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Finger on the Pulse : Working out your target heart rate

By inspiresa | In Become a Personal Trainer, cert 3 and 4 in fitness gold coast, Fitness Gold Coast, Fitness Tips | on February 24, 2016

Working out your target heart rate

There are equations out there that tell you to work at a certain heart rate to achieve certain results, such as, working at 50% of your maximum heart rate will make you burn more fat.  This is way too broad.

Let’s take a marathon runner – a 30 year old marathon runner’s max heart rate using the 220-age formula would be 190 so 50% of this would be 95. I’m sure you would agree that a marathon runner running at full pace for 42km would be over 95 beats per minute! And what is their physique like? Of course, no body fat!


A much better way to calculate target heart rates is to use The Karvonen Heart Rate Formula. This formula is one of the most effective methods used to calculate your target heart rate for aerobic (cardio) exercise. It factors in your resting heart rate (RHR), which is a good indicator of your state of fitness.


Target Heart Rate = ((max HR − resting HR) × %Intensity) + resting HR

eg: A 25 yr old who has a resting heart rate of 65 and we want to know his training heart rate for the intensity level 60% – 70%.

This is how you work it out. We need to know first the Minimum and Maximum heart rate of the man.

His Minimum Training Heart Rate:
220 – 25 (Age) = 195
195 – 65 (Rest. HR) = 130
130 x .60 (Min. Intensity) + 65 (Rest. HR) = 143 Beats/Minute

His Maximum Training Heart Rate:
220 – 25 (Age) = 195
195 – 65 (Rest. HR) = 130
130 x .70 (Max. Intensity) + 65 (Rest. HR) = 156 Beats/Minute

His training heart rate zone will therefore be 143-156 beats per minute.

Hope this helps with your training.

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