Correcting Standard Training Zone rather that 220 minus age usage

First it is an estimate

Polar FT80 Heart Rate Monitor Watch (Black)So we have all had some expose to this training zone thingy I always wondered what it meant, and how it was calculated when looking at the results of a medical or at a gym.

Recently I had the fortune of being given a Polar watch to monitor my exercise, and this got me digging about these zones, since I never seemed to be it the correct one.
After a few searches and forum reads I found these articles below:
  • Ten reasons why “220 Minus Age” gets a failing grade:. Which stated that: "The equation was created in the early 1970’s by scientists Fox, Naughton, and Haskell who intended it to be a rough formulation and not meant to be representative of the entire population. All subject in the studies referenced were under 55 years of age and male. Although the equation has become accepted and the standard in the literature and is used widely in clinical and fitness settings, its validity is uncertain."
  • The Myth Of "Maximum Heart Rate = 220-Age, and here the author said: "I'd hardly break a sweat if I exercised at those levels. But more importantly, for some people the opposite is true and their maximum heart rate can be more than 20 beats lower than the formula predicts. If they were to exercise at the levels from the charts, their intensity could be too high, especially for anyone with a medical condition." and "Exercise physiologist Dr. Fritz Hagerman, who has studied world-class rowers for three decades, has said that the idea of a formula to predict an individual's maximum heart rate is ludicrous: he has seen Olympic rowers in their 20's with maximum heart rates of 220, and others on the same team and with the same ability, with maximum rates of just 160 [Kolata, 2001]."
  • How To Determine Maximum Heart Rate states: "Max HR is a specific number, the maximum number of contractions per minute that your heart can make."
  • Do you own search and find more

Alternative calculations

There are a number of alternative way to calculate the zones that are correct for you, they are all based on calculating the correct Maximum Heart Rate (Max HR). From there you can calculate the zones:
  • Zone 1: From:(Max HR * 50%) to: (Max HR * 59%)
  • Zone 1: From:(Max HR * 60%) to: (Max HR * 69%)
  • Zone 1: From:(Max HR * 70%) to: (Max HR * 79%)
Although you may need to do some number rounding

So here are the other ways of calculating Max HR
  • Based on thousands of subjects, male and female, one study found that ranging in age from 18 to 81, the "best fit" equation of:Max heart rate = 208 -0.7 x Age.
  • A paper by Londeree and Moeschberger (1982) from the University of Missouri-Columbia indicates that the MHR varies mostly with age, but the relationship is not a linear one. They suggest an alternative formula of MHR = 206.3 - (0.711 × Age)
  • A paper by Miller et al (1993) from Indiana University proposed the following formula as a suitable formula to calculate MHR:MHR = 217 - (0.85 x Age)
  • Research carried out by scientists at John Moores University in Liverpool (UK) in 2007, reported in the Int J Sports Med 2007;24, came up with with the following formulae for predicting maximum heart rates in both endurance and anaerobically trained athletes: Male athletes - MHR = 202 - (0.55 x age)

    Female athletes - MHR = 216 - (1.09 x age)
  • If you have a polar watch then you can calculate an alternative, which uses the Karvonen method which takes into account your resting heart it would be more accurate. The formula is
    (((HRMax-RHR) x HR%)+RHR)
    HRMax = 226-Age
    RHR = your resting heart
    HR% = the the upper and lower limits of the zone you are calculating
  • There is also the possibility of going for a test, that determines VO2Max and lactates, then you will get you specific zones at you specific fitness level

So play around and find one that is not the standard since it sucks.

If you are interested having a cup of coffee before exercise helps