Best heart rate monitor that accounts for Age? Part 1: Training Zones

Question: What’s the best HRM that accounts for age.

Regarding the first part of the question, all traditional heart rate training systems account for age.

“Training zones” are determined by subtracting an athlete’s age from 220 beats per minute (BPM) – (220 being a theoretical maximum heart rate) to get an age-adjusted maximum heart rate.

The zones then are simply percentages of that age-adjusted maximum.

A 45-year-old would have a theoretical max HR of 175 beats per minute. (220-45=175)

And their training zones would be as follows.

Zone 1 is 50-60% or 88-105 bpm

Zone 2 is 60-70%, 105-123 bpm

Zone 3 is 70-80%, 123-140 bpm 

Zone 4 is 80-90%, 140-158 bpm

Zone 5 is 90-100%, 158-175 bpm

The above are, of course, generalizations. While a great starting point, the method does nothing to address the person’s genetic capacity, level of fitness, or recovery status. 

Even as a mediocre cyclist, I regularly exceed my calculated ‘max heart rate’ of 165. 

It is, however, a fine starting point to begin working with a heart rate monitor. 

Tomorrow I’ll give you a way to calculate your zone that accounts for recovery and fitness.  

Looking to improve your training using zones?
Book time to talk to a coach about your own personal program today.

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