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Published on: 29 Dec 2016 by mattsch
Our heart rate can be described as the number of heartbeats per unit of time, most commonly referred to as beats per minute.
Our BPM can actually vary depending upon our body’s need for oxygen, which is why during sleep our heart rate slows because our bodies naturally require less oxygen while in sleeping mode, but during exercise the direct opposite occurs, with our heartbeat increasing dramatically as a direct result of the necessary oxygen required for the body to function at a higher level.
Medical professionals measure heart rate to assist in the diagnosis of certain medical conditions, but it can also be used by athletes or any individual who is interested in determining the maximum efficiency that can be gained from a training routine.
Everyone has a target heart rate, which can be defined as the desired range of your heart rate during an aerobic exercise. This is the heart rate that enables your heart and lungs to receive the most benefit from the workout.
Heart rate monitors measure the constant pulse of an individual, and can help to understand the exercise physiology behind the regulation of your heart rate.
Heart rate monitors are an exceptionally important tool – they assist individuals to develop a proper pacing strategy during training, and for athletes, monitor interval training prior to a competition, as well as avoid the costly mistake of over training.
Heart Rate Training
Once you have purchased a heart rate monitor, the easiest way to start training using your heart rate as a method of guidance is to understand how to use the monitor.
It is advisable to consult a specialist who will use specialized equipment to determine your maximum heart rate as well as advise as to various training zones within which to work for the purposes of optimizing your workout.
A training routine is a vital component to any athlete’s performance expectations.
It is especially important for cyclists as they began to prepare for the racing season—understanding when to begin the training cycle and how hard to push during each cycle – can mean the difference between performing at peak levels, or over-training with the potential for injury or under performance during competitions or races.
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Many riders overcompensate by overworking their bodies during the wrong periods of time. One of the most common mistakes is for cyclists to over train during October to December, which can actually increase the risk of illness because by pushing the body during these months, one can lower immunity levels.
With so many different colds and flu viruses circulating during the winter months, one can actually become more susceptible to contracting an illness. In addition, working against the seasons can prove to be detrimental due to the chronobiology of most individuals, wherein the winter months proving difficult to maintain a rigid training regimen due to the reduced light and heat.
One of the tried-and-true methods was developed by Joe Beer, a cycling coach who is also a five-time Iron man participant.
This method examines 3-zones of training throughout the year.
Zone 1 is designed to work at 60-80% of the maximum heart rate and focuses upon endurance, while Zone 2 focuses upon raising the heart rate to just above 80% of its maximum capacity, and finally the goal of Zone 3 is to increase the heart rate above 85% of the maximum heart rate of the given individual.
The timing of each zone is crucial, just as the heart rate percentage is important to each zone.
According to Beer, the most beneficial gains are obtained from January to May, slowly building up through Zone 1 to Zone 2, then eventually reaching Zone 3 in July or August, and finally slowly moving back into Zone 1 for optimal heart rates and conditioning for the racing months.
By training your heart and monitoring your heart rate during each different Zone, over time you will achieve your own personal best!