The maximum heart rate is the maximum amount of beats a heart can make during one minute. How high or low your maximum heart rate is has nothing to do with how fit you are. It is genetic and can vary a lot from person to person. However, this decreases when you get older, about 1 beat a year.

So, how do you determent your maximum heart rate? One simple way is to take 220- your age = max pulse. For exampel: if you are 28 years old, your maximum heart rate is 192 (220-28 = 192). This is a rough estimate but quite an accurate one for most people.

The maximum heart rate can vary 10-15 beats between individuals. If you want a more precise number you can go to a sports test facility, they have all equipment to help you out. The cost is around $100 – $200 but you might find it worth the money since you will get the most accurate measure of your maximum heart rate.


Your resting heart rate is the beats your heart needs to beat at an absolutely minimum, pretty much enough to keep you alive and nothing more. The lower the resting heart rate is – the fitter you are since the heart pumps more blood per beat.

The best way to determine you resting heart rate is to check your pulse when you are still in bed after a good nights sleep. Put your fingers at your neck or wrist (were its the easiest to feel your pulse) and count you heartbeats for one minute. Try to move as little as you can since every move you make requires oxygen and will make your heart beat a little faster.


MaxVo2 is the maximum amount of oxygen your body can take in. It determines your hearts stroke volume, in other words the amount of blood your heart can pump in one beat. This can only be measured at a sports test facility.


When your body use carbohydrate to create energy it releases a by-product inside the muscle cells called lactic acid. Too much lactic acid in you blood will create a burning feeling in your muscles and you might find it hard to continue to exercise at the same intensity.


The lactate threshold occurs when the production and the elimination of lactic acid in the muscles is at the same level. If you from that state push your body harder, you will pass the threshold of how much lactic acid your body can handle and your muscles will ”burn”. If you are aware of your threshold zone and can keep as close to it as possible you can perform max without risking your muscles to “burn”.

Your Threshold level has nothing to do with your maximum heart rate. Two different athletes can have the same maximum heart rate but different threshold levels. It is a question how fit you are. A fit athlete with a high MaxVo2 also has a higher threshold level as his body has learned how to handle the lactic acid.

One way to find out your own lactate threshold is to go to a sports test facility. They can, testing you while you exercise, take a blood sample and measure CO in your exhaled oxygen to see exactly when you reach your threshold.

You can also do it yourself with a little assistance. If you use an indoor bicycle in a gym ask your assistant take note of your speed, watts, pace and pulse. Warm up gently for ten minutes and then increase the resistance with one step every minute and write down all your data. Continue to increase the resistance every minute until you are forced to stop because of fatigue. You will find the Pulzit glasses very beneficial when you know your threshold as you can see how close you are and by that increase or decrease your intensity level.


When you know your lactate threshold and maximum heart rate you can set up your exercise zones. Zones are used for setting up different levels of exercise. Normally athletes set up 4-5 zones and each zone is calculated on the percentate of the maximum heart rate. The percentate of the maximum heart rate is calculated by the following formula (to get 70% of your maximum heart rate) 189 (max.hr) x 0.7 (70%) = 132 .

This is an example how an athlete could set up his/her zones:

ZONE % Maximum heart rate

1. 60-70 % used as Active recovery, the stress on the body is so low that it can still recover at this level of exercise. Also known as the fat burn zone.

2. 70-80 % zone of natural long distance workouts.

3. 80-85% Exercise with short intervals up to 4 minutes (6-8 intervals). The rest between the intervals should be as long as one interval.

4. 85-95% Pure maxVo2 and lactate threshold training. 70 seconds maximum workout – rest for 20 seconds and go on for as many in intervals as possible.

Even if you know your lactate threshold and maximum heart rate it can take some time to set up your zones. You need to exercise at different levels of your maximum heart rate and see how your body reacts. Also remember that your body needs various amount of oxygen in different sports. If you for example are country skiing during the winter and run during the summer you should set up different zones for each sport. The Pulzit sports glasses are ideal to always keep an eye on what your heart and your body is up to in any wheater and light conditions.

© PULZIT 2012