Heart rate training zones are used by serious athletes to help them with their training programmes. It is also more common for gym members to want to monitor their heart rates to help them with their training programmes.
The following information sets out in a very concise way the different heart rate training zones and the benefits you can expect by training within them.

THE RECOVERY ZONE: 60-70% maximum heart rate (MHR)
Training within this zone develops basic endurance and aerobic capacity. It improves the heart’s ability to pump blood effectively round the body. It also allows the body to burn fat as a source of fuel which will help with weight loss.

Training in this zone will develop your cardiovascular fitness. Your body will become better at transporting oxygen and carbon dioxide away from your working muscles. This zone is also effective for increasing overall muscle strength. Training at this intensity will mean you burn more calories for the same amount of time compared to training in the recovery zone. You will also improve your aerobic capacity.

In this heart rate zone the amount of fat being used as the main source of energy is greatly reduced and glycogen which is stored in the muscle is predominantly used. One of the by-products of burning glycogen is lactic acid. There is a point at which the body can no longer remove the lactic acid from the working muscles – known as the lactate threshold. Training in this zone will delay the onset of your lactate threshold and therefore increase your performance.

Training in this zone will only be possible for short periods. Lactic acid develops very quickly as you are operating in oxygen debt to the muscles. Training in this zone will increase your fast-twitch muscle fibres and help develop speed. Only the very fit are able to effectively train within this zone.