Some people love strength training, others are endurance fanatics. If you want to sustainably optimize your fitness training, you can adapt it to your own heart rate. Because this is “a specific stress marker that allows statements to be made about the physical reaction in relation to endurance stress,” reveal training scientist Thomas Gronwald and sports scientist Alexander Törpel, authors of “Full in the Beat,” in an interview with the news agency spot on news.

Prof. Dr. phil. habil. Thomas Gronwald heads the Performance, Neuroscience, Therapy and Health Department at the MSH Medical School Hamburg and is a training scientist and methodologist with a focus on stress and strain control.

Dr. phil. Alexander Törpel is a sports scientist and has been working as a national diagnostics coach for the German Swimming Association since the end of 2019. V. (DSV).

“Full of time: Endurance training in the rhythm of the heartbeat: measure heart rate, individualize training, achieve top performance” by Thomas Gronwald and Alexander Törpel

Thomas Gronwald: Heart rate is a specific stress marker that allows statements to be made about the physical reaction in relation to endurance stress. For over 50 years, heart rate has been recorded and analyzed synchronously with exercise using various measuring principles. Using such a stress-oriented approach, we can put the physical reaction at the center of the interpretation of acute training effects.

Alexander Törpel: The heart rate can be recorded precisely using a chest strap with a sensor. This electrophysiological measurement principle uses a simplified electrode-based measurement that is derived from the gold standard of ECG registration. Another measurement principle that is now widely used is photoplethysmography (PPG) using an optical method. It is recommended to apply the sensor to the forearm or upper arm in order to increase the measurement accuracy, which is also heavily dependent on the blood flow in the tissue being detected. The equipment is now very easy to access and use, even without the expertise of a trainer.

There is no fixed heart rate value that athletes can use as a guide. The better trained you are, the lower your resting heart rate is. This is the heart rate you have when you wake up in the morning.

A value of less than 60 beats per minute is an indicator of a decent level of fitness. Competitive athletes often have a resting heart rate of 40 or less. If your resting heart rate is over 70, this is a sign of poor fitness level. The resting heart rate is also a seismograph for stress or the beginning of an infection.

If your resting heart rate increases relatively suddenly by several beats, this is a warning signal and can be a sign of overtraining. Then you should take a longer regeneration phase.

Which pulse range is the right one for training?

This depends on factors such as fitness level, training goal and age: The optimal training pulse is usually between 60 percent (for beginners) and 80 percent (for ambitious athletes) of the maximum heart rate.


Törpel: Depending on what goal you are pursuing, wearing a heart rate monitor can provide information about your activity level at work and in your free time through the actually measured heart rate, for example in relation to the maximum heart rate, measured in a stress test, or to the resting heart rate, measured the morning after the waking up.

Gronwald: Diagnostic comparison values ​​are required to interpret heart rate regulation. The maximum heart rate or the resting heart rate already mentioned can be used to determine a high and a low anchor or reference point, which can usually vary from individual to individual. In addition, these values ​​can be measured and compared repeatedly. The maximum heart rate changes only very slightly with changes in performance, but decreases with age. The resting heart rate decreases as specific endurance capacity increases and reacts sensitively to the current general stress situation.

Under submaximal comparable load (e.g. running at 12 km/h), the average exercise heart rate can be used to make statements about the relationship between load and strain. With increasing performance, there is also an economization of cardiovascular activity, i.e. a decrease in the stress heart rate with the same load and repeated measurements.

Törpel: Through regular, specific endurance training, especially through training with the low-intensity continuous method and high-intensity interval training, cardiovascular activity is economized. For the same stress or environmental situation (e.g. at rest early after waking up, or running at the same speed and outside temperature) fewer heartbeats are required and the heart rate drops. This is primarily related to functional and later structural adaptation phenomena (e.g. due to increased stroke volume).

Gronwald: I can use my heart rate to understand or define my training intensity, which means that the intensity of the training can be controlled. The heart rate has a certain inertia until it adapts to current stress situations or changes in stress. Against this background, by measuring the heart rate, intensities in the low to moderate and sometimes also intense intensity range can be easily monitored and controlled by the heart rate from an exercise duration of 1 to 2 minutes. There are different approaches available to define intensity zones of the heart rate for endurance training – we describe these comprehensively in our book in order to provide an overview of selecting the appropriate approach for each individual. Once intensity zones for the heart rate have been determined, endurance training can start according to an endurance training method and the load can be adjusted if necessary in order to provide an optimal training stimulus.

Törpel: Stress-oriented endurance training is also recommended for recreational and fitness athletes as well as for health sports. This does not mean that training always has to be based on heart rate, but in order to provide individual and specific stimuli, it should be checked regularly whether the training stimuli, set by the stress markers (e.g. speed, wattage, duration, distance), are within the scope of planning the training control arrives in the organism.

Törpel: The success of training is always dependent on effective stimulation. The precise specification of a training stimulus is more important for better trained people than for little or untrained people. For people with little or no training, endurance training is primarily about moving regularly and continuously. Monitoring and controlling the intensity based on the heart rate can be helpful and supportive. For better-trained people, the focus is on the precise definition of intensity ranges for adequate stimulation in conjunction with endurance training methods. The heart rate can also be a faithful companion – the coach on your wrist, so to speak.

Gronwald: The advantages are:

By (eee/spot)

The original for this article “You want more endurance? Then you should have a value in mind” comes from spot on news.