7 Ways to Make a Heart Rate Monitor Work for You

Jillian Baum
Burn 60 fitness studio manager and fitness model Kristin Lancione (right) helped Michelle demonstrate these exercises.

Over the past 15-20 years, heart rate monitors have gained widespread popularity among fitness enthusiasts and elite athletes.

These wireless devices monitor the body’s levels of cardiovascular and physiological stress during exercise so users can adjust their training intensity for the most effective workouts.

Your “heart rate zone” is the key to meeting your fitness goals. Some heart zones are more effective for burning fat, others for improving performance and stamina. Once you determine your fitness goals, a heart rate monitor will allow you to achieve them by helping you stay in the best heart training zone.

If you are just beginning an exercise program and have the goal of improving overall fitness, losing weight or reducing stress, exercise in the healthy heart zone, which is 55-65 percent of your maximum heart rate.

If you already exercise regularly and are aiming to lose body fat and improve cardiovascular fitness, exercise in the 65-75 percent of maximum heart rate zone. Try to build up to a workout of an hour or more of continuous exercise within this zone to optimize body fat loss.

If your goal is to improve aerobic capacity or athletic performance, exercise in the aerobic zone which is 75-85 percent of maximum heart rate. Competitive athletes may need to add interval training sessions during the week in the anaerobic threshold heart rate zone, which is 85-92 percent of maximum. This high intensity exercise helps train muscles to handle lactic acid. But train sparingly at these upper limits to prevent the possibility of an athletic injury.

If necessary, start in a low exercise intensity zone and build up. Aim for 20-60 minutes of continuous exercise in your target zone each session. If you are unable to exercise for 20 minutes initially, slow down and gradually build up to this.

To see how your fitness level is progressing over a designated time period, monitor and track your heart rate and your resting heart rate. According to the National Institute of Health, the normal adult resting heart rate falls between 60 and 100 beats per minute, but well-trained professional athletes fall at the low end of that scale and sometimes even 10-20 points lower than 60 beats per minute.

At Burn60, we target both cardio and weight training with the concept of keeping your heart rate up above 70 percent for conditioning purposes. To achieve cardio as well as fat burning results, the heart rate should be at least above 60 percent.

The Burn 60 Workout

The Burn 60 is a 60-minute workout that includes both cardiovascular and strength training. The goal is to keep the heart rate at or above 60 percent of the person’s maximum heart rate for 60 minutes. The workout is broken down into different levels (beginning, intermediate and advanced). The workout can be tailored according to level of fitness and desired results. The goal of this challenging workout is to improve overall performance (see opposite page for workout details).

  1. Treadmill Work - This portion of the workout should be done in intervals of 15 minutes, alternating 15 minutes on the treadmill and 15 minutes of strength work. Try mixing in 30-second sprints.

  2. Strength Work
During your strength intervals, incorporate some of these exercises:
  3. Side Lunge - Start with both feet on a Bosu ball. Lunge to the right with your right foot. After a set time, switch to your left foot. Do 15 on each leg or 90 seconds.

  4. Back Lunge - Start with both feet on a Bosu ball. Lunge backward with your left foot for 60 seconds and then switch to your right foot.

  5. Bosu Ball Wood Chopper - Stand on a Bosu ball with a medicine ball at your knee. Throw the ball over the opposite shoulder keeping your arms straight. Repeat on both sides for 60 seconds or 15 reps on each side.
  6. Squat with Press - Stand on a Bosu ball with a medicine ball in front of your waist. Curl the ball up to your shoulders and continue to raise the ball above your head. Perform this exercise for 90 seconds or 15-20 reps.

  7. Plank Drill - Start with both hands palms down on the Bosu ball with legs fully extended outward. Tuck your belly button into your spine to create a neutral spine hold for 30-60 seconds. Make sure to keep your shoulders in line with your elbows and wrist and keep you butt down.

  8. Bar Drill - Start with a weight bar slightly below your waist. Bring the bar up to where it is almost resting on your shoulder and then do a front squat. Do this for 30-60 seconds or 15 reps.

1 Comment

Aug 20, 2015 at 08:29AM crystal63

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