The Teenage Maximum Heart Rate

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During teenage years, the body undergoes numerous changes that make it difficult to test cardiovascular fitness for teens. Knowing the maximum heart rate will assist in determining safe target heart rate zones and help to assess fitness levels. You can develop safe fitness programming for teens using a simple formula that establishes upper limits.


Maximum heart rate is referred to as the highest number of times a heart beats in one minute. Maximum heart rates for healthy teenagers range from 201 to 207 beats per minute, according to the American Heart Association. Maximum heart rate levels drop about 10 beats per minute every decade in a person's life.

Calculate Maximum Heart Rate

Determine maximum heart rate by subtracting your age from the number 220, explains the American Council on Exercise explains. This formula is strictly based on age; factors such as history of smoking can negatively affect heart rates.

Measure Heart Rate

The American Council on Exercise explains "the radial pulse at the base of the thumb and the carotid pulse at the side of the neck are used to determine heart rate." By placing the first two fingers of one hand on either site, heart rates can be easily determined. Establishing heart rates in beats per minute is done by multiplying the number of beats per 10 seconds by six.

FactorsThat Effect Maximum Heart Rate

The 220 - age = maximum heart rate formula is simply an estimate. Inactive individuals and those who smoke can potentially have a negative impact on accuracy of this formula. Limits should be discussed with a physician before exercise. Taking health history into account, physicians can best prescribe a safe exercise regimen within reasonable levels.

Determine Target HR from Maximum Levels

According to the American Council on Exercise, "working ranges are from 50 to 80 percent of your maximal heart rate." For example, if maximal heart rate is 180 beats per minute, the low end of the range or 50 percent of max, would be 90 beats per minute, and the high end of the range or 80 percent of max would be 144 beats per minute.