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Go Figure: Another Look at Target Heart Rates

Figuring out your target heart rate zones for your workout is a pretty simple equation: 220 minus age times the percentage you're shooting for. But this formula leads to a number that many sports trainers find low. They use an alternative equation that contains a few more steps.

If you are looking for an alternative method of finding your max heart rate and target zones, learn this alternate equation when you read more.

The alternative method is a little more complicated, but I think you will get the hang of it. You need to know your resting heart rate before you work the equation. Learn how to do that here.

  • 220 - Age = Theoretical Max Heart Rate
  • Theoretical Max Heart Rate - Resting Heart Rate = Range
  • Range x .6 + Resting Heart Rate = 60 percent intensity
  • Range x .7 + Resting Heart Rate = 70 percent intensity
  • Range x .8 + Resting Heart Rate = 80 percent intensity

If you're 30 years old with a resting heart rate of 63, work the equation to find where the fat burning zone begins (60 percent of max heart rate) like this:

  • 220 - 30 = 190 for Theoretical Max Heart Rate
  • 190 - 63 = 127 for Range
  • 127 x .6 + 63 = 139

While number crunching is fun for some, it is important if you are just beginning a cardio regimen to help reign yourself in from overworking. Generally you want to stay in the 70 to 80 percent of max zone for a basic workout. Once you have been working out for a while, you can move away from the numbers and use the rate of perceived exertion chart.


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