How can you best adapt your workout to your current shape and avoid losing motivation because it is too hard? Or vice versa make sure you push yourself enough to actually gain a better level of fitness over time?
Using heart-rate zones when you work out will allow you to train at different intensities based on percentages of your maximum heart-rate. The advantages of this training method are numerous, which is why our entire concept at IQNITER is based on this philosophy.
Training with guidance from your heart-rate zones prevents you from training too hard on your easy/recovery days, reducing the risk of fatigue and overtraining; it also helps you to recover. By recovering properly during your easy days your body will be fresher for your next hard session. Equally, you will be able to accurately track your effort in interval sessions, when you want to be working at a higher intensity.
Once you know what your maximum heart-rate is, you can start your zone-based training with the following in mind:
Zone 1-4: <60% of HR Max
These zones are used for warming up before the actual training and for cooling down after training. If you are completely untrained, the training zone is suitable for accustoming your body’s joints, tendons and muscles to your new sport.
For how long? You can work in this zone hours and hours
Here’s how it feels: Comfortable pace that you can keep for several hours without getting tired. You can have a conversation without any problems while training in this heart rate zone.
Zone 5: 60-69% of HR Max
A pace that requires some pushing and effort to maintain, with a small training effect.
For how long? You can work in this zone for 1–2 hours
How does it feel? You can keep going with your mouth closed and almost hold a normal conversation.
Zone 6: 70-75% of HR Max
Working out in this zone has a good fitness maintenance effect. The pace will be experienced as somewhere between easy and nicely challenging.
For how long? This zone is sustainable for 60-90 minutes.
Here’s how it feels: You can clearly feel your breathing, but if you are in good shape, you can find a good rhythm that you can keep for a long time. You can talk along the way, but must draw good air in between the sentences.
Zone 7: 76-81% of HR Max
In this zone, you mostly train your endurance. You increase the number of blood vessels around the muscles, so the oxygen supply is better and improves the muscle cells’ ability to use fat as fuel.
For how long? This zone is sustainable for 30-60 minutes.
Here’s how it feels: Your muscles might begin to burn a little depending on your level of fitness and activity choice. You need to open your mouth to get enough oxygen.
Zone 8: 82-87% of HR Max
The zone is used to increase your speed and fitness. If you are well trained, you will be in this zone when you line up for an exercise run or other type of competition.
In this zone you train your heart to a greater extent than in the previous zones, and the muscles develop more enzymes for the combustion process, so that it can proceed faster.
For how long? Typically, you train somewhere between 15 and 35 minutes in this zone.
Here’s how it feels: Requires focus to maintain and you might experience muscle burn. You can’t talk while you’re at it – just utter 2-3 words. Good level for Cooper Tests, 5k run PR’s etc.
Zone 9: 87-92% of HR Max
Very hard intensity
You are reaching the level of your maximum possible effort, and the effects from this training zone are high.
For how long? You can work in this zone 2-9 minutes in one stretch. Good for short intervals around 1-minute.
Here’s how it feels: Hard to speak, breathing labored after a few seconds, requires focus.
Zone 10: 96-100% of HR Max
All-out sprint zone!
In this zone, you are giving it all you’ve got – and a little more. If you are well-trained, this brutal zone can improve your fitness. You push the heart close to the maximum so that it gets bigger and stronger, your oxygen uptake increases and you can maintain a higher maximum speed.
For how long? It is your absolute maximum possible effort, which you can only sustain for 20-45 seconds.
Here’s how it feels: You’re being pushed to the limit. You gasp for breath and can’t talk. You can only train for a few minutes in this zone.