Heart Rate Training Programs
How Do Heart Rate Training Programs Work?
Note, not all fitness equipment have heart rate programs, so check the machine specifications before your buy. To get the best results from your rowing machine (or any type of fitness equipment) you wear a heart rate monitor that's compatible with the monitor (again check the manufacturer spec.).
The console will set the resistance level or target stroke rate to get your heart pumping at the required rate (see below to calculate yours). If you heart rate increases beyond the upper limit, the program will reduce the resistance or drop your target stroke rate. Alternatively, if your pulse drops below your level, it will increase resistance and/ or your stroke rate to get it back up again. Whether it's resistance or target stroke rate that changes depends on the program you're using.
You may ask why reduce the workload if your heart rate goes above the upper limit - surely it's better to keep working hard? Remember the objective is to keep you training for the optimum time. If you get tired after 10 minutes because you're working too hard, you'll stop. Yet if you train within the 60 - 80% limit, you'll row for longer and therefore burn more calories,
But even ten minutes training in the heart rate zone can be more beneficial than twenty minutes below the required rate.
How To Calculate Your Maximum Heart Rate
The following is an extract from The Complete Rowing Machine Workout Program (click here for info) - a downloadable program we can recommend to all levels of rowers.
Your maximum heart rate is the limit your pulse should reach during training. If it goes higher than this for sustained periods, you are putting your heart (and health) at risk. It's quite a straight forward formula to work out your safe maximum heart rate. Your target heart rate for optimum training depends on your age and current level of fitness.
Here's a few examples.
Max Heart Rate = 220 - your age
So if you're 38 your max heart rate is 182 (therefore your pulse should not go higher than this when training.
Target (or optimum) Heart Rate = Max. Heart Rate x h_percent%
(h_percent = 60% for beginner, 75% for intermediate, 85% for elite)
So if you're 42 and a beginner to fitness training, your target heart rate is
(220 - 42) x 60% = 106
If you're 36 and an intermediate rower, your target rate would be
(220 - 36) x 75% = 138
Once you've calculated your target heart rate you can use this information for your heart rate programs to get the maximum benefit from your workout.
Example of a Heart Rate Training Session
Try this. Note, if you don't have a heart rate monitor you can always take a reading using your middle and forefingers just below you jaw (the carotid artery), or hand one your chest. Obviously, you have to stop to measure it, but you can soon get an idea of the work rate you need to maintain to stay in your target zone.
For stroke rate, repeat above process to find the right level for getting into the magic zone. You should feel comfortable but challenged - if you find it hard work, drop the % rate and build over the following weeks.
One of the best rowers on the market with heart rate training programs in our view is the Lifecore R100 .
Also see our beginner and intermediate rowing machine workouts.
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