Compared to complete recovery (a.k.a. a rest day) zone 1, or active recovery, increases lactate clearance after maximal exercise (Martin, 1998). Active recovery is one of the best recovery methods and should be integrated into your training routine in one, or both, of the following ways:
- Immediately at the end of your training session,
- The day after your training sessions.
Heart rate zones—also known as HR zones—allow you to keep track of how hard you're working out. Based on the intensity of training in relation to your maximal heart rate, there are five different heart rate zones (six if you add rest).
Every one of us has a unique maximum heart rate, a minimum heart rate, and a resting heart rate. Several HR zones that reflect training intensity and benefit are located between these numbers.
You may calculate your heart rate zones in a variety of methods. We'll concentrate on that in this introduction. One straightforward approach to define them is as percentages of your maximal heart rate.
Your aerobic and anaerobic thresholds are directly related to your heart rate zones. In particular, knowing your heart rate zones for running or heart rate zone training for weight reduction can be quite helpful when contemplating heart rate zones exercise. Let's first examine how to calculate your maximum heart rate.
The most accurate way to calculate your maximum heart rate for zone training is through a laboratory test such as a VO2 Max test. But there is a simple way that you can do this Based on your age. Subtract your age from 220 to get a ballpark idea of your maximal age-related heart rate. For instance, the predicted maximum age-related heart rate for a 36-year-old person would be computed as 220 - 36 years = 184 beats per minute (bpm).
This is an example zone training chart for a 36-year-old adult using the calculation to determine their estimated maximum heart rate. To understand your training zones create a chart like this, the more you train in the different zones the more you will be able to refine and calculate your target heart rates for each zone.
One thing to note is that everyone is different and this should be taken into consideration, especially when calculating the best training zone heart rate for recovery. Other factors that we will cover are the impact of dehydration and fatigue on your heart rate.
Zone 1, 50-60% of your maximum heart rate, is the best zone for recovery because all of the lactic acid that has built up or been created in the muscles is being used because the intensity is so low. This form of training is also referred to as active recovery and can be implemented into your training program in one, or both, of these ways:
1. immediately after you finish training/competing,
2. The day after training/competing.
A study done by Dupuy et al, looking into the benefits of all recovery protocols found active recovery to be one of the most beneficial for:
It also helps to prevent additional stress on the muscles from the shock of the sudden stop following high-intensity training.
Immediately after training or competing (running and cycling)
When you are planning a run or a cycle try to plan your route so that the "finish line" is around 15-20 minutes away from your end destination. During the final stage, you want to gradually reduce your heart rate so that you progress down from zone 3 to zone 1. This gradual reduction in heart rate will also help to reduce your rate of breathing. Your body will also move into an aerobic training zone that will help to process and remove the lactic acid build-up in the muscles.
Immediately after training (Gym)
After a high-intensity gym session, the best way to do your zone 1 recovery is on a piece of equipment such as a bike or treadmill. a static Bike is the best for zone recovery as it is easier to control the resistance and there is less of a demand on the body. When you are doing active recovery in the gym try and avoid pushing yourself, remember this is not part of your training session this is your recovery. Pay attention to your heart rate as well as your breathing.
You will want to set the bike too low or with no resistance and the treadmill can be a slow jog around 7-9 Kmph, but that can be reduced to a walk.
Active recovery the day after training and competing.
Active recovery the day after training or competing helps to increase blood flow to the muscles bringing with it essential nutrients and oxygen to help speed up muscle fibre repair. This is also a great time to cross-train with swimming and yoga being identified as two of the best forms of active recovery.
Similar to active recovery in the gym, it is important not to treat this as a training session and push yourself. Remember the best training zone for recovery is zone 1, so you want the activity to be a low exertion level.
Dehydration causes your blood volume to drop, which results in each heartbeat pumping less blood. As a result, at a specific running speed, your heart rate rises. According to research conducted in 1992 by S.J. Montain and Ed Coyle, Ph.D., the heart rate increases by about seven beats per minute for every 1% drop in body weight brought on by dehydration.
On a relatively warm day, water loss of this size occurs after an hour of running. Running often results in a loss of nearly two pounds (0.9 Litres) of water per hour on a hot day. This is why it is important to rehydrate as you will find that you can hit the top of zone 1 quickly when you are dehydrated.
Lack of sleep, fatigue and overtraining can have a variety of effects on your daily recovery, including lowered coordination and attentiveness. Your heart rate at rest may also go up as a result. Your body won't be as prepared to function as it usually is if you have a bad recovery. It might lead to an increase in heart rate and respiration rate, making a run that would ordinarily be easy feel difficult. A poor night's sleep, yesterday's demanding workout, and drinking alcohol are a few factors that hinder healing and elevate your heart rate.
Running on a hot day causes your heart rate to increase. A runner's heart rate increases by around two to four beats per minute at a given speed when the temperature rises from 60 to 75 degrees Fahrenheit (15 - 23 degrees celsius). You can anticipate an increase in heart rate of about ten beats per minute when the temperature goes from 75 degrees to 90 degrees Fahrenheit (23 - 35 degrees celsius) when running at a certain tempo. The effect of high temperatures on heart rate is amplified by high humidity.
When at rest, a greater heart rate suggests that the body is under stress. If your resting heart rate is greater than usual and you are also exhibiting symptoms of the flu or a cold, you might simply be somewhat over-trained and in need of an extra day of recovery. Both body temperature and heart rate increase during a febrile sickness (fever) as a natural defence mechanism against infection. At rest, a feverish heart rate can rise to anywhere between 10 and 20 beats above average.
Cortisol and adrenaline are elevated by stress, and when combined with other unfavourable circumstances, this causes an increase in heart rate while jogging. More than 60% of WHOOP members who are under stress notice an increase of 1 beat per minute in their resting heart rate. Stress has an impact on HRV, recuperation, and sleep.
Training in the morning and afternoon causes the heart rate to differ by an average of five to six beats per minute, although this difference can reach ten beats per minute. In the morning, your maximum heart rate is also several beats per minute lower. This means that if you train in the afternoon and set your heart rate zones based on your morning heart rates, you will have to work slightly harder. Similar to this, you will train harder than anticipated if you utilise your afternoon or evening heart rates to calculate your training zones and then exercise in the morning.
Read more on how active recovery fits into the golden hour, the 60 minutes immediately after you stop training. These simple steps you can boost your recovery and help take your performance to the next level.
Alexandre et al, 2012, Heart Rate Monitoring in Soccer. Interest and limits during competitive match play and training, practical application
Auchten & Jaukendrup, 2003, Heart Rate Monitoring
Coyly & Mountain, 1992, Benefits of fluid replacement with carbohydrate during exercise
Dupuy et al, 2018 An Evidence-Based Approach for Choosing Post-exercise Recovery Techniques to Reduce Markers of Muscle Damage, Soreness, Fatigue, and Inflammation: A Systematic Review With Meta-Analysis
Kellmann, 2010, Preventing overtraining in athletes in high-intensity sports and stress/recovery monitoring
Martin et al, 1998, The Comparative Effects of Sports Massage, Active Recovery, and Rest in Promoting Blood Lactate Clearance After Supramaximal Leg Exercise
No Thanks – I’ll pay full price