HRmax calculation (Maximum Heart Rate)

What is HRmax (Maximum Heart Rate)?

Maximum Heart Rate (HRmax) or MHR is the rhythm that the human heart of a given person reaches during a very intense sporting effort (eg sprint to the maximum possible). At rest, the HRmax is about 40 to 80 beats per minute depending on the individual.

We use the Gellish & Coll formula. (2007) with the curvilinear relationship that is currently the most accurate for calculating HRmax by age. Calculation: (191.5 - (0.007 x age²)). Astrand and Ryhming's method (1954), consist to subtract his age from 220 is no longer suitable although easier to calculate.

Training program with HRmax

Training on the basis of his HRmax improves his performance while listening to his heart. We take the 5 heart rate zones based on percentages of Karvonen.

Example of training

Below, the 5 zones for a person of 35 years with a HRmax of 183 bpm

Target zone % Karvonen bpm Effet
90 – 100% 165 – 183 bpm Maximum effort, very tiring in breathing and muscles. For very experienced athletes in good physical shape. Short intervals (<5')
Anaerobic threshold
80 – 90% 146 – 165 bpm Intensive effort, improving the ability to withstand high-speed endurance. Body resistance: leads to muscle fatigue and difficult breathing (<10')
Aerobic threshold
70 – 80% 128 – 146 bpm Improves general training facilitates moderate intensity efforts and increases efficiency. Active resistance: regularity, control, fast breathing (<45')
Basic endurance
60 – 70% 110 – 128 bpm Moderate effort, this is the basic endurance training zone to progress in running but also to improve endurance on long outings (>1h)
or warming up
50 – 60% 92 – 110 bpm Very moderate effort, ideal at the beginning of the session to warm up and at the end of the session to actively recover by eliminating the waste produced by the muscles during the effort