March 2010 April 2010 May 2010 June 2010 July 2010
August 2010
September 2010 October 2010
November 2010
December 2010
January 2011
February 2011 March 2011 April 2011 May 2011 June 2011 July 2011 August 2011 September 2011 October 2011 November 2011 December 2011 January 2012 February 2012 March 2012 April 2012 May 2012 June 2012 July 2012 August 2012 September 2012 October 2012 November 2012 December 2012 January 2013 February 2013 March 2013 April 2013 May 2013 June 2013 July 2013 August 2013 September 2013 October 2013 November 2013 December 2013 January 2014 February 2014 March 2014 April 2014 May 2014 June 2014 July 2014 August 2014 September 2014 October 2014 November 2014 December 2014 January 2015 February 2015 March 2015 April 2015 May 2015 June 2015 July 2015 August 2015 September 2015 October 2015 November 2015 December 2015 January 2016 February 2016 March 2016 April 2016 May 2016 June 2016 July 2016 August 2016 September 2016 October 2016 November 2016 December 2016 January 2017 February 2017 March 2017 April 2017 May 2017 June 2017 July 2017 August 2017 September 2017 October 2017 November 2017 December 2017 January 2018 February 2018 March 2018 April 2018 May 2018 June 2018 July 2018 August 2018 September 2018 October 2018 November 2018 December 2018 January 2019 February 2019 March 2019 April 2019 May 2019 June 2019 July 2019 August 2019 September 2019 October 2019 November 2019 December 2019 January 2020 February 2020 March 2020 April 2020 May 2020 June 2020 July 2020 August 2020 September 2020 October 2020 November 2020 December 2020 January 2021 February 2021 March 2021 April 2021 May 2021 June 2021 July 2021 August 2021 September 2021 October 2021 November 2021 December 2021 January 2022 February 2022 March 2022 April 2022 May 2022 June 2022 July 2022 August 2022 September 2022 October 2022 November 2022 December 2022 January 2023 February 2023 March 2023 April 2023 May 2023 June 2023 July 2023 August 2023 September 2023 October 2023 November 2023 December 2023 January 2024 February 2024 March 2024 April 2024
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21
News Every Day |

Nobody Can Agree on What 'Zone 2' Cardio Is

This post is part of Find Your Fit Tech, Lifehacker's fitness wearables buying guide. I'm asking the tough questions about whether wearables can really improve your health, how to find the right one for you, and how to make the most of the data wearables can offer.

“Zone 2” is the term the fitness world has (mostly) agreed upon to describe the low intensity cardio most of us should be doing regularly. When you’re in zone 2, you’re working hard enough that you start breathing more heavily, but easy enough you could hold a conversation doing it. You stop a zone 2 session because your workout time is up, not because you’re too exhausted to continue.

But what heart rate should you expect to see on your fitness smartwatch when you’re in zone 2? That’s where people disagree.

What is zone 2 training?

As I’ve explained before, the name “zone 2” comes from heart rate training. In most of the popular systems, there are five zones. Zone 1 is your resting or recovery zone; zone 2 is low intensity cardio; and zones 3, 4, and 5 are for harder efforts. (I have a guide to the zone system here.)

The zones are usually defined as percentages of your maximum heart rate. So when I set my Apple Watch to keep me in zone 2 during my runs, it wants my heart rate to be between 60% and 70% of maximum. Even at an easy effort, I found I was commonly exceeding that limit. On the other hand, when I hop on a Peloton bike, my heart rate is often still in zone 1 when I could swear I’m riding riding at a zone 2 effort. It turns out that system defines zone 2 as 65% to 75% of my max.

Who is right? Well, everybody. “Zone 2” isn’t a term with a scientific definition. Anybody can split up heart rate zones any way they like. (Stay tuned for my patented eight-zone system, coming as soon as I can find a way to monetize it!) If you train with more than one gadget, or if you find yourself discussing heart rate training with a friend who uses a different system than you do, it’s worth knowing the differences.

What heart rate percentage counts as zone 2?

Let’s take a tour of some of the more popular wearables and fitness systems that measure heart rate in a five-zone system, or something like it.

First, it’s important to know that most (not all) of these percentages are based on your max heart rate. To know your max heart rate, you need to do a real-world test, not just calculate it from a formula. For example, one formula calculates my max heart rate as 178 beats per minute, and another says it should be 169; in reality, I’ve seen as high as 207 when I’m running, and 198 on a spin bike. (And yes, your max can differ for different types of cardio. My heart rate while I’m swimming would probably be lower still; when your body is horizontal your heart has an easier time moving your blood around.)

There are other systems to consider too. “Heart rate reserve” (HRR) means that you take the difference between your max and your resting heart rate (instead of between your max and zero) and calculate from there. Some gadgets will estimate a different benchmark, like your lactate threshold, and use that as a basis for the zones.

So, here are the zone 2 percentages from a variety of popular wearables, along with what they are percentages of:

  • Apple Watch: Zone 2 is 60-70% of your heart rate reserve, with your “resting” heart rate set to either 72 or a number the watch has picked up automatically, and your maximum calculated with the 220-age formula. (You can choose to set the zones manually, instead.)

  • Garmin: Depends on the model. Some set zone 2 to 60-70% of your max or HRR, but other devices will measure your lactate threshold and set the zone to 80-89% of your threshold heart rate. You can also set the zones manually, and some models allow you to set different heart rate zones for different sports such as swimming, cycling, and running.

  • Fitbit: instead of “zone 2,” Fitbit devices have a “fat burn” zone that they define as 50% to 69% of your max heart rate on some devices, and 40% to 69% of HRR on others. With either, your max is calculated according to the 220-age formula. You can set your max and your zones manually if you prefer.

Some other fitness platforms have defined heart rate zones to be used with your training. To name a few:

  • Orangetheory gets its name from the “orange” zone they want you to be in during workouts. Their equivalent of zone 2 would be the “blue” zone, at 61% to 70% of max heart rate. They use an “industry standard formula” to determine your max, which Self reports is 208 minus 0.7 times your age. After you’ve taken 20 classes, an algorithm will pick out a new max heart rate for you.

  • Peloton defines heart rate zone 2 (no relation to Power Zone 2) as 65% to 75% of your max heart rate. Max heart rate is 220-age unless you adjust it manually in your settings.

  • The American College of Sports Medicine defines “light” training, arguably their version of zone 2, as 57% to 63% of maximum heart rate. “Moderate” is 64% to 76%.

How do you know which benchmark to use?

Rather than obsessing over numbers, think about the big picture and decide what training effect you are trying to achieve with your workouts.

If you want to build your endurance with low-intensity cardio, or if you want to rack up minutes in this zone to help with weight loss, it doesn’t matter exactly what your heart rate works out to be. What matters is that you can do the exercise for a long time without fatiguing, but that you’re also not sandbagging so badly that you’re barely doing any work at all.

In other words, you can use your gadget’s heart rate numbers as a guide, but keep them honest with a reality check based on what fitness professionals call “perceived exertion.” If you want a number to focus on, you can rate your exertion on a scale of 1 to 10—called RPE for “rating of perceived exertion”—and aim for an RPE of about 3 to 4.

Over time, you’ll start to notice what heart rate tends to show on your watch when you’re at that level. I know that if my heart rate is in the 140’s to low 150’s, I’m doing a good job of keeping my jogging to a “zone 2" sort of effort. If it pokes up into the 160’s at the beginning of a run, that’s probably harder than I’m going for—but if it hits 160 at the end of a long run on a hot day, that’s fine. (Heart rate changes with the temperature and the length of your workout, a phenomenon called cardiac drift.)

Ultimately, this is probably the most accurate way of using heart rate to determine exercise intensity: figure out the intensity you want first, and use heart rate as a guide to be able to hit that same intensity on a consistent basis. After all, if there were one correct number that was easy to determine, the different gadgets and platforms would have all gotten on board with it by now. So trust your body more than your watch.


"Ахмат" одержал волевую победу над ЦСКА со счетом 2:1 в матче РПЛ

Четвертый том в серии ко Дню космонавтики

'Sticking his thumb in the judge's face': Michael Cohen says $1k gag order fines are joke

Trump trial: Jury selection to resume in New York City for 3rd day in former president's trial

Cyprus Closed Chess Championship names winners

Read also

Robbie Avila commits to SLU, follows Josh Schertz to the Billikens

Giants vs. Diamondbacks Player Props Today: LaMonte Wade Jr - April 21

???? Live : US House of Representatives approves new military aid for Israel

News, articles, comments, with a minute-by-minute update, now on

News Every Day

Cyprus Closed Chess Championship names winners — latest news 24/7. You can add your news instantly now — here

News Every Day

'Sticking his thumb in the judge's face': Michael Cohen says $1k gag order fines are joke

Sports today

Новости тенниса

Потапова победила Самсонову в первом круге турнира WTA в Штутгарте

Спорт в России и мире

"Ахмат" одержал волевую победу над ЦСКА со счетом 2:1 в матче РПЛ

All sports news today

Sports in Russia today


"Ахмат" одержал волевую победу над ЦСКА со счетом 2:1 в матче РПЛ

Новости России

Game News

The Witcher on Netflix will end after season 5: 'We're thrilled to be able to bring Andrzej Sapkowski's books to an epic and satisfying conclusion'

Game News

Draw It Story 1.3.0

Губернаторы России

Тренер "Ахмата" Адиев: победа над ЦСКА поможет в плане психологии

Пепельницу любителя скачек XIX века обнаружили в Хамовниках

С чего начать занятия спортом детям с лишним весом: мнение тренера

В России на треть вырос спрос на туристическое жилье в летний период

Подключение водонагревателя в Московской области

Валерий Гергиев – о Псковщине ее творцах: Псковичи должны гордится, что такой гениальный музыкант родился здесь

Орбакайте могут оштрафовать на 5 млн рублей за пение под фонограмму в Петербурге

Лариса Лужина раскрыла, был ли у нее роман с Владимиром Высоцким

Денис Мацуев представил музыкальный фестиваль в Ставрополе

Потапова победила Самсонову в первом круге турнира WTA в Штутгарте

Соперница Арины Соболенко разрыдалась на плече белоруски

Что чаще всего едят на завтрак дети Елены и Новака Джокович?

Появилась реакция WTA на победу Рыбакиной с рекордом

В Подмосковном центре охраны материнства и детства принимает новый врач

Kub Mash: в Москве водитель шесть раз протаранил машину семьи из Краснодара

Автор хита "Поезда" Женя Трофимов рассказал, почему Барнаул лучше Москвы

Силы ПВО сбили воздушные шары ВСУ над Московской и Тульской областями

Житель Горно - Алтайска оплатил задолженность по алиментам после ареста автомобиля

Путин поручил руководству Ставропольского края организовать фестиваль томата

"Ахмат" одержал волевую победу над ЦСКА со счетом 2:1 в матче РПЛ

Apple откроет доступ к NFC в iPhone сторонним сервисам в ЕС

"Память о счастье" в музее Тропинина в Москве.

С чего начать занятия спортом детям с лишним весом: мнение тренера

В Подмосковье прошла акция «Библионочь-2024»

Цифра дня: Егор Крид покупает машину Илона Маска за 40 млн рублей

Путин в России и мире

Персональные новости
Карина Кокс

«Накинулись на нас как голодные собаки на кусок мяса!» Участники шоу «Сокровища императора» обвинили Карину Кокс и Женю Искандарову в беспринципной игре ради победы

News Every Day

Life On The Green: Jack Nicklaus, golf legends impart wealth of wisdom in Ann Liguori’s new book

Friends of Today24

Музыкальные новости

Персональные новости