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How To Use Heart Rate Zones For Cycling Training?

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Grand Tour riders are familiar with their powerful output. They are aware of how much their power output should be, down to the exact watt, at any particular time. Cycling training zones are the best way to ensure that all of the training sessions of the riders are completed correctly, and these zones could be used for racing purposes. Due to the immense focus on precision at the professional level, many riders have also started using heart rate monitors along with the power meters to make sure that they are reaching their desired output according to their plans.

Heart rate zone training to enhance bike performance

It doesn’t matter if you want to go farthest or fastest on the bike. The wise plan is to turn to your heart before making any decision. Heart rate training, or in other words monitoring your heart rate through your workout, could help you gain more awareness of your efforts.

Whether you want to lose weight, strive for overall fitness, or enhance your general performance, training your heart can help you greatly in meeting your goal. If we talk about accountability, heart rate training could help you stay on track and help you get an idea of how far you have gone with all your heart rate training.

What is heart rate training exactly?

If we talk about heart rate training, it is all about monitoring your body’s cardiovascular reaction towards your training. Whenever you start moving, your heart starts pumping harder than when you were stationary. Your heart starts pumping hard to provide oxygen and blood to the muscles. This means that the more strenuous the exercise, the higher your heart rate be.

How to set your training zones?

One can easily create training zones in numerous ways. One of these includes riding your bike hard at a five-minute interval and can strive for a 10-minute interval. However, the most common technique for cycling training is heat rate zoning.

Set your training zones using heart rate

Creating your training zone is intrinsically dependent upon your maximum heart rate. The most popular way to find out your maximum heart rate is using simple equations. For example for men 214 – (0.8 x age), while for women 209 – (0.9 x age). Nevertheless, adopting this method doesn’t bring accurate results, according to the recent research. On the other hand, to find out your maximum heart rate and the training zones, you should complete a field test while riding your bike. It doesn’t matter if you want to do the test outdoors or indoors. The whole test takes almost an hour to complete, as one starts with a subtle warm-up technique.

It will take eight minutes of your time when you are ready to go. During this time, you have to ride the bike at a speed that you can maintain for the whole time. You will reach your top speed in about 45 seconds to one minute in the whole eight-minute process. After your eight-minute push, you have to start riding the bike slower, for about ten minutes, as it will help you recover from the eight minutes strenuous pace.

For a better calculation of your training zones, all you have to do is take into account your average heart rate, make a note of your eight-minute effort, and then focus on the higher number of heart rates. Then multiply that number by 0.8 to find out your threshold. That is the point of your maximum heart rate. If you go beyond it, you will reach fatigue. Once you become familiar with your threshold heart rate, consider these percentages to make a note of your heart rate zones for training and bicycling.

  • Zone 1: Recovery: 0 to 68%
  • Zone 2: Endurance: 69% to 83%
  • Zone 3: Tempo: 84% to 94%
  • Zone 4: Threshold: 95% to 105%
  • Zone 5: VO2 Max: 106% to maximum %

A cycling coach can better help you assess these numbers, determine the outcome for your trial, and better design a plan tailored to your needs and goals. All of this will play an integral part in assessing your power output too. If you are going through all the processes yourself, keep in mind that our maximum heart rate will be more than 100 percent because you will be taking a percentage of your highest heart rate. If you find out that your heart rate is 195, your starting heart rate was 181. Additionally, your zone 4 heart rate will be 172 and 190.

Keep in mind that ZONE-4 is the tipping point of your heart, and if you tried to go beyond that, you will start getting exhausted and will wear out eventually.

How to make the most out of your heart rate cycling training?

The best thing about heart rate cycling training is not the number itself that you derived. It is all about the effort that you have put in. While riding through different zones, you will definitely think about the overall feeling of your heart pumping the blood to your body and the blood rushing through your head. While pedaling, you should think about your easiest cycling effort and correlate it to 1 and the higher effort to that of 10. By doing so, you will not get tired easily as you will be calculating your potential while running numbers through your head.

If you really want to chase your dreams and want to achieve your goals, you might need to train in some particular zones. It means that if you want to achieve overall fitness, you should train your heart in all zones. But in doing so, you have to work harder in the threshold and tempo zones, as these will play a mighty part in building your overall aerobic capacity.

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