Heart rate and power ranges of cycling training

Cycling training can be an excellent way to improve cardiovascular fitness, increase muscle strength and burn calories. There are several different ways to build training plans for cycling, depending on your goals and available time. One way to classify cycling workouts is based on their intensity, which can be measured by heart rate or power output.

Heart rate zones

There are several heart rate monitoring methods, but one of the most frequently used is the five-level heart rate zone division, which is supported by e.g. Garmin cycling devices. One way to calculate heart rate zones is to use a formula based on your maximum heart rate (MHR), which is the maximum heart rate your heart can reach. The best way to calculate the heart rate zones is to do a test with a heart rate monitoring device, for example a bike computer, which automatically calculates the heart rate zones. You can calculate the theoretical value of MHR using the following formula:

MHR = 220 – age

After you have calculated your own MHR value, you can calculate your heart rate zone as follows:

  1. Active recovery: 50-60% of MHR
  2. Durability: 60-70% of MHR
  3. Tempo: 70-80% of MHR
  4. Lactate limit: 80-90% of MHR
  5. Maximum: 90-100% of MHR

The effect of different heart rate zones on the body

Remember that these are only approximate estimates and your actual heart rate zones may be slightly different. It is also important to note that heart rate zones can vary based on factors such as age, fitness and medication use. To get the most accurate heart rate zones, you can consider using a heart rate monitor and test your heart rate at different levels. This will allow you to determine your true heart rate zones and ensure that you are training at the correct intensity.

  1. Active Recovery (Warm Up): This zone is at the bottom of the heart rate and is intended for easy, low-intensity rides that help the body recover from the hardest workouts.

  2. Endurance (Easy): This zone is slightly higher than the active recovery zone and is intended for long, steady rides that build endurance over the long term.

  3. Tempo (Aerobic heart rate zone): This zone is higher than the active recovery and endurance zones and is intended for slightly heavier and more intense rides, which are nevertheless tolerable for a longer period of time.

  4. Lactate limit (Threshold): This zone is higher than the tempo zone and intended for challenging and demanding rides. Training in this zone helps improve the body's ability to handle high-intensity pulls.

  5. Maximum: This zone is at the top of the heart rate and is for all-out, extreme performances that can only be sustained for a very short time.

Measuring power

Power is another way to measure the intensity of cycling training. Power is measured in watts and can be monitored using a power meter mounted on the bike. Like heart rate zones, power zones are also used in cycling training.

Exercising in different heart rate and power zones can affect the body in different ways. For example, training in the active recovery zone helps improve recovery and reduce fatigue, while training in the maximal zone helps improve VO2 max and overall fitness. It is important to vary your training and include workouts in different intensity zones to get the most out of your cycling training.