Heart Rate Zone Calculator

Estimates the 5 training zones that are recommended for weight loss and other fitness purposes.

There is more information on the five training zones in the text below the tool.

The heart rate zone calculator helps those who are trying to train in the appropriate training zone.

There are 5 training areas, each designated as a percentage range from the maximum heart rate, each for a different purpose: e.g. weight loss, building strength, endurance etc.

The maximum and resting heart rate are introduced in formulas that compute these ranges.

The following table presents the quick method of discovering the training zones.

If the MHR (maximum heart rate (in beats per minute) is unknown, this can be easily calculated via the Karvonen formula (220 – Age in years).

Zone Description Intensity % of MHR
5 VO2 max Maximal 90 - 100
4 Anaerobic Very Intense 80 - 90
3 Aerobic Intense 70 - 80
2 Endurance Moderate 60 - 70
1 Recovery Light 50 - 60

Resting heart rate
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Steps on how to print your input & results:

1. Fill in the calculator/tool with your values and/or your answer choices and press Calculate.

2. Then you can click on the Print button to open a PDF in a separate window with the inputs and results. You can further save the PDF or print it.

Please note that once you have closed the PDF you need to click on the Calculate button before you try opening it again, otherwise the input and/or results may not appear in the pdf.

Variables used

The heart rate zone calculator requires two variables:

■ The maximum heart rate (MHR or HRmax) which is the maximum heart rate, measured in beats per minute that the heart can reach, usually during strenuous exercise.

■ The Heart resting rate (HRR) is somewhat the opposite of HRmax, being the heart rate easiest measured minutes after getting up. Normal range is between 60 and 80 bpm. In people who practice regular exercise, these values tend to be lower, even than normal, because the pump function of the heart is very efficient.


The heart zone table

This table introduces the five zones and their names. The first three columns define the zone while the next three provide examples of different methods put in practice.

The % of MHR is the simplest method, for example, when trying to exercise in the aerobic/intense zone, the heart rate achieved should be somewhere between 70 and 80% of the MHR for age.

The fifth column introduces the Karvonen method, also used for the calculation of the target heart rate.

The sixth column describes the Zoladz method which deducts a number of beats per minute from the subjects MHR to provide two interval heads. Please note that this calculation takes you directly to the heart rate intervals in bpm.

Zone Description Intensity % of MHR Karvonen (% of HRR + RHR) Zoladz (- BPM)
5 VO2 max Maximal 90 - 100 90 - 100 (MHR - 25) - (MHR - 15)
4 Anaerobic Very Intense 80 - 90 80 - 90 (MHR - 35) - (MHR - 25)
3 Aerobic Intense 70 - 80 70 - 80 (MHR - 45) - (MHR - 35)
2 Endurance Moderate 60 - 70 60 - 70 (MHR - 55) - (MHR - 45)
1 Recovery Light 50 - 60 50 - 60 (MHR - 65) - (MHR - 55)

Beside the benefit in regulating fitness training, these can be used to ensure the heart is both worked at a correct level and not overworked during prolonged effort/ intense periods.


How to use heart training zones

In order to use the above zones for your advantage, you need to understand their physiological effects and how these can be exploited for a specific fitness aim after you have underwent a cardio assessment.

The following table introduces the characteristics of each of the five heart zones, in terms of weight loss, endurance and strength and speed. These are evaluated on the scale: low, medium and high effect.

Zone Weight loss Endurance Strength/Speed
5 L L H
4 L M H
3 M H M
2 H H L
1 H M L

Where: L - Low effect | M - Medium effect | H - High effect.

Zone 5 – The red line zone or the VO2 max or anaerobic training, is set at around 90 – 100%. It represents the maximum intensity achievable. It is mostly used to develop speed and strength. This zone is reserved for very fit persons and athletes.

Zone 4 – The anaerobic zone or the lactate threshold zone or tempo run, is set at around 80 – 90%. It is aimed at working out the lactic acid system and helps with speed and endurance development. In this zone the main source of energy is extracted from the muscular glycogen rather than from fat. The anaerobic threshold can increase the body’s ability to deal with lactic acid for longer periods of time. This is also known as the race training zone and is recommended to people in great shape.

Zone 3 – The aerobic zone for stamina or the target heart rate zone, is set at around 70 – 80%. It helps improve the cardiovascular system and the body’s ability to transport respiratory gases, i.e. O2 and CO2. This is great for fat burning and development of muscular mass. It is the zone used for marathon training, also in some groups recognized as a golden zone for most fitness goals.

Zone 2 – The endurance energy efficient zone, is set at around 60 – 70%. It is also recognized as easy recovery running and is said to develop basic endurance. This is the also recommended for burning fat, however, compared to zone 3, it is less strenuous on the muscles, allowing them to regenerate.

Zone 1 – The recovery zone has the lowest intensity at 50 – 60% capacity. It is characteristic for easy training that still has an impact on physical condition. Body fat is used as an energy choice; therefore, this produces weight loss results. This should be the beginner’s choice.



1. Karvonen J, Vuorimaa T. Heart rate and exercise intensity during sports activities. Practical application. Sports Med. 1988; 5(5):303-11.

2. Uth N, Sørensen H, Overgaard K, Pedersen PK. Estimation of VO2max from the ratio between HRmax and HRrest--the Heart Rate Ratio Method. Eur J Appl Physiol. 2004; 91(1):111-5.

3. Zoladz JA, Majerczak J, Duda K, Chtopicki S. Endurance training increases exercise-induced prostacyclin release in young, healthy men--relationship with VO2max. Pharmacol Rep. 2010; 62(3):494-502.7

4. Karvonen J, Kentala E, Mustala O. The effects of training on heart rate; a longitudinal study. Ann Med Exp Biol Fenn. 1957; 35(3):307-15.

Specialty: Cardiology

System: Cardiovascular

Objective: Calculation

Type: Calculator

No. Of Variables: 2

Article By: Denise Nedea

Published On: March 15, 2017

Last Checked: March 15, 2017

Next Review: March 9, 2023