Heart rate training is just what it sounds like--training using your heart rate as a guide to improve cardiovascular health. There are 3 training zones:
- zone 1: 65-75% maximum heart rate. This zone is also known as the recovery zone and can be maintained for long periods of time. Exercising in this zone allows the body to improve it's ablilty to get oxygen where it is needed during exercise.
- zone 2: 80-85% maximum heart rate. This zone is more intense because at this level the body cannot supply the amount of oxygen needed with regular breathing. Exercising at this level also burns more calories than at zone 1.
- zone 3: 86-90% maximum heart rate. This is the most intense zone and cannot be maintained for long periods of time (no longer than 60 seconds). This zone should be used along with the zones 1 and 2. Someone using heart rate training will generally start exercising in zone 1 and progress until they are using a combination of the heart rate zones in a workout. Incorporating the next zone into a workout should be based on how quickly the heart recovers after being in each zone.
Heart rate training prevents hitting a plateau. For instance, if a person always exercised using zone 1 the body would never be able to improve it's cardiovascular abilities. Varying a workout to include all three training zones will allow the body to reach peak performance levels.