And then as always it was really great to watch everyone sync so smoothly from Spinning to the TRX portion of the class. I’m always impressed at how you all are able to move from such a hard cardio work-out to the muscle strength and endurance that TRX requires. Once again, great job!

See you all next week and have a great 4th of the July holiday! Drew :-)

Why use a heart rate monitor? Part II

Caution: Prior to engaging in any vigorous physical activity or exercise test, consult your physician for clearance. If you have any questions or concerns about your exercise regimen, including your target heart rate, consult your doctor.

Using your Heart Rate MonitorSpinning Heart Rate Energy Training Zones

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


Ok, now that you have decided to use a heart rate monitor, and you can see how fast your heart is beating with every peddle stroke, flutter kick and fartlek, let’s figure out some practical applications for this useful bit of information.

Above is the Spinning Energy Zone chart complete with names for each zone level, percentages of maximum heart rate for each intensity level and some of the benefits for each training zone.  When we workout within these training zones we can target specific fitness goals, and ensure that we are not training too hard or not hard enough.  All pretty neat – but completely meaningless unless you know how you and your heart rate fit into each zones.

First, we need to figure out your maximum heart rate.  An easy way to do this is to work with the standard theoretical maximum heart rate formula based on your age.

Men:                  220 – Age = Max Heart Rate

Women:           225 – Age = Max Heart Rate

In my case as a 48 year old man, my theoretical max would be 172 beats per minute.

 220 -48 = 172

If we break that down into percentages and apply them to the training zones shown above we get the following heart rate ranges:

Recovery Zone               (50% – 65%)    =           88 – 114 bpm

Endurance Zone            (65% – 75%)     =          114 – 129 bpm

Strength Zone                 (75% – 85%)     =          129 – 146 bpm

Interval Zone                  (65% – 92%)     =          114 – 158 bpm

Race Day Zone                (80% – 92%)     =          138 – 158 bpm

Practically speaking, after mapping this out, I would now know that when the spinning instructor says “let’s take it up to 75% during this interval” I should try to keep my heart rate right around 129 beats per minute.

If you are interested in the simplest and easiest way to put your heart rate monitor to use – then the above calculations are the way to go.

Let’s take this to the next level and get more accurate
First of all, the formulas above are only general guidelines.  So your actual max heart rate may be higher or lower then what you get using 220 or 225 minus your age formula.

If we continue using me as the example, my actual max is about 195, not 172.  (I know this because I have seen it in the lab and in the field.) If I were to simply use the general 220 minus my age formula, I would be way under estimating my levels of exertion when training.   In addition, my resting heart rate, an important fitness level indicator is not taken into account when using the simple age based formula.

A final note on Max Heart Rate – your maximum heart rate does not change with increased fitness.  Sure it goes down a little each year as you get older – but no amount of training and becoming more physically fit is going to increase your maximum heart rate.  It is what it is and we can certainly base some intensity percentages on that number but the picture is not quite complete yet.


Resting Heart Rate

The typical adult has a resting heart rate of about 72 beats per minute (bpm) whereas highly trained runners may have readings of 40 bpm or lower.  Unlike your max heart rate, your resting heart rate does change as you increase your fitness level.  It goes down.   Also important when considering resting heart rate is that the percentages above figure in a heart rate range that starts at zero and we all know as long as we are alive, our heart rate is never zero.  And that’s where heart rate reserve comes into play.


Heart Rate Reserve

Heart Rate Reserve is a more accurate way to figure training ranges incorporating our resting hear rate and our maximum heart rate.  A simple way to think about it is that it adjusts the scale to where zero should be.  Below is a simple formula for this.

Calculating Heart Rate Reserve (The Karvonan Formula)

Max Heart Rate – Resting Heart Rate = Heat Rate Reserve

In my case:  a MHR of 195 – a RHR of 50 = a HHR of 145

As you can see from the formula, 145 represents what I like to think of as the active range in which my heart operates.  By taking into account that my resting heart rate is 50 we can now adjust any target zone percentages for my max heart rate and resting heart rate.  Let’s use the bottom of the strength zone; 75% as an example. Here is how we do it:

Heart Rate Reserve X Training Zone % + Resting Heart Rate = Target Heart Rate.

In my case: a HHR of 145 X .75 + a RHR of 50 = a THR of 159 bbm

If you look at the table above which used the straight age based formula and did not take into account my resting heart rate; 75% is 129.  That’s 30 bbm less than when we figure in my observed max heart rate and account for my fitness level by incorporating my resting heart rate.


Putting it all together

Let’s compare our two methods continuing to use me as our example.

                                                                                         Age Based                  Observed W/HHR

Recovery Zone             (50% – 65%)    =           88 – 114 bpm               123 – 144 bpm

Endurance Zone           (65% – 75%)     =          114 – 129 bpm              144 – 159 bpm

Strength Zone               (75% – 85%)     =          129 – 146 bpm              159 – 173 bpm

Interval Zone                (65% – 92%)     =          114 – 158 bpm              144 – 183 bpm

Race Day Zone              (80% – 92%)     =          138 – 158 bpm              166 – 183 bpm

Notice how much higher the Target Zones are in the column on the right using my observed Max and Resting Heart Rates and utilizing the formula for Heart Rate Reserve.  Given my unique inherited physiology and fitness level, these are much more realistic target heart Rates for me to work with when training.  This is also evident in the field.  When training within the age based zones, I can barley keep my heart rate low enough to mach my targets.  And when I do keep my heart rate down to stay within the zones, I am hardly challenged and come away feeling as though I have not had much of a work out.


Getting Started

Ok, so where should you the new heart rate monitor user start?  A good place for anyone to begin is with the simple Age Based formula. It will give you a safe starting place and once you have mapped out your Target Heart Rates you begin training you will have a good bench mark with which to base any adjustments you make to your Target Heart Rates.

Click here to open a new window containing a table listing multiple Age Based Target Zones.  Calculate your max heart rate using 220 or 225 minus your age and then locate the line that best matches your MHR.  Or go ahead and do the math and figure your zones to the exact beat.

Click here to open a new window containing a template for a Target Zone Workout Card. The top table shows the card with the values I use and is the actual card that I have with me whenever I train.  Having this quick and easy reference card makes it simple for me to keep track of where my heart rate is through out my training and tailor my workout intensity to whatever my goals are for that day.  The lower table is on this page is blank.  You can print it out and fill in the values for your zones.


Getting More Accurate by using you real Resting and Max Heart Rates

Figuring your Resting Heart Rate
First off, Resting Heart Rate is not the rate at which you heart beats during restful times throughout the day.  Resting Heart Rate is the rate at which your heart beats when you first wake up in the morning.  I think a more accurate way to describe it is not as your resting heart rate, but as your “waking heart rate”.  An easy way to determine your “waking heart rate” is to take your pulse when you first wake up in the morning, BEFORE you sit up and get out of bed.  Check it on three different mornings over a week or so of time, take an average, and you have your Resting Heart Rate.  Be aware, if you are at all sick, even just nursing a cold; if you have to urinate; or are suffering from a lack of rest; your heat rate will be elevated.  That’s why it’s a good idea to take it over a few days and figure an average.

Figuring Your True Maximum Heart Rate
Ok, this gets a bit trickier because you actually have to get out there and push your heart to its upper limits.  The best and most accurate way to determine this is to observe it in a lab under controlled conditions with an exercise physiologist or cardiologist.  If you can’t do that, there are several ways to determine your maximum heart rate in the field. My favorite method and the one I always come back to for its ease, availability and accuracy is The Biggest Number Test. Sally Edwards author of “The Heart Rate Monitor Book” and a pioneer in the field of heart rate based training describes it this way.

“.. This is one of those that is simply obvious. Given that you’ve worn your heart rate monitor a while, especially during hard workouts, your Max HR is the biggest number you have ever seen on your heart rate monitor (the biggest reasonable number, not 300 bpm, say–you don’t want to take one that’s influenced by interference).”

I love this method because it is right in front of your face as you do your regular workouts.  For other good methods I suggest reading; How to Determine Your Maximum Heart Rate by Sally Edwards.


Mapping Your Zones

Now that you have your Max and Resting Heart Rates, it’s time to put them to work for you in your regular workout routine.

Click here open a window with a table listing the Spinning Training Zones broken down by heart rate.  This chart takes into account both Maximum and Resting heart rate by using Heart Rate Reserve to determine each zone.  You can use this table with the age based formula for Max Heart Rate, but you must know your Resting (or Waking) Heart Rate to use it accurately.

After you have found the line that matches your heart rate on the chart you can print and fill out this Training Zone Card and keep it with you for reference when training.  I have a copy of this exact card with my heart rate zones mapped out in every spinning class teach or take.

Finally, for a more detailed description of the Spinning Energy Zones*; click here.  I strongly recommend becoming familiar with the detailed benefits of each zone.  It will aid you in understanding what your spinning or fitness instructor is shooting for when they ask you to train at any given level.  In addition, understanding these zones and how they benefit you can help you to set your own fitness goals.

Happy Training!

*Detailed descriptions provided by Jennifer Ward, Master Spinning Instructor, Madd Dog Athletics.

Why use a heart rate monitor? Part I

Heart Rate Monitors
Why use a heart rate monitor? Part I
Ok, very simply put…. measuring your heart rate is the most accurate way to determine what level of intensity your body is working at while exercising.  And the only way to accurately gauge your heart rate is to use a heart rate monitor.  Now, it is true, you could stop and check your pulse throughout your workout.  But seriously, by the time you find an artery and get finished counting – say for 15 seconds – and then multiply by 4 to get your beats per minute, you have already changed the level of intensity and lost any hope of getting an accurate gauge regarding your level of physical exertion.

Also, the neat thing about a heart rate monitor is that it gives you a continuous and accurate reading at any given moment during your workout.  If you use a heart rate monitor with a chest strap sending unit you will get an even more accurate reading because the unit is actually counting your heart beats, not your pulse.  As a spinning instructor, I like this method best because then I can attach the display unit (the wrist watch part of the monitor) to my handle bars and watch it all the time.  That way I can be sure that every second of my training is performed within or at the exact intensity level or energy zone planned for the workout.

 

Who should use a heart rate monitor?
Well, I would like to say everyone, but the real answer to this question is a bit more complicated.  Just about everyone can benefit from using a heart rate monitor during exercise, but really anyone can get a good workout without one.

People have been training for centuries without the use of heart rate monitors. In fact, I’m going to go out on a limb here and say that the first Olympians probably were aware of how hard they were working (or their level of perceived exertion), but never related that to a count of their heart beats per minute and I’m pretty sure they never broke their exertion levels out into energy training zones. So go ahead… workout without a heart rate monitor.  You probably have a pretty good sense of your perceived exertion….. You know when you’re working hard and when you’re taking it easy.  And let’s face it, any kind of exercise – no matter how unstructured – is better than sitting on the couch and eating doughnuts.

Ok, so who should be using a hart rate monitor?  I’m going to say, since you’re reading this – probably you.  Anyone who is interested in getting the most out of their workout time should be spending that valuable time monitoring their hart rate. Time is precious! So why waste any of it with an unfocused effort.  You simply can’t get the most out of your workout without tracking your heart rate.  A heart rate monitor is a small expense, with a gigantic payoff that will give you the tools to take your fitness to a higher level – period.

The Energy Training Zones
In spinning we use 5 zones to gauge energy exertion during a workout. The table below breaks out the zones with percentages of maximum heart rate along with the physiological benefits of each.  A well designed spinning program will focus on one or a combination of these defined zones as a fitness objective for the class.

Spinning Heart Rate Energy Training Zones

The energy zone chart above represents the core elements of a well designed training program.

In my next entry (part II of “Why Use a Heart Rate Monitor”), we’ll discuss how these zones are incorporated into a typical spinning class, how to determine your heart rates and how to determine your individual energy zones.

If you would like to purchase a hart rate monitor you can go to the links below and get one on line or you can check with your local bike shop or outdoor outfitter to get one locally.

spinning.com

ems.com

rei.com

dickssportinggoods.com

power_systems.com

Polar FT1 Heart Monitor Turquoise - Heart Rate Monitors

Polar FT1 Heart Monitor Turquoise – Heart Rate Monitors

Improve your fitness while you safely exercise in your target heart rate zone for maximum results – all while aided with the Polar FT1 Heart Rate Monitor. Make exercising motivating and fun with this handy HRM.






My Current Schedule

If you are interested in taking one of my classes at the facilities I work at, please check out my schedule listed below. If you can’t make it to one of my classes, check out the group x class schedule links and see if there is a class that fits your needs. All the instructors are outstanding and I highly recommend them.

 

Cape Ann YMCA
Monday
7:00am – 8:15am      Spin/TRX combo
3:30pm – 4:30pm     Teen TRX

Tuesday
7:00am – 8:00am       TRX
8:00am – 9:00am       Spinning
9:00an – 10:00am       TRX

Call the Cape Ann YMCA for class sign-up: 978-283-0470
For more classes, check out the Cape Ann YMCA Group X Schedule

 

JCC Marblehead
Tuesday
6:15pm – 7:15pm         Spinning

Thursday
5:40am – 6:40am          Spinning

Call the JCC of Marblehead for class sign-up: 781-599-0323
For more classes, check out the JCC Marblehead Group X Schedule

Why TRX®?

The Navy SEALs….
The US Navy SEALs are arguably the most elite, highly trained and toughest fighting force in the world.  TRX® was invented by Navy SEAL Randy Hetrick and his SEAL teammates as a way to stay in peak physical condition when missions did not allow for traditional fitness equipment and their covert nature offered very limited training space.

Using only parachute webbing hand-stitched together with rubber boat repair tools, Hetrick and his SEAL teammates rapidly developed an entirely new and original approach to functional exercise – Suspension Training®

 

All Levels, All Goals, Almost Anywhere….
Because TRX® is based on bodyweight and movement, just about everybody can benefit from the unique and almost endless array of exercises.  By simply changing the body position one can instantly modify resistance and achieve a safe and effective workout for all fitness levels.  In addition, TRX® can go almost anywhere.  It can be anchored to a door in your apartment, a tree in the park, or a fence in your yard.  Just about anywhere you might want to work out, TRX® can go with you.

All Core All the Time….. 
Whether you are performing a TRX® chest press, row, lunge, push-up or curl, with TRX® your entire core is engaged to help stabilize and balance the body in a truly functional way.  Even when not working on exercises focused on the abdominals, the core is engaged, and integrating into every TRX® movement.

Time Wise….
TRX® is super time efficient.  With the TRX® Body Blast or Circuit training program, you can manage a great full body workout in as little as 40 minutes.  In addition, because TRX® training can be organized into body specific unites with periods of intense activity paired with recovery, a complete cardio workout can be achieved at the same time.

*** Historical information, photos and technical training content provided by TRX® Group Suspension Training® Course.  All rights reserved.***