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How to Calculate Maximum & Minimum Heart Rate

To gauge the success of any exercise program, you can rely on several measurements such as the weight lost or gained, changes in muscle mass or the time it takes to complete a training circuit. While some of these methods require specific technology, one that does not is knowing your maximum and minimum training heart rate. These numbers can help you change, drop or add an exercise if you don’t meet your specified goals.

Calculate your maximum heart rate in beats per minute by subtracting your age from 220. For example, if you are 35 years old, 220 minus 35 equals a maximum rate of 185.

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Find your minimum training rate by taking 60 to 70 percent of the maximum. For example, 185 times .60 equals 111 and 185 times .7 equals 129.5. Train within the range of 60-70 percent of maximum to burn fat and develop endurance.

Determine your aerobic zone by using 70-80 percent of the maximum. For example, 185 times .8 equals 148. Training between 129 to 148 beats per minute develops your cardiovascular system.

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Find your anaerobic zone by taking 80-90 percent of the maximum. For example, 185 times .9 equals 166.5. Training at this level or higher is useful only for short bursts of activity to develop strength or speed. Otherwise, you can increase the production of lactic acid to the point of pain. It is thus only recommended for very fit and highly-trained individuals.


Find your heart rate by feeling for your pulse using your pointer and middle finger on your wrist vein. Count the number of beats in 20 seconds and multiply that number by three. For example, you may count 40 beats in 20 seconds, multiplied by three for a rate of 120. If you can’t find your wrist pulse, try feeling for the jugular vein on your neck.