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A Guide to using Heart Rate Monitors in Training

Heart rate monitors can be an immense help to tracking fitness and health. Not only do they provide accurate statistical information about the heart rate and pulse rate, but they also help in measuring stamina and endurance levels. They tell at-a-glance you how much extra impact and intensity is required to achieve your exercise goals. You can improve your cardio as well as your strength and conditioning with the help of a heart rate monitor. However, before you pick one up, it is useful to learn the right methods for using a heart rate monitor. In this article, we have outlined a step-by-step guide for using heart rate monitors for cardiovascular and strength training.

Heart Rate Monitors And Cardio

Whether you cycle, swim or run, you can benefit from using a heart rate monitor. According to your workout requirements, you can push the intensity and achieve greater benefits from your workouts. Whether your goal is simply weight loss, or training for a marathon or even a triathlon the data from your heart rate monitor can encourage you to work harder and with greater efficiency. With the help of a heart rate monitor, you can train nearby your heart rate max (HRmax) and achieve greater results regardless of the kind of training you engage in.

How to Enhance Your Cardio With the Heart Rate Monitor?

Step 1
Know Your Maximum Heart Rate – The maximum heart rate value is the highest heart rate value that you can hit when making a vigorous effort to achieve total exhaustion. By pushing your body to work at your HR max, you can avail enhanced results.

Calculate your HR max:

By subtracting your age from 220, you can calculate your maximum heart rate. However, for a more accurate reading, you should visit your doctor and perform a treadmill test.

By performing the 30-minute low-impact workout (running) at your average heart rate, you can measure your  ”anaerobic threshold” heart rate (maximum heart rate).

Step 2
Train According to the Outlined Target Zones – Professionals have classified different zones for various fitness goals.

Endurance – In this zone, you need to work at 60%-70% of your maximum HR. Here, you can burn around 4-8 calories every minute. This training zone is considered ideal for developing endurance and also for achieving weight loss. By exercising in this target zone, you build both cardiovascular as well as muscular efficiency.

Aerobic – This is the zone in which you should perform workouts at 70%-80% of your maximum HR. Here, you can transport more oxygenated blood to your working muscles and avail higher energy. In this training zone, you can burn 8-12 calories per minute and develop general cardiovascular fitness and muscle strength.

Anaerobic – This is an especially taxing and demanding heart rate zone and should not be used by beginners. It is recommended for the more advanced fitness enthusiast and strength athlete. Since in this zone you’ll be working at 80%-90% of your maximum HR, workouts will be short and intense. Most HIIT workouts fall under this target training zone. In this zone, you can expect to burn 12-18 calories per minute.

VO2 Max – If you want to go to work on your body and train at maximum capacity, this zone if for you. Here’s you’ll be working at 90%-100% of your HR max. Build your muscles or train for an athletic event; you must select this zone. This zone is ideal for sprinters, swimmers, power lifters and extreme strength athletes that need to exert immense force in short bursts. This training zone is great for improving the muscle strength and enhancing overall anaerobic fitness.

Once you have calculated your maximum heart rate, you can select the particular zone for achieving your fitness goals.

Step 3
Maintain Recovery – You can only get better results if you provide proper rest to your body in between workouts. The recovery heart rate also helps to indicate your fitness levels. The faster your heart rate slows down after a training session, the fitter you are. To calculate your heart rate recovery, you’ll need your 2-minute heart rate or the heart rate two mins after you’ve stopped exercising and the heart rate value when you immediately stopped exercising. When you have this value, the next step is to subtract your 2 min value from your immediate value.

Heart Rate Monitors and Strength Training

Heart rate monitors not only help in enhancing cardio, but they also help in improving strength training. You can strengthen your heart and maintain your blood pressure with the help of the heart rate monitor. You can measure the recovery rate required during workouts and train accordingly. Along with the heart rate, you can also calculate VO2 max rate (the rate at which the lungs and respiratory organs effectively use oxygen), training zones and calories burned; all important variables in training.

How to Improve Strength Training With the Heart Rate Monitor?

Step 1
Calculate Your Maximum Heart Rate – Take the heart rate monitor and measure your maximum heart rate by following the same steps out lined above.  Subtract your age from 220 to calculate your maximum heart rate

Step 2
Train In The Anaerobic Zone – As mentioned above, zone 3 is the best zone for improving physical strength. In the anaerobic zone or lactate threshold zone, you should focus on short and intense activity. If you’re focusing primarily on strength training, you should look to perform multiple sets for low reps on the pull-up tower (http://aimworkout.com/power-tower-reviews/). After entering the anaerobic zone, you should use the heart rate monitor for optimizing your workouts. When you train in this way, you will enhance your VO2 max and will enhance your physical strength.

Step 3
Maintain Your Recovery Rate – To avoid overtraining, you need to maintain your recovery rate. Again, you need to use the heart rate monitor. Then, you should measure your recovery heart rate. With this, you can know how well you are recovering after performing workouts. If your recovery rate is 120 beats or lesser, you need to reduce your workout level.

 

Tips For Improving Physical Strength While Using Heart Rate Monitors

  1. A heart rate monitor that has an in-built GPS like the Bryton Amis S430H is a great buy, especially if you plan on engaging outdoor cardio (cycling and running).
  2. Make sure that your recovery rate does not exceed the maximum heart rate.
  3. Add aerobic exercises such as swimming, running or spinning (http://aimworkout.com/indoor-cycle-spinning-bike-reviews/) to your strength training schedule. With both types of workouts, you can achieve better results.
  4. Perform tempo workouts that help in increasing the body’s metabolic fitness and endurance.
  5. Make sure that you recover well during your workouts.

Conclusion

By following these steps and tips, you can use the heart rate monitor to enhance your cardiovascular health as well as improve your physical strength. With a heart rate monitor you train in different target heart rate zones and enhance the overall effectiveness of your workouts. Your heart rate, you should select the specific zone for achieving your exercise goals. Besides enhancing your training, with a heart rate monitor, you can also recover more efficiently by tracking your recovery heart rate. Overall, the heart rate monitor is an extremely user-friendly and effective tool that can help you achieve great success with your training while helping you learn about your body’s capacity for strength and endurance.

Author Bio
Andrew is the founder and CEO at Aim Workout. His enthusiasm for fitness and adventure has led him on several mountain biking, deep sea diving, and rock climbing journeys. He is also a trained Boxing instructor and an avid triathlete. As a passionate fitness professional, Andrew attributes most of his strength gains to the power cage.
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Fitness Freak, Blogger, Webdesigner, Husband and Father.

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