Strength & Fitness

What Heart Rate Zone should you be training in?

Zone Training. Best for a pandemic?

What is Zone Training?

Zone training can be put into 5 different “Zones” distinguished by a percentage of your maximum heart rate.
Zone 1 is your normal daily life routine when not at rest, and Zone 5 being all-out max effort.

Zone 1: 50 to 60 percent of maximum heart rate
Zone 2: 60 to 70 percent of maximum heart rate
Zone 3: 70 to 80 percent of maximum heart rate
Zone 4: 80 to 90 percent of maximum heart rate
Zone 5: 90 to 100 percent of maximum heart rate

Your Heart Rate max is 220 minus your age. This would be the 100%

Aerobic vs Anaerobic?
This has to do with the fuel source your muscles are using.
Aerobic, most people have heard of, uses oxygen as a fuel source to produce energy. Categorized as anything over 2min of continuous work. Think "cardio".

Aerobic work can be found in Zones 2 and 3. Developed by Maffetone Method, an easy way to figure out the top of Zone 3 is by subtracting your age from 180.
Heart rates higher than this number will be pushing into the Anaerobic Zones.

Anaerobic means "without oxygen". The body uses two different fuel sources here: ATP and the Glycogen system. Both help with short burst of energy. 0-10 sec. and 10-120 sec. respectively.

What is a good zone for a pandemic?

During a pandemic, our stress levels can be at an all-time high. Looking for a zone that will give us both health and performance is key to managing other stresses in our life. Increasing our aerobic capacity and endurance are also some primary goals we can work toward.

With health being our main target, Zone 3 and Zone 4 can greatly improve both Aerobic as well as Anaerobic capacity by also creating less of a psychological toll on your body and immune system as compared to short sprints or heavy weightlifting.

Less demanding on your central nervous system, less lactate acid build-up in our muscles (that burning soreness), and less inflammatory response on the body and immune system!

What do these Zones feel like? (if you do not have a Heart Rate Monitor)

Zone 2:
For most people, this is a leisurely bike ride.  Able to hold a conversation.

Zone 3:
Biking uphill, a bodyweight workout that you can keep moving from one movement to the next without the need to stop and rest.
It's just above where you would want to hold a conversation.

Zone 4:
No conversation here.  This is challenging but doable.  Most of our longer workouts will have you in this Zone.

Zone 5:
This is Fran. This is an Open WOD. This is a competition event. This is our all out sprints with some rest after.

The point is, not every workout needs to be soul-crushing.  Going too hard will risk injury and over-stress the body, not allowing it to make progress.
Yet everyone, during this pandemic, is in a very different boat. Some can push hard, have all the gear, and relatively no stress. Others are the exact opposite.
Listen to your body!

Hitting Zones 3 and 4, two to three times per week, with active recovery days mixed in, sounds like a recipe for a healthy and well-balanced fitness protocol!

Stay safe and stay healthy!

Chris Raaymakers