How to Calculate and Use Your Training Heart Rate

How to Calculate and Use Your Training Heart Rate

The American College of Sports Medicine recommends that your pulse reach 55 to 90 percent of your maximum heart rate when you exercise. Here's how to calculate and use your training heart rate.

Things You'll Need
  • Heart Rate Monitors
  • Pulse/heart Monitors
  • Stopwatches
Calculate Your Training Heart Rate Range
Subtract your age from 220. (Example for a 28-year-old: 220 - 28 = 192.)

Multiply the result by 0.55 to determine 55 percent of your estimated maximum heart rate. (For a 28-year-old: 192 x 0.55 = 105.6, or approximately 106 beats per minute.) This is the low end of your training range, or the slowest your heart should beat when you exercise.

Multiply the result from step 1 by 0.90 to calculate 90 percent of your estimated maximum heart rate. (For a 28-year-old: 192 x 0.90 = 172.8, or approximately 173 beats per minute.) This is the high end of your training range, or the fastest that your heart should beat when you exercise.

Use your answers from steps 2 and 3 to determine your training heart rate range. (A 28-year-old's training range is 106 to 173 beats per minute.)

Monitor Your Training Heart Rate When Exercising
Stop exercising, and use your index and middle fingers together to count the number of beats at your wrist or neck for 15 seconds. (Your thumb has a light pulse, which might confuse the count if you use it instead of your fingers.)

Multiply this number by four. This is your beats per minute.
Compare your beats per minute to the low and high ends of your training heart range. Is your heart rate within your training range? Do you need to exercise harder? Do you need to slow down?