Ask The Trainer:"Why does heart rate matter during cardio?"
Apr 16, 2019
Christian Agudelo, ACSM - CPT
In order to understand your heart rate during cardio you must first find the target heart rate. Target Heart Rate is defined as the minimum amount of heart beats needed to achieve a level of exertion in a certain amount of time during cardiovascular exercise. These numbers are specific to each individual and are usually based on age, gender or physical fitness. The target heart rate is important because it gives a specific zone to stay within during cardiovascular training. These numbers help keep you from over exertion and they maintain a proper balance during endurance training. In order to know what your target heart rate is you must have a health professional test you. Because you want to stay within 50 to 85 percent of your maximum heart rate have your trainer test your heart rate in order to get the specific numbers. These numbers are important because they are used in building a cardio prescription based on the client’s needs. Whether you are trying to burn fat, improve endurance or just burn calories during your session, staying within the target heart rate will almost guarantee maximum effort within a specific time in order to avoid overtraining and improve cardio efficiency. Nobody wants to sit on a machine for an hour when you can achieve your goal in half the time.
Earvin Bahena, NSCA - CSCS
Monitoring your heart rate during cardio is essential for trying to meet your fitness goals. A client trying to lose weight vs a client running a marathon will have different heart rate zones in which they are working at. This all begins with getting a standard of reference to go by, this is your resting heart rate. Depending on a clients resting heart rate, their heart rate zone is found using the Karvonen Formula. These heart rate zones will give you a percentage of your maximal heart rate to work with and exact numbers to follow. By following your heart rate zone and tracking your heart rate you ensure you are exerting yourself at a level intense enough to reach the maximum benefit of your cardio.
Spencer O'Neil, NASM- CPT
Monitoring your heart rate is important to insure you are appropriately challenging yourself during exercise. Endurance athletes for example will train to keep their heart rate relatively elevated for longer periods of times compared to non-endurance clients so its important to understand the different heart rate zones. We use the Karvonen formula to figure out the zones you should be training in during activity. Using the Karvonen formula zones is the best way to guarantee you’re getting the most out of your workout. It’s important to at least know your resting heart rate, as well as your maximum heart rate zone. The zones in between with fluctuate with activity but it’s important to know your maximum to ensure you don’t exceed your body’s threshold.
Finding your maximum heart rate (MHR) helps you establish your appropriate target heart rate range. You can then discover what intensity, and duration is best to train in based on your MHR and goals.There are three different zones your body can be trained in.The first zone is aerobic based training, 64-76% of your maximal heart rate. Most individuals will spend a majority of their time in this zone because it can be sustained the longest. This is because the intensity prevents your body from reaching that state of lactic acid buildup. Zone 2 is at a MHR rate percentage of 77-93% and zone 3 is greater than 94% of maximal heart rate, in these ranges you will encounter a lactic acid buildup. These zones place your body in an anaerobic state meaning your body is working without utilizing oxygen so that is why these bouts of training will be very short lasted and needs ample time of recovery at lower intensities. It is important to be efficient in the aerobic ranges before progressing to greater intensities because your heart can tolerate this and you will find greater improvements in cardiovascular training.