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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.


Join The Conversation
lydialee_home lydialee_home 8 years
My resting heart rate is about 50. Using the new formula - I am at 80% whenever I run, and can get up to 90% when I sprint With the old formula - I am at 85% whenever I run, and hit to 93% when I sprint. I think taking the resting heart rate into the formula makes a lot more sense. I used to wonder if I was pushing myself too much when I use the old formula. As for the weight - I am 5'4" 113 lb now. I like my weight now. Much much better than last year when I was over-train and down to 105lb.
Spectra Spectra 8 years
My resting heart rate is something like 45, so does this equation now take that into effect? It makes my range number quite a bit smaller than just the standard 220-age. Oh, and Anon...I'm with runningesq about your weight...122 isn't that high, especially if you're muscular.
ella1978 ella1978 8 years
I beleive that the healthy range of resting heart rate is like 60-78 bpm. So 66 is just fine.
runningesq runningesq 8 years
Anon, I would not qualify your weight by saying it seems liek a lot - I think it sounds like a perfect weight for your height ! Hell, I'm 5'1, 128, and I wear a size 2/ 4.
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