# Karvonen vs conventional heart rate zones

#### Leon

##### New Member
What method do you use for calculating your heart rate zones and why ?<br />Conventional or Karvonen ?<br /><br />I have always used the Karvonen equation, however with the much higher heart rates (especialy at lower intensity zones) I have always wondered if one does not end up overtraining.<br /><br />Anybody else have a view on this matter ?<br /><br />Leon

There is a major difference between the Karvonen method and the % of total method in the low to medium range but the difference between the two methods becomes reduces dramatically in the 'high' range where most interval work is done. See below.....<br /><br />My max: 187bpm<br />My resting: 42bpm<br /><br /> Karvonen Method % of total method<br />40% 100 75<br />50% 114 93<br />60% 129 112<br />70% 143 130<br />80% 158 149<br />90% 172 168<br /><br />I use the Karvonen method because using the % of total method leaves me feeling like I haven't worked at all.<br /><br />My long steady rides are done at 60 - 70%. Using the % of total method would mean 112-130bpm - the only way I can achieve that is riding downhill with a tail wind! 129-143 (Karvenon method) is much more realistic.<br /><br />Thumbs down to Polar who seem to use the % of total method to calculate their % of max on the S710 computer....<br /><br />

[quote author=Eldron link=board=19;threadid=2836;start=0#msg23999 date=1041846215]<br />Thumbs down to Polar who seem to use the % of total method to calculate their % of max on the S710 computer....<br />[/quote]<br /><br />You don't have to use this with the polar HRM though.....you can enter your own max HR and set your own zones.<br /><br />cheers

When you use the Karvonen, or Heart Rate Reserve training zones, it's imperative to bear in mind that the zones *increase* (i.e., are 'harder') if you are ill, or not recovered from previous training, which of course would be contraindicated.<br /><br />Personally, if i'm forced to use HR training zones, i prefer to use the four levels of training that Peter Keen developed in the late '80's. This would give (endurance) zones of <br />Level 1 = 137 - 142 b/min (1.5 to 6 hrs)<br />Low level 2 = 142 - 147 b/min (1 to 4 hrs)<br /><br />Ric<br /><br /><br /><br />[quote author=Eldron link=board=19;threadid=2836;start=0#msg23999 date=1041846215]<br />There is a major difference between the Karvonen method and the % of total method in the low to medium range but the difference between the two methods becomes reduces dramatically in the 'high' range where most interval work is done. See below.....<br /><br />My max: 187bpm<br />My resting: 42bpm<br /><br /> Karvonen Method % of total method<br />40% 100 75<br />50% 114 93<br />60% 129 112<br />70% 143 130<br />80% 158 149<br />90% 172 168<br /><br />I use the Karvonen method because using the % of total method leaves me feeling like I haven't worked at all.<br /><br />My long steady rides are done at 60 - 70%. Using the % of total method would mean 112-130bpm - the only way I can achieve that is riding downhill with a tail wind! 129-143 (Karvenon method) is much more realistic.<br /><br />Thumbs down to Polar who seem to use the % of total method to calculate their % of max on the S710 computer....<br /><br /><br />[/quote]

[quote author=Steve link=board=19;threadid=2836;start=0#msg24004 date=1041849156]<br />You don't have to use this with the polar HRM though.....you can enter your own max HR and set your own zones.<br /><br />cheers<br />[/quote]<br /><br />When you're riding you can flick between actual heart rate, average heart rate and % of max - that's the one that uses the % of total method rather than the Karvonen method. A bit irritating really cos I have stick my heart rate zones on the stem and then check the % of max manually.<br /><br />

I use something similar to karvonen but percentages of prof.Vrijens of the Univ.of Gent.<br />Recup: -58%<br />Extensive endurance : Tussen 59%-68%<br />Intensive endurance : Tussen 69%-78%<br />around overlagpols : 79%-85%<br />resistance?? : + 87%<br />fattraining 69%-75% of total pols.<br />Fatmax: 71% v/d total pols.<br /><br />and I dont use 220- my age but actual max heart rate, easy to test and not dangerous when you are somewhat fit. For me actual VS formual doesn't defer that much(4-5beats a min) but A friend of mine has a difference of 28 beats between actual and 220-age, so its worth checking because you might be persuiing inreachable rates <br />

Maarten<br /><br />Are your percentages calculated using Karvonen ?<br /><br />I agree with comments on max Heart rate. The age related formula for me is a joke. According to the formula mine should be 184. I have pushed it to 197.<br />I had a friend who claimed he pushed his to 221 during rowing. That made him -1 years old.<br /><br />Leon

leon,<br /><br />Not actually totally Karvonen<br /><br />Same system max heart rate- rest heart rate and then percentages. But the percentages I use are based upon the experience of Vrijens and the huge databank he has. Percentages dont vary that much from the Karvonen system. And as mentionned actual max heart rate.<br /><br />My buddy had the opposite of you when he was 17 there was no way of pushing his heart rate above 175 entering the red zone alreday in the 150's where upon 220-age he would just be doing a moderate training. High max rate has no actual significance upon the effort you might be able to deliver, my buddy was in 7th or 8 in the national victory rankings that year with most of the times victory by going solo at about 10 to 30 km from the finish line. <br /><br /><br /><br />

I was using the Karvonen zones but then i got my VO2 and heart rates tested properly and so i use the results of that test now. I'd have to say that it was well worth the money to get some objective personalised training parameters.

I'm using Peter Keen's 6 zones of training, which build on those mentioned by Ric. The limitations of the 'heart rate reserve' method of determining zones are significant (see ric's post). Applying any zone system correctly beats, poor use of the best zone system! Remember that zone systems stop at 100% of max heart rate, how do people quantify the work that they do at intensities that should elicit 100%+ of their rate e.g. sprinting??

[quote author=Eldron link=board=19;threadid=2836;start=0#msg24009 date=1041856054]<br />When you're riding you can flick between actual heart rate, average heart rate and % of max - that's the one that uses the % of total method rather than the Karvonen method. A bit irritating really cos I have stick my heart rate zones on the stem and then check the % of max manually.<br /><br /><br />[/quote]<br />Hi Eldron<br /><br />This is a first post for me and I hope this will be enlightening and not stating the obvious.<br /><br />I use a Polar S210 and did a serious programming exercise on it when I first got it. <br />I checked my workouts and found that there were only about 4 or 5 really different ones.<br />Zone 2 Recovery,<br />Zone 3,<br />Zone 4 + 5<br />and Intervals.<br /><br />I programmed the different Exercise sets with my Zones and named them appropriately.<br />Exercise set 2 = Zone 2 with the necessary high and lower limits, a warmup period, the training interval in the zone(manual or timed) and a cool down period. <br />Execise set 3 = Zone 3 etc etc etc.<br />You could also use the recovery feature if required to check recovery at end of main interval, before going into cool down.<br /><br />The interval set I amend depending on what intervals I'm doing. <br />EG: Indoors doing 'Muscle Tension' exercise would have a warmup period in Zone 2+3, then 10 intervals of 10 minutes in whatever zone you get too with resting intervals in between.<br />And finally a cooldown period.<br /><br />I simply select whichever exercise set is required depending on my workout and the S210 does the rest. <br /><br />Hope this helps you to get rid of the stickers on your bars.

[quote author=Moab_Rob link=board=19;threadid=2836;start=0#msg24096 date=1042103481]<br />Hi Eldron<br /><br />This is a first post for me and I hope this will be enlightening and not stating the obvious.<br /><br />I use a Polar S210 and did a serious programming exercise on it when I first got it. <br />I checked my workouts and found that there were only about 4 or 5 really different ones.<br />Zone 2 Recovery,<br />Zone 3,<br />Zone 4 + 5<br />and Intervals.<br /><br />I programmed the different Exercise sets with my Zones and named them appropriately.<br />Exercise set 2 = Zone 2 with the necessary high and lower limits, a warmup period, the training interval in the zone(manual or timed) and a cool down period. <br />Execise set 3 = Zone 3 etc etc etc.<br />You could also use the recovery feature if required to check recovery at end of main interval, before going into cool down.<br /><br />The interval set I amend depending on what intervals I'm doing. <br />EG: Indoors doing 'Muscle Tension' exercise would have a warmup period in Zone 2+3, then 10 intervals of 10 minutes in whatever zone you get too with resting intervals in between.<br />And finally a cooldown period.<br /><br />I simply select whichever exercise set is required depending on my workout and the S210 does the rest. <br /><br />Hope this helps you to get rid of the stickers on your bars.<br />[/quote]<br /><br />Moab_Rob (cool nick),<br /><br />Yeah I have some exercise sets programmed in but Tuesday is our &quot;race replication day&quot; aka see how badly you can whoop your buddies day (generally racing for every hill top, speed sign, pot hole and air molecule). I just want to see how badly I'm suffering so I use the instant % of max heart rate and Polar only does the straight % of max.<br /><br />Unfortunately the stickers are there to stay until I've memorised my Karvonen %'s.<br /><br />ps: Welcome to the site - it's the best cycling based human interactiion site I've come across! Viva cyclingforums.com viva!!!

Thanks Eldron, enjoy Tuesdays ride. ;D<br /><br />For anyone else who might not know, the S210 can receive updates from the Polar PC software using the Sonic Link. If I remember correctly, you just put the watch on the 'Options' screen and send on the PC Polar software. So you S210 owners find a buddy with the software and borrow his PC. :-X<br /> <br />Polar don't advertise this fact for some reason. &gt;

Hi all <br /><br /> I like to use heart rate reserve, Its the only real way of having heart rate zones with some riders having a resting heart rate of 30bpm &amp; others at 80bpm you have to take into account your resting pulse as well as your Max pulse. These figures give you a idea of the capacity of your heart &amp; its top end power. If I ride at 70% heart rate reserve it will feel just the same as when you ride at 70% heart rate reserve. <br /><br />The amount of Levels you set are completely up to you but when you set them base them on heart rate reserve &amp; experience, for me I also use Peter keens levels (Rec, 1-4) but based on the above method. <br /><br />I have made a heart rate zone calculator <br />level calculator

Is karvonen a finnish person. Karvonen is a finnish family name<br /><br />Well, I'm from Finland and I've never heard about karvonen's heart rate theories.<br /><br />In my experience, cyclist should just train huge amounts in order to get into form. My friend is professional rider in Italy and he told me that they ride some 6 hour rides 2-3 times a week...fast...<br /><br />Offcourse pros are pros

Ricstern/2LAP<br /><br />Where can I find out more about the Peter Keen zones that you mentioned in your posts.<br /><br />Will be gratefull for any references or other information.<br /><br /><br />Leon

Leon,<br /><br />I'm not specifically sure where you can find the information -- I know Peter doesn't have a web site per se. <br /><br />However, in an article i wrote for cyclingnews.com awhile back about training with power output and power output zones, i made a vague comparison to Peter's zones, and there's also the physiological benefit of these zones too.<br />http://www.cyclingnews.com/fitness/?id=powerstern it's also at<br />http://www.abcc.freeserve.co.uk/powertrain1.html<br /><br />2Lap, might have more detailed info on Peter's zones<br /><br />Cheers<br />Ric

Originally posted by Leon
What method do you use for calculating your heart rate zones and why ?<br />Conventional or Karvonen ?<br /><br />I have always used the Karvonen equation, however with the much higher heart rates (especialy at lower intensity zones) I have always wondered if one does not end up overtraining.<br /><br />Anybody else have a view on this matter ?<br /><br />Leon

Last time I asked this question there were 10 000 less members on this forum.
Time to raise the topic again ?

Leon

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