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Coach Rich Dafter
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Rich Dafter

Different Training Heart Rates
Are Used for Different Purposes

from the Polar Personal Trainer

Training heart rates are ranges of percentages of your maximum heart rate (HRmax). Different Training Heart Rates Are Used for Different Purposes

Each range is useful for different purposes and is associated with different fitness benefits.

Training heart rate 50-60% HRmax

Great for recovery sessions.

Training heart rate 60-70% HRmax

  • Improves the heart’s ability to pump blood
  • Increases the number of small blood vessels in your muscles
  • Increases the enzymes in your muscles responsible for oxygen metabolism
  • Increases the strength of your muscles, tendons, ligaments and bones
  • Improves your endurance
  • Burns fat as the body’s main energy source at this intensity

Training heart rate 70-80% HRmax

  • Also called the “steady state” because it’s the fastest pace you can maintain for long periods of time (for example, a competitive Ironman athlete will race near this intensity)
  • Accustoms the body with a faster pace
  • Improves endurance
  • Begins to raise the speed you can maintain without building up lactic acid (your anaerobic threshold)
  • The more fit you are, the greater the percentage of fat your body uses as fuel, enabling you to perform longer at this rate while preserving limited stores of glycogen

Training heart rate 80-90% HRmax

  • At this intensity, you begin to “go anaerobic” and build up lactic acid (reach your anaerobic threshold)
  • Your anaerobic threshold increases along with your fitness
  • This intensity can be maintained for about one hour in competition

Training heart rate 90-100% HRmax

  • Is only needed for:

  • Sprint training
  • Racing over short distances (track sprinters, short-distance swimmers)

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