Target Zones and Thresholds

Target Zones and Thresholds

In order to make sure that your training is efficient you need to bear in mind:

      • the level of fitness you currently have
      • how much aerobic training you require
      • how much anaerobic training you require

One way of calculating how hard you need to exercise in order to train aerobically or anaerobically is to calculate your maximum heart rate (MHR). You can figure this out by using the following equation

MHR = 220 – age

Aerobic fitness basically refers to stamina or cardiovascular fitness. In order to improve this kind of fitness you need to work within your aerobic target zone which is between 60% and 80% of your MHR. In other words, at 60% of your MHR you’ve gone over the aerobic threshold.

For anaerobic fitness you need to work within your anaerobic target zone. This can be found between 80% and 100% of your MHR. One you’ve gone above 80% of your MHR you’re crossed the anaerobic threshold.

If you’re under 60% of your MHR then you don’t improve either your aerobic or your anaerobic fitness.

It’s important to remember that MHR percentages are not completely accurate and an individual’s fitness and their activity level will affect the thresholds.

One of the main differences between aerobic and anaerobic exercise is that the former requires oxygen while the latter doesn’t. If you continue to exercise anaerobically then this leads to a final oxygen debt due to the fact that not enough oxygen was able to reach your muscle cells fast enough. Your body then needs to rest in order to recover and ‘repay’ this debt.

Recording your recovery rate, which is how long it takes your pulse rate to return to normal, is another way of monitoring your fitness level.