Training With A Heart Rate Monitor In The Pool
Awareness of the benefits of using a heart rate monitor in your AquaJogger® workouts is a great start in your goal of taking control of your pool sessions and making the most of your workout time.
The best way to begin taking your workouts to the next level is to first purchase a simple and easy to use waterproof monitor. These can now be found very reasonably priced by a variety of manufacturers but my favourite is the Polar FS3 which has all the features a beginner would need and is very simple to use.
How Do Heart Rate Monitors Work?
Your new heart rate monitor will come with two parts. A chest strap which detects minute electrical signals given off by your heart each time it beats and these beats are transmitted to a receiver you wear on your arm like a watch.
Once I Have My Heart Rate Monitor How Do I Use It?
(1) The basic way to begin for most exercisers is to first calculate your maximum heart rate. A simple method is to use your age based maximum heart rate. To calculate this you simply subtract your age from an average start value which is 220 for males and 226 for females.
For example a male aged 35 would subtract this from the figure 220 giving him a maximum heart rate of 185 beats per minute. Please note your heart rate will be lower in the water due to a number of factorsâ€“ hydrostatic pressure and temperature are just twoâ€“ these all contribute to a lower heart rate and it is recommended you deduct another 12-15 beats per minute for your water adjusted rate (water adjusted max heart rate 170-173 bpm).
Therefore a female aged 35 would subtract her age from 226 giving her a maximum heart rate of 191 bpm. (water adjusted rate 176-179 bpm).
The age based method is known to be an averaged out method but is the best way to begin until your confidence and knowledge grows.
(2) Now you have your maximum heart rate figure you can start to work out at what level you want to train at. These levels are shown as a percentage of your maximum heart rate i.e. 50% of Max HR.
Which Heart Rate Level Or (Zone) Do I Need To Train In?
Take a look at the options below to see what you want to achieve from your workout and then train with your heart rate in that “Zone.”
50-60% Of Maximum Heart Rateâ€“ Maintain Healthy Heart/Get Fit.
This is the easiest zone and probably the best zone for people just starting a fitness program. This zone has been shown to help decrease body fat, blood pressure, cholesterol and reduce the risk of degenerative diseases. Approximately 85% of calories burned in this zone are fats.
60-70% Of Maximum Heart Rateâ€“ Lose Weight And Burn Fat.
This zone provides the same benefits as the healthy heart zone but is more intense and burns more total calories.
70-80% Of Maximum Heart Rateâ€“ Increase Stamina And Aerobic Endurance.
The aerobic zone will improve your cardiovascular and respiratory system and increase the size and strength of your heart. This is the zone you should spend most of your time in if you are training for an endurance event.
80-90% Of Maximum Heart Rateâ€“ Improve Oxygen Uptake And Raise Lactic Threshold (Anaerobic Zone).
Benefits of this zone include an improved VO2 maximum (the highest amount of oxygen one can consume during exercise) and an improved cardio respiratory system. This zone also improves the way your body deals with lactic acid which in turn means improved endurance. As this is an anaerobic zone the majority of calories burned comes from energy stored in your muscles therefore calories burned from fat reduces to 15%.
90-100% Of Maximum Heart Rateâ€“ The Red Zone!
This zone can only be tolerated for very short periods of time. Working in this zone is nearly at your absolute maximum and will further improve your oxygen uptake and the way your body deals with lactic acid. This zone is usually used by athletes during a interval training session where they may do several cycles of work at 80% max HR for several minutes followed by one minute in this zone. Again this is an anaerobic zone and only 10% of calories burned come from fat.
The excellent Polar FS3 heart rate monitor will automatically calculate your age based maximum heart rate for you and also calculates the % of max heart rate zone for you to train in. The Polar FS3 will give you your average heart rate for your workout at the end of your session and will continuously show your working heart rate. It also has extra large digits which are easy to read while in the water plus a stopwatch and exercise timer. Everything a beginner would need!
A small tube of ECG (hypo-allergenic) Gel, costing just a few dollars, is well worth the investment and will last for several months to a year. The benefit is that it creates an excellent connection when lightly rubbed on the electrodes of your chest strap and stops any breaks in transmission to your wrist monitor. This can usually be purchased with your HRM.
Wear your receiver (watch) on your arm with the face on the inside of your wrist as this is easier and quicker to glance at while working out in the water.
Remember your water adjusted your heart rate is lower by 12-15 beats per minute!
An excellent way to cross check your heart rate zones is to also use the Brennan Scale of Rate of Perceived Exertion levels 1-5. This will be expanded on in part three but you have now all of the basic knowledge you will need to take your AquaJogger® workouts to the next level.
Control your AquaJogger® workoutsâ€¦ have more fun doing themâ€¦ achieve your goals fasterâ€¦ and “Drop It In 6”!