5 Zone Heart Rate Training Model

5 Zone Heart Rate Training  Model

When the Heart Rate (HR) monitor became widely available in the early 1980s, it gave rise to many HR training models, and in the early 1990s, the widely used 5-zone HR training model appeared.

Initially, the 5-zone HR model is very simple and straightforward. Simply take an individual maximum HR, and break them up into 5 different zones based on a percentage of their max HR.

  • Zone 1: 50% – 60%
  • Zone 2: 60% – 70%
  • Zone 3: 70% – 80%
  • Zone 4: 80% – 90%
  • Zone 5: 90% – 100%

Over the years, there are many variations of the 5-zone HR model developed by coaches and sports scientists trying to create an accurate model. This resulted in a confusing topic as they are all referred to the 5-zone HR training model, but it is based on a different formula.

While zone 1 and 2 are often associated with the aerobic threshold, and zone 4 & 5 are associated with the lactate threshold, we need to understand that all these zones are trainable.

A well-condition athlete with a high aerobic threshold can be running under his/her aerobic threshold but appear zone 3 or even zone 4 on the 5 zone HR model. To top that off, the same athlete may have an aerobic and lactate threshold that is only 10 beats apart.

While the 5-zone HR model is an easy and straightforward formula that anyone can easily apply. It should be taken with a pinch of salt and not be used as a fixed indicator.

All these formulas are trying to predict the aerobic & lactate threshold; click here to find out more information on that.

Performance and HR may vary from day to day, depending on many daily variables such as sleep and stress level. Most importantly is that you are enjoying the process.

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A consultant will provide you with the identified optimum heart rate training zones and walk you through how you can leverage these data to optimize your training program.

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Coach Justin

- Certified Personal Trainer | Obstacle Racing Specialist | Sports Science <3

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