Heart Rate Training
This is the Club La Santa guide to Heart Rate training.
The heart rate indicator makes it possible to calculate the theoretical efficiency of the heart by either age or maximum heart rate and resting heart rate. The heart rate indicator is only an indicator, especially when age is the basis of the calculation. Even though the theory has been subjected to thorough tests, it is only applicable to 85% of the population. The remaining 15% have either an abnormally rapid or slow heart rate and, therefore, their heart rate does not figure on the scale.
A person’s maximum heart rate should be avoided, since it does not improve physical fitness.
Training with a heart rate of between 60% and 70% of a person’s maximum heart rate is the ´fat burning zone´, that is the heart rate zone where the body burns most fat in relation to the percentage of the total amount of calories burned. Until a few years ago, people who wanted to lose weight were advised to train within this heart rate zone (and still many do so). Nevertheless, recent tests have proved that a person burns more calories while training with a rapid heart rate. Though the percentage of fat being burned with a rapid heart rate is less, the total amount of calories burned is higher (which is what really counts). The body continues burning calories for some time after finishing training with a rapid heart rate because of the stress the body has withstood.
To improve the physical fitness, a person should be training with a heart rate higher than 70% of their maximum heart rate. Then the body improves its capability to carry oxygen around in the blood, helping improve the person’s endurance. Therefore, this heart rate zone is the most important zone of all. It is also the heart rate zone that differentiates restitution training (less than 70%) and training that actually improves a person’s physical fitness (higher than 70%).
Training with a heart rate higher than 80% of a person’s maximum pulse is considered hard training. Within this heart rate zone, the body improves its capability to handle lactic acid. This training is anaerobic, which means that the muscles need more oxygen than the body is capable of carrying around in the blood. Training in this zone is only necessary when a person wants to achieve an extraordinary performance. People who train for leisure only should be careful training within this heart rate zone, since the body is under a heavy load. Typically, the body would need more than one day of restitution if training a lot of the time within this heart rate zone.
Training with a heart rate higher than 90% of a person’s maximum heart rate is only necessary for people who need explosive strength, such as sprinters.