Indoor Sport Services Training Guide
Our Indoor Rowing Training Guide is the ultimate training resource for the Indoor Rower. Written by top education and coaching specialists, it includes information on technique and training, with programmes on cross-training, 2,000m and marathon race training, weight management and keep fit. There are guest chapters written by top names such as Jurgen Grobler and Chris Shambrook as well as dedicated sections on psychology, nutrition and weight training.
Physiology - Training Intensity<< Your BodyTraining Bands >>
With improved knowledge of the energy systems that we use during exercise we can now move away from the "no pain, no gain" approach to training that has been prevalent, even recently, in some sports training. Exercise physiology has come a long way in the last fifty years and is now a much more exact science, capable of providing individuals with training programmes specific to their requirements. This section of the Training Guide aims to outline how varying the intensity of training can be used to bring about specific improvements in fitness with a much lower risk of illness or injury than the "no pain, no gain" philosophy. For all but the most experienced elite athletes the best way of monitoring training intensity is by ensuring that the heart rate is in the correct training zone. In order to do this we must have an understanding of resting heart rate, maximum heart rate and the difference between them - the heart rate range, the aerobic threshold and the anaerobic threshold, so that the correct training zones can be calculated.
Resting Heart Rate (RHR)
The heart, along with all of the other major organs in the body, is controlled directly by the autonomous nervous system; this means that we have limited conscious control over them. The heart responds directly to the demands placed upon it by the functions of the body. During rest the majority of blood flow is to the brain and major organs. To be able to identify the energy requirements of exercise and the correct training bands for heart rate we need to have a baseline; the resting heart rate. This can be measured by taking your heart rate as soon as you wake up, even before getting out of bed. Keeping a record of your resting heart rate can also help monitor your immune system thereby preventing over training and minimising the likelihood of getting ill. This is because your resting heart rate becomes elevated when your immune system is struggling to fight off infection. If you notice an unexplained rise in RHR of more than six to eight beats per minute then you should not train until it has returned to normal.
Maximum Heart Rate (MHR)
Maximum heart rate will vary depending on what you are doing to bring your heart rate up. Running will elicit a higher maximum heart rate than rowing which in turn will elicit a higher maximum than swimming. This is due in part to the fact that runners are upright and so the heart has to overcome the gravitational pull; rowers are seated and so the effects of gravity are reduced and swimmers are prone further reducing the gravitational pull. It is important to know what your maximum heart rate is as it enables you to calculate the correct training bands for heart rate. One method of calculating MHR is to use the equation MHR = 220 age, but this can be very inaccurate, having an error of ±15/20 beats per minute (BPM). A more accurate method of finding your MHR is given in Physiological Tools in Section 3 : Physiology.
Heart Rate Range (HRR)
Heart rate range is determined by subtracting the resting heart rate from the maximum heart rate. When training bands are identified by percentages of heart rate, it is percentage of the HRR that is referred to. This value is then added to the RHR to give the training heart rate.
The Aerobic Threshold
Exercise brings about an increase in lactic acid in the blood, which at rest would be around 1mmol. The aerobic threshold is defined as a blood lactate concentration of 2mmols. This normally occurs at approximately 60% of maximum heart rate and is the lowest intensity that we regularly train at.
The Anaerobic Threshold (AT)
The anaerobic threshold is measured at 4mmols. At this point the lactic acid production is at the maximum level at which it can be metabolised and so it starts to accumulate in the working muscles, greatly reducing their efficiency. Anaerobic threshold is frequently measured as a percentage of aerobic capacity or VO2 max and can be anywhere in the range of 50% to 85% of VO2 max depending on fitness.
Because the heart has a limit on how fast it can beat there comes a stage where any further increase in demand for oxygen cannot be met. At this point there is a deflection in the hear rate/work rate graph (see below). The rate of increase slows down and eventually plateaus out at heart rate maximum. Many physiologists identify this point of deflection as the anaerobic threshold and exercise carried out above this level is anaerobic.
Training in this band has a greater effect on the development of the heart than training at a lower intensity. The development of muscular efficiency continues at a higher intensity but because training in this band is more physically demanding than aerobic training it cannot b sustained. Consequently although muscular efficiency is being trained at a higher rate it i for less overall time and therefore may not yield the same benefits.
For people with limited time to train, exercise within this band will have the greatest short-term effect.
Training Heart Rate
Training heart rates are divided into bands. These bands are determined by four key physiological points; resting heart rate, maximum heart rate, heart rate at aerobic threshold and heart rate at anaerobic threshold. In an unfit person the anaerobic threshold can occur as low as 50% of maximum heart rate but in a highly trained athlete this can be as high as 85% of maximum heart rate.
When starting out on a training regime, either from scratch or after several years of no regular exercise, then the simple method of determining your training heart rate can be used This simply requires you to subtract your age from a nominal figure of 220, which represent maximum heart rate. You then apply the relevant percentage referred to in the training programmes to this figure. Any errors in this method will be on the safe side but as you get fitter you may want to use the heart rate range method.
If you have been exercising regularly you should calculate your maximum heart rate using the test in Physiological Tools in Section 3 : Physiology and then calculate your training bands accordingly.