Some of you might be very familiar with heart rate training and others of you might have no idea what the two things have to do with each other except that the heart rate goes up when you are training! This is the 1st of a 2 part series in effort to help you learn the benefits of heart rate training, who should use it and how you use it.
Why use Heart rate Training?
By monitoring your heart rate during exercise, you can scientifically measure with accuracy how much energy and effort your body is utilizing during your workout. Knowing the benefits that come from working at different levels of effort can help you fine tune your workout planning and fine tune your results! You begin training with purpose where every minute of every workout moves you closer to your goals!
Heart Rate Training for New Exercisers
While understanding our body and training zones are beneficial for everyone, for beginners, there is 1 main reason using heart rate training is incredibly beneficial. Because beginners need to build an aerobic base (or a strong heart foundation) at the start of their new exercise program, it’s good to know how hard they need to work. You don’t want to work too hard or too easy. Beginners should train aerobically at 80% of their maximum or below for at least the first month, but probably 2 or even 3 months (dependent upon their exercise history.)
Other uses and benefits of Heart Rate Monitoring
Your resting heart rate also indicates something about your general fitness level. Your resting heart rate is simply your heart rate when you are at rest or not exerting much energy! A low resting heart rate indicates a highly efficient cardiovascular system and a heart with a large stroke volume (amount of blood pumped per beat). You can track your fitness progress by watching for reductions in your resting heart rate. Elite endurance athletes have been known to display resting heart rates as low as 28 bpm!
Another benefit of using Heart rate training is learning your Working Recovery Heart Rate (WRHR). Your WRHR is the number of beats that your heart rate drops in a certain amount of time after finishing a portion of an exercise program or completing a workout. If you keep track of how long it takes to drop back to your recovery heart rate, as you train, you will see your heart gets stronger and stronger and it takes less time to recover!
Step 1: Find your RHR (resting heart rate)
To find your RHR, take your heart rate first thing in the morning for five consecutive days before getting out of bed. Don’t move, just lay still. After 5 days, calculate the average (add them all together and divide by 5).
In the next blog post, we’ll learn how to find our personalized “training zones” and learn what benefits you get from working in those zones.
To get all of the information in this blog series, plus a printable cheat sheet to take with you to the gym, download our “Heart Rate Training” guide for free right here: