Pulse zones

How to find out how effective your workouts are? For example, when you run, you burn fat, develop endurance, or speed, or maybe strength? Is your physical activity intense enough, insufficient or, on the contrary, too intense?

The answer is simple - it is determined by the pulse zones or heart ratein which to train. Each physical activity is associated with a specific heart rate zone. Over the last decade, a great deal of research in the field of physical activity and sports has been devoted to training in heart rate zones, and the good news is that various heart rate monitors are also widely available today.

 

What is HR and MHR

HR (heart rate) - heart rate is the number of heartbeats / beats per minute. It is a physiological indicator of heart rate that is widely used in sports practice. Heart rate (HR) is thought to be the same as heart rate, but this is not always true *. However, in a healthy adult at rest, the heart rate is equal to the pulse rate.

Like many indicators in our body, the pulse is a fairly individual matter and for a variety of reasons, it can vary greatly. For example, even a fast step will increase the heart rate to 130 beats / min, while for an experienced athlete it will not exceed 100 beats / min. Therefore, it has recently been accepted to calculate pulse zones based not on the pulse but on the percentage of MHR.

MHR (maximum heart rate) - The maximum heart rate is the highest number of heartbeats / beats per minute that your heart can perform with maximum load, reaching the limits of the body's capacity at maximum intense physical activity.

The general method for calculating MHR is 220 minus your age. The most modern method is 214 - (0.8 x age) for men and 209 - (0.9 x age) for women. Absolutely accurate MHR can only be determined by a medical examination, using a bicycle ergometer, on a treadmill, or using special exercises that require maximum physical effort. This test should ONLY be performed under the supervision of a sports physician.

 

What should be the "work pulse"?

By knowing your maximum heart rate, you can calculate your heart rate zones and design each workout so that your heart rate is within a certain range. Many workout plans, especially for beginners, are increasingly based on heart rate zones. Intensity zones are calculated individually based on the characteristics of the organism.

At rest, the heart rate of a healthy person is considered to be in the range of 60 to 80 beats / min. However, it is worth noting that for people who do intense sports, this figure is below 60 beats / min. For professional marathon runners, the heart rate at rest is below 40 beats per minute. By the way, for this reason, doctors who have no experience working with highly qualified athletes can make ambiguous decisions.

 

Key Concepts You Should Know When Playing Sports

AnT (anaerobic threshold) - or Anaerobic threshold is the level of intensity at which the formation of lactate (salts of lactic acid) in skeletal muscle exceeds its breakdown, so that lactate gradually begins to accumulate. The anaerobic threshold value for highly qualified athletes is approximately equal to 90% of VO2 max.

VO2 max  (maximum oxygen consumption) - Maximum oxygen consumption is the amount of oxygen (in milliliters) per kilogram of body weight absorbed by the human body in 1 minute. It is believed that VO2 max is a factor that affects and limits the performance of athletes in cyclical sports.

Threshold for anaerobic metabolism  - The threshold for anaerobic metabolism is the level of exercise at which the concentration of lactate in the blood begins to rise rapidly as the rate of its formation becomes higher than the rate of utilization.

 

Pulse zones

Between the “resting heart rate” and MHR values, experts determine five heart rate zones - the difference between the next and previous heart rate zone is 10% of the maximum heart rate. Training in each of the zones has its benefits. These areas do not have a single scientific name, but each has clear characteristics, and in sports gadgets they are often marked with different colors to make it easier for non-professional athletes to navigate.

Very low intensity area

50-60% from MHR. Heart rate is approximately 115 - 120 beats / min. Overall physical endurance improves in this area. Training in this area improves general physical fitness, facilitates recovery and prepares for training in higher heart rate zones. This area is best suited for people with a low level of fitness and those who are just starting to play sports.

Low intensity or fitness area

60-70% from MHR. Heart rate is approximately 120-135 beats / min. Training in this area will help increase your overall endurance. Studies show that when training in this area, the body begins to use fat as an energy source. About 85% fats, 10% carbohydrates and 5% proteins are used for energy production. The quality of muscle fibers and capillary density are improved. The total number of calories burned has increased compared to the previous zone. Cardiovascular and respiratory systems are trained.

Aerobic zone

70-80% from MHR. Heart rate is approximately 135 to 155 beats per minute. Optimal area for endurance training. The aerobic capacity of our body is improved - the development of a network of small capillaries in the muscles is stimulated, which allows for a more efficient supply of oxygen. The number and size of blood vessels increase, the volume of the lungs increases, the functional state of the respiratory system improves, the size and strength of the heart increases. As a result, the resting heart rate gradually decreases. Training in this area increases the efficiency of heart and skeletal muscle circulation. Exercising in this area of the heart begins to increase the presence of lactic acid in the blood.

Anaerobic zone

80-90% from MHR. Heart rate is approximately 155 to 175 beats / min. Training in this area develops maximum performance and improves endurance of speed. When the pulse reaches 90% MHR, the oxidative reactions begin to lack oxygen, so the cells enter an anaerobic state. Fat is practically not burned in this area, and carbohydrates are used for energy.

A by-product of anaerobic metabolism is lactic acid, which causes a rapid feeling of muscle fatigue, so training in the anaerobic zone will not be long. It is a zone of short-term, high-intensity training that improves maximum oxygen consumption, which means that the "acidification" of muscle fibers (muscle fatigue) will occur later. The athlete becomes significantly more resilient as the threshold of anaerobic metabolism increases.

Maximum opportunity area

90-100% from MHR. Heart rate is approximately 175 to 185 beats per minute. Develops maximum performance. As soon as your heart rate approaches 100% from the MHR, the peak load zone begins. The body works to the fullest extent possible, using all available reserves and buffers, while the respiratory and cardiovascular systems work as efficiently as possible. Lactic acid will build up in your blood and you will not be able to continue for a few minutes. Such trainings are typical for professional athletes before the competition period. It is not only unhealthy but also dangerous for people who want to lose weight or simply improve their health to be exposed to such stress.

 

Tips for Starting Pulse Zone Workouts

  • Beginners should change the first four heartbeat zones during training.
  • Warm-up is designed to prepare the body for more strenuous physical activity - it should take place in the second heartbeat zone.
  • Recovery from high-intensity training should take place entirely in the aerobic zone.
  • Regular heart rate monitoring will help not only to track recovery, but also to avoid overwork.
  • You do not need to train in the anaerobic zone during the initial period. If you want to lose weight, gradually change your fitness and aerobic workouts. If you don't have enough and want to improve your endurance, you can add anaerobic exercise to your schedule.
  • Go to a workout with a specific goal, focusing on your heart rate, trying not to exceed a certain heart rate zone. Thus, you can divide the whole training process into different periods that will meet your goal.

Ps If you don't use fitness gadgets, one of the easiest ways to tell the difference between an aerobic and an anaerobic zone is - If you can talk calmly during a workout / exercise, then you are in an aerobic zone. If you can't talk freely, then be in the anaerobic zone. "

* Pulse is the number of blood pulses that occur in your arteries over a period of time - the fluctuations in the walls of your blood vessels are measured, but your heart rate is the number of contractions / beats in your heart over the same period of time.

Read about nutrition BEFORE and AFTER your workout HERE.

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