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Heart Rate Guided Training 101

What is Heart Rate Guided Training (HRGT)? Exercise done by monitoring the heart rate using a heart rate monitor

Why? HRGT is used to help appropriately scale exercise to the individual

When? During exercise - cardio and/or strength

How? Using a heart rate monitor. Chest strap = most accurate. Wrist based = much improved over past couple of years but not as reactive, especially during intervals/speed work

Heart Rate Zones

Zone 1 - Active recovery

Zone 2 - Train body to use fat efficiently, build endurance

Zone 3 - Increase tolerance for anaerobic threshold, tempo pace, utilizes more carbs than fat

Zone 4/5 - Intervals, No longer burning calories from fat

How to determine zones? 

               a. Baseline Fitness

Resting Heart Rate (RHR)

  • Find RHR by taking heart rate first thing in the morning before getting out of bed. Do this for 3-5 days (not consecutively) and then average. This is your AVG RHR.

  • Monitor regularly during training to gauge training response to exercise/recovery.

  • Extended or larger increases in RHR may indicate possible need for additional rest day or active recovery versus a planned more intense workout. Increases in RHR can be caused by a number of things including dehydration, not getting enough sleep/exhaustion, overtraining, illness.

Interval Training/Speed Work

  • More advanced - not for beginners

  • 1-2 days/week max

  • 10 min or 1 mile warm-up and cool down required

  • HR Avg = Zones 3/4/5

  • Following day = complete rest or active recovery

  • If RHR is elevated by more than a couple of beats or has been trending higher consider postponing the workout and doing active recovery or skipping and taking a rest day.

Check out our Facebook Live (April 12, 2017) spot on HRGT:


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