Benefits of Heart Rate Monitors

If there is one accessory in particular which will get your fitness game on point, it is a heart rate monitor. Not to knock tank tops and colorful headbands, but such devices go way beyond the aesthetic and might assist in your overall fitness.

Utilizing a heart rate monitor might aid you in finding your running sweet spot and keep you from overtraining. Additionally, tools which monitor heart rate are fairly affordable as compared with additional fancy fitness trackers, so there is an abundance of value. And best of all, it is pretty simple to use: Just strap on the heart rate monitor, attach it to a watch or app and get your sweat on. Nowadays, there are also “strapless” heart rate monitors which pick your pulse up from your wrist. For a list of heart rate monitor reviews click here

Plus, while you technically can use such tech toys within any workout, they are particularly helpful during specific scenarios, according to Jason Fitzgerald, running coach, elite marathoner, and Strength Running founder. Follow the following 5 steps to obtain the most out of your heart rate monitor.

Learn your maximum heart rate

It might sound easy, yet finding out your maximum heart rate actually is tricky business—the 220-minus-a-person’s-age formula really is merely an estimate. Heart rate monitors: they’ve come to the rescue! Jason Fitzgerald suggests wearing the monitor within a HIIT session or 5K to gain a better read on the maximum heart rate. The important thing to remember about this strategy? Ensuring that you are going for an all-out effort. The greatest number the monitor will record is likely your maximum heart rate, and this may aid you in gauging your heart rate range for additional kinds of workouts.

Discover your “easy”

No, we aren’t talking about those easy Sundays that are spent binge-watching television. As we have found out, scheduling an “easy” workout is fantastic for balancing your recovery and fitness. However, for all of those gung-ho gals and guys amongst us, it might be difficult to tone it down. That is where a heart rate monitor comes in.

According to Fitzgerald, using a heart rate monitor on easy days includes an excellent method of keeping yourself honest and making certain your heart rate does not rise above what it ought to be. Especially for runners, those easy days are chances for a bit of active recovery, in order to build endurance, as well as get some additional miles in—yet that just works if the run is, indeed, an easy one.

Plus, though the heart rate within this situation is a difficult thing to calculate (depends upon variables such as your fitness level and age), it is likely going to feel very slow—Fitzgerald claims that the majority of runners are going to want to keep their BPMs within the 140s or under, and some recommend sticking with 65 – 70% of your maximum heart rate within those recovery runs. Just keep in mind the aim includes being comfortable, in control, as well as at a pace that is conversational.

Go long

In order to keep going with any aerobic exercise, you have to build your endurance. Heart rate monitors are able to assist you in doing just that within those longer exercise bouts. Beginners are going to want to stick with 50 – 65% of their max heart rate while undergoing endurance training, whereas intermediate-level individuals ought to shoot for 60 – 75%, and more experienced exercisers ought to aim for the 70 – 85% range.

Go for tempo

A tempo workout is a runner’s secret weapon behind having the ability to run faster for longer. In training your body to utilize the oxygen it takes in more efficiently, tempo training will help you increase your lactate threshold. If you exercise too slow, you aren’t going to reap those benefits.

It might be tricky to decide how quick your heart should beat while tempo training—yet the objective is around 85 – 90% of your maximum heart rate. You want to ensure that your pace is uncomfortable yet still manageable—you likely will be maintaining the pace for twenty or so minutes.

HIIT it up

The highly intensive work-out is quite the coup that has benefits which include an increase in metabolism, amped-up endurance, as well as huge potential for fat burning. Your action plan? First off, get ready to work up a real sweat. Then do rounds of recovery intervals and speed intervals (working at 40 – 60% of maximum heart rate). Depending upon the format of the workout, the speed parts may last anywhere from 5 seconds to 8 minutes, with the recovery sections lasting just as long (or perhaps even longer). With all that said, it is worth noting that a HIIT workout is really an effort-based workout, opposed to a heart rate-based one.