Polar Heart Rate Zones
Polar heart rate zones introduce a new level of effectiveness in heart rate-based training. Training is divided into five heart rate zones based on percentages of maximum heart rate. With heart rate zones, you can easily select and monitor training intensities.
|Target zone||Intensity % of HRmax, bpm||Example durations||Training benefit|
|less than 5 minutes||Benefits: Maximal or near maximal effort for breathing and muscles.
Feels like: Very exhausting for breathing and muscles.
Recommended for: Very experienced and fit athletes. Short intervals only, usually final preparation for short events.
|2 – 10 minutes||Benefits: Increased ability to sustain high speed endurance.
Feels like: Causes muscular fatigue and heavy breathing.
Recommended for:Experienced athletes for
year-round training, and for various durations. Becomes more important during pre competition season.
|10 – 40 minutes||Benefits: Enhances general training pace, makes moderate intensity efforts easier and improves efficiency.
Feels like: Steady, controlled, fast breathing.
Recommended for: Athletes training for events, or looking for performance gains.
|40 – 80 minutes||Benefits: Improves general base fitness, improves recovery and boosts metabolism.
Feels like: Comfortable and easy, low muscle and cardiovascular load.
Recommended for: Everybody for long training sessions during base training periods and for recovery exercises during competition season.
|20 – 40 minutes||Benefits: Helps to warm up and cool down and assists recovery.
Feels like: Very easy, little strain.
Recommended for: For recovery and cool-down exercises throughout the training season.
HRmax = Maximum heart rate (220-age). Example: 30 years old, 220–30=190 bpm.
The Polar target heart rate zones can be personalized by using a laboratory measured HRmax value, or by taking a field test to measure the value yourself. When training in a target heart rate zone, try to make use of the entire zone. The mid-zone is a good target, but keeping your heart rate at that exact level all the time is not necessary. Heart rate gradually adjusts to training intensity. For instance, when crossing from heart rate target zone 1 to 3, the circulatory system and heart rate will adjust in 3-5 minutes.
Heart rate responds to training intensity depending on factors such as fitness and recovery levels, as well as environmental factors. It is important to look out for subjective feelings of fatigue, and to adjust your training program accordingly.