Training Heart Rate Range

Monitoring your heart rate allows you to maximize the effectiveness of your training. By knowing your Training Heart Rate Range (THRR), you can adjust your effort to work within those values, based on your goals for each workout.

Use the formulas on this page to determine your approximate THRR. For more accurate calculations, visit your physician and have a stress test done.

To determine your THRR you need to first determine the following values:

  • Maximum Heart Rate (MHR)
  • Resting Heart Rate (RHR)
  • Heart Rate Reserve (HRR)

MHR, RHR and HRR

Finding your MHR can be difficult without using an electrocardiograph (ECG). The rule of thumb for MHR used to be 220 minus your age. However, recent studies have shown 205.8 - (0.685 × age) to be a more accurate guide.¹

RHR: To determine your RHR, take your pulse first thing in the morning, before engaging in any significant activity (ideally, before you get out of bed). For greater accuracy, do this for several days and average the results.

HRR = MHR minus RHR

Training Heart Rate Range

To determine your THRR, take percentages of your HRR and add them to your RHR. The percentage you take depends on whether you are doing aerobic or anaerobic threshold training:

  • For aerobic training, take 50–75% of your HRR and add it to your RHR
  • For anaerobic threshold training, take 80–85% of your HRR and add it to your RHR

Example

A 50-year-old with an RHR of 62 results in the following values:

  • MHR: 205.8 - (0.685 x 50) = 172
  • HRR: 172 - 62 = 110
  • THRR for Aerobic Training: 117–145 beats per minute (bpm)
  • THRR for Anaerobic Threshold Training: 150–156 bpm

¹The Surprising History of the "HRmax=220-age" Equation, Robert A. Robergs and Roberto Landwehr, Journal of Exercise Physiology Volume 5 Number 2 May 2002.