BY PAU L RO B B I N S
Use heart rate to design progressive, effective cardiovascular training programs based on your clients' training zones.
Training by Heart
Monitoring heart rate to determine and manipulate training zones is enjoying a resurgence in popularity in both group fitness and personal training. Why? Because regular exercisers are beginning to realize that performing the same routine on the bike, treadmill or elliptical trainer week after week does not lead to significant improvements in cardiovascular fitness. With cardiovascular training as with strength training, positive gains are achieved only when exercisers challenge their bodies with progressive workloads.
October 2002 IDEA HEALTH & FITNESS SOURCE
Z ON E % O F H R MA X R ES PIR AT ORY E X CH A NG E RA T IO APPR O XIM ATE % OF CALORIES FROM FAT
When designing resistance training programs, Zone 1 60%-65% 0.80-0.90 50% you start slowly and then have clients increase Zone 2 80%-85% 0.95-1.0 16% or less their workloads by adding weight and/or Zone 3 90%-92% up to 1.1 0% reps as they progress; with cardio training on machines, you start slowly and have clients increase their workloads by adjusting the speed, incline and/or ume of carbon dioxide the body produces (VCO2) divided by resistance as they progress. If the workload is of the right magthe volume of oxygen the body consumes (VO2). The RER value nitude--slightly more than the body is currently used to-- varies with the type of fuel being burned (fat, carbohydrate or adaptation occurs. protein), so once you have measured the client's RER, you can But how do you challenge your clients or class participants withuse it to determine when he is in the fat-burning zone; when out running the risk of overtraining? You can accomplish this by he moves to the next zone, in which carbohydrates are the pridesigning interval programs based on training zones. This type of mary fuel; and so on. program has three key benefits: Finally, a metabolic test, which measures various parameters of 1. Varying the workload leads to improvements in cardiovascua client's cardiovascular fitness, including RER, can determine lar fitness. more precise, individualized heart rate zones for endurance, 2. The constantly changing program helps prevent boredom and interval and recovery training. (See VO2/Metabolic Testing sidekeeps participants motivated. bar.) 3. Research suggests that interval training raises postworkout metabolism and keeps it up longer than steady-state exercise THREE S TAGES OF TR AINING (Phelain et al. 1997). Once you have determined a client's training zones by whatever means, you can design an effective cardio program and USING HEAR T R ATE TO adjust it as the client progresses. I use a system I call "stage trainDESIGN A PROGR AM ing," which incorporates three heart rate zones. (To keep the The first step in designing a program based on heart rate is to deterclient working--and recovering--at the right intensity, I specmine a client's training zones. One way to do this is to use a comify an upper limit for each zone; that's why there seems to be a mon formula for estimating maximum heart rate (e.g., the "dead period" in which the client is not in any specific zone age-predicted formula, the Karvonen formula), then use a perbut is in the process of moving from one zone to another.) centage of the maximum to define the "fat-burning" zone, in which STAGE I. Stage I training is for beginners who have not been most of the fuel the body uses is fat. (Of course, although the body working out and need to create an aerobic base. Have clients begin is burning a higher percentage of calories from fat at this level, it slowly and work 5 to 30 minutes in zone 1. Do whatever it takes is not burning as many total calories as it would at higher inten(e.g., adjust the speed or incline on the treadmill, change the sities.) The fat-burning zone is commonly defined as 60 to 70 perresistance or incline on the elliptical trainer) to keep clients from cent of heart rate maximum (HRmax). Using the age-predicted going higher than 65 percent of HRmax. At this heart rate, they (220
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