Adjusting Heart Rate Zones

Posted by Karmen M. Whitham on Sep 17th 2020

Adjusting Heart Rate Zones

Dear SkiPost, 

Thanks for all the info/tips and ski content over the years. Had a quick question about adjusting heart rate zones as I start to use them more with training. Thus far Ive used the simple, classic calculations down from max heart rate along with the pre-loaded ones on my fitness watch (essentially they're the same). I was curious if there is an obvious way to adjust these as fitness changes/improves, as I assume most of us are more fit than the general public? Or do most individuals simply stick with the classic calculations for training, regardless of their fitness? Perhaps one of the fitness experts/coaches could chime in. Thanks, 


Dear D, 

Great question-this is a common one. In general, yes, skiers rely on HR-based training more heavily than many other sports. For that reason, it is advantageous to dial-in your HR zone to a calculation that is specific and accurate to each individual (as opposed to falling back on the generic calculations many HR monitors and guidelines outline). 

You can get these specific zones through lactate testing or a cardiovascular Vo2max test. These can be done in most cardiorespiratory labs in a hospital. Your practitioner should be able to guide you to the right place in your area where this elective test can be done--you won't regret it! 

Karmen M. Whitham M.S., LMT

Exercise Physiologist

SkiPost News Editor