Aquatic Exercise Heart Rate ZonesBy Joanne Maybeck - Part
Rate Monitors Make a Splash!
is the third article about using a Polar heart rate monitor as a fitness tool
in aquatic exercise classes and personal training.
· Article Two
In Part One, we learned the basics
about heart rate monitors, and where to get one. In Part Two, we learned how to
calculate an aquatic target heart rate and why aquatic heart rates are lower
than comparable land-based exercise.
So, what else can a heart
rate monitor do for you and other aquatic exercise class participants?
You can use it to tailor workouts to
your fitness level, and to work out in the correct aquatic exercise zones. To understand how to do this, lets
start by revisiting that target heart rate chart hanging on the pool
Such charts generally display 60 to
90% of maximum heart rate, for various age groups (20, 25, 30, and so on). For a 30 year-old, the 60 to 90% range
is from 114 to 171 beats per minute. Thats a very wide range!
Lets take our understanding to the
next level, with a better alternative to that wide range: To create tailored workouts, break the
wide range into five smaller Heart Zones, each with its own benefits. This
concept was created by world-class athlete and heart rate monitor guru Sally
Edwards. Sally calls this multiple
zone approach Heart Zone Training.
What are the five Heart Rate Zones?
Zone 1 the Healthy Heart Zone: 50
to 60% of Maximum Heart Rate
For recovery sessions for fitter
For after lay-off or injury
Land example: easy
Zone 2 the Temperate Zone: 60 to
70% of Maximum Heart Rate
Burns high percentage of fat
Gains muscle mass
Increases resting metabolism
example: Brisk walk or easy jog
Zone 3 the Aerobic Zone: 70 to 80
% of Maximum Heart Rate
Increased size and
strength of heart
Increased blood pumped with each
Increased ability to deliver oxygen to
Increased size and number of blood
Step aerobics class
Zone 4 the Anaerobic Zone: 80 to
90% of Maximum Heart Rate
Improves tolerance to lactic acid
Land example: Race pace, time trials
Zone 5 the Redline Zone: 90 to
100% of Maximum Heart Rate
Near total exhaustion
Land example: Sprints to finish line in a
How do I calculate the five
zones for aquatic exercise?
Use the Best Fit Formula from Part 2 of this series to estimate maximum
Calculate the five Heart Zones for land exercise, by applying the
percentages for each Heart Zone against the estimated maximum heart rate from
Subtract 13% or 17 Beats per minute from each land Heart Zone, to
calculate the five aquatic Heart Zones.
How else can
todays heart rate monitors have a number of features that are especially
well suited to Heart Zone Training in multiple smaller zones:
below zone alarms
Records exercise time
Records time in zone, above
zone, below zone
Additional conveniences include:
Calculates calories burned during
Wristwatch functions such as day, date, night light
watch functions such as laps/splits
Ability to upload monitor data to a
personal computer, to track progress
Joanne Maybeck is a fitness instructor and
personal trainer in New York City.
She is certified by ACSM, ACE, AEA, and AAAI/ISMA. Joanne presents the CEC workshop
Aquatic Heart Zone Training and will soon offer on-line heart monitor
education. She believes in training with heart! For more about Joanne, please visit her
Internet web site or email her at