Heart Rate Method
With the mass production of low cost heart rate monitors, we are no longer required to guess. The future of interval training lies with accurate, low cost heart rate monitors. We are no longer looking at time as a measure of recovery, as we formerly did in our rest to work ratios. We are now looking at physiology. What is important to understand is that heart rate and intensity are closely related. Although heart rate is not a direct and flawless measure of either intensity or recovery status, it is far better than simply choosing a time interval to rest.
To use the heart rate method, simply choose an appropriate recovery heart rate. In our case, we use 60 percent of theoretical max heart rate. After a work interval of a predetermined time or distance is completed, the recovery is simply set by the time it takes to return to the recovery heart rate. When using HR response, the whole picture changes. Initial recovery in well conditioned athletes and clients is often rapid and shorter than initially thought. In fact, rest to work ratios may be less than 1-1 in the initial few intervals. An example of a sample workout using the heartrate method for a well-conditioned athlete or client is show below.
Interval 1 - Work 60 sec rest 45 sec
Interval 2 - Work 60 sec rest 60 sec
Interval 3 - Work 60 sec rest 75 sec
Interval 4 - Work 60 sec rest 90 sec
I tried this this morning in the gym with some interesting results. I was working to 135 bpm as recovery heart rate and as soon as I got down to that level I did another 60 second sprint. The interesting thing is that is motivates you to work hard on the sprint and get your heart rate as high as possible because then your recovery is longer - it takes longer to go down from 170 to 135 than from 160 - 135. In actual fact it was taking about 1 min 15 secs and I did 10 working sessions.
There is also some interesting information about target heart rate calculations and I used this method to determine my 60%
The Problem with FormulasSo my calculation is 220-44 = 176 Max HR
At least 70 percent of the population does not fit into our age-old theoretical formulas. The 220 minus age formula is flawed on two key points: it doesn’t fit a significant portion of the population, and it is not based on research. Even the developer of the now-famous formula admits that his thoughts were taken out of context. The more accurate method is called the Heart Rate Reserve Method or Karvonen formula.
(Max HR- Resting HR) x %+ RHR= THR
Ex- (200-60) x.8 +60 = 172
(176-72) x .6 + 72 = 135