Training Heart Rate

June 26th, 2007  

Topic: Training Heart Rate

The Karvonen Formula

This is a heart rate reserve formula and itís one of the most effective methods used to calculate training heart rate. The formula factors in your resting heart rate, therefore, youíll need to determine your resting heart rate by doing the following:

* Prior to getting out of bed in the morning, take your pulse on your wrist (radial pulse) or on the side of your neck (carotid pulse).

* Count the number of beats, starting with zero, for one minute. If you donít have a stop watch or a second hand in your bedroom, you can measure the time by watching for the number to change on a digital alarm clock. Find your pulse and start counting when the minute number changes the first time, stop counting when it changes again.

* To help assure accuracy, take your resting heart rate three mornings in a row and average the 3 heart rates together.

Another element in finding your training heart rate zone is determining the intensity level at which you should exercise. As a general rule, you should exercise at an intensity between 50% - 85% of your heart rate reserve. Your individual level of fitness will ultimately determine where you fall within this range. Use the following table as a guide for determining your intensity level:

Beginner or low fitness level . . .50% - 60%
Average fitness level . . . . . . . . 60% - 70%
High fitness level . . . . . . . . . . . 75% - 85%

Now that weíve determined and gathered the information needed, we can pull the information together in the Karvonen Formula:

220 - Age = Maximum Heart Rate
Max Heart Rate - Rest. Heart Rate x Intensity + Rest. Heart Rate = Training Heart Rate

For example, Sally is 33 yrs old, has a resting heart rate of 75 and sheís just beginning her exercise program (her intensity level will be 50% - 60%.) Sallyís training heart rate zone will be 131-142 beats per minute:

Sally's Minimum Training Heart Rate:
220 - 33 (Age) = 187
187 - 75 (Rest. HR) = 112
112 x .50 (Min. Intensity) + 75 (Rest. HR) = 131 Beats/Minute

Sally's Maximum Training Heart Rate:
220 - 33 (Age) = 187
187 - 75 (Rest. HR) = 112
112 x .60 (Max. Intensity) + 75 (Rest. HR) = 142 Beats/Minute

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