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Heart Rate Zone - which one?

evo3benevo3ben Posts: 552
edited October 2011 in Health, fitness & training
What zones are best to train too?

Max Heart Rate Zones or Lactate Threshold Zones???

I have read Joe Friel's MTB training Bible and have based my months to come training using his advice of which all training uses LT zones, but when i come across training plans on the internet most of them train using MH zones and not LT zones?

My max heart rate is 185bpm but my lactate threshold is 158bpm. When working out % of heart rate to calculate zones, there is a big difference between these two methods.


  • supersonicsupersonic Posts: 82,708 Lives Here
    Are you wanting to burn fat, or gain muscle? Or both ;-)
  • evo3benevo3ben Posts: 552
    I started racing this year and really enjoyed it. So my aim for next year is to achieve top 16 results.
    Im not over weight and dont really want to drop anymore weight than i have, so now want to concentrate on race fitness.
    Race fitness involves using all heart rate zones be it active recovery in zone 1, endurance in zone 2 etc etc but am slightly confused as to why some say use max heart rate zones and others lactate heart rate zones.
    Joe Friel does explain this in his book and the the advantages of training to lactate threshold rather than to max heart rate but still i see the most common one used on the internet is max heart rate?
    Here is a small paragragh from Joe Friel's book:
    'Assume we have two riders with exactly the same maximum heart rate, but where lactate thresholds are significantly different. Rider A goes anaerobic (lactate accumulates quickly) at 90 percent of max heart rate, but rider B experiences lactate threshold at 8o percent. If both are assigned a workout intensity of 85% of maximum heart rate, rider A is comfortably aerobic, while rider B is suffering. But if both ride at or below their lactate threshold, they experience the same exertion level and reap the same benifits. Using a percentage of maximum heart rate just isn't as precise as basing heart rate training zones on the lactate threshold heart rate'
  • ollie51ollie51 Posts: 517
    Use zones based upon threshold, it's for specific for yourself as an individual.

    it is annoying when websites use mhr zones but you can work out what it should be LT zone wise and then train accordingly.

    Just out of interest, how did you obtain your mhr and lt information?
  • evo3benevo3ben Posts: 552
    I have gathered alot of info over the year using my heart rate monitor during races, training etc and the max heart rate i have ever reached is 185bpm. I did do a test during a ride with interval sprints on a slight incline and still peaked at 185. On that bases, i mark that as my MHR.

    To find my LTHR i had to do a specific test out on the road. A nice steady warm up of around 15-20 minutes and then at race pace for 30 minutes. After the first 10 minutes at race pace i start the heart monitor to collect 20 minutes of information. Once that 20 minutes is up, stop the heart rate monitor while still at race pace. Average HR is my LT :D

    Then i transfer this into Zones:

    Zone 1 <126 (Active recovery)
    Zone 2 126-138 (extensive endurance)
    Zone 3 139-145 (intensive endurance)
    Zone 4 146-155 (Threshold Training)
    Zone 5a 156-159 (Threshold training) LT should fall into Zone 5a
    Zone 5b 160-164 (VO2max Intervals)
    Zone 5c 165+ (Anaerobic Repetitions)

    Your LT is what dictates the HR in each zone. I have a table for this so calculating is easy. If you know your LT i can calculate your zones in a couple of minutes :wink:
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