How to Calculate Your Maximum Heart Rate

To optimize your workouts by training with your heart rate, you need to find your maximum and/or resting heart rate. There are several ways to find these numbers, but the most accurate way is to consult with a Human Performance Laboratory to conduct a metabolic exercise stress assessment. Of course, not everyone has time to do this, so to make things easy for you, we’ve put together this simple guide on how to calculate your maximum heart rate.


MAXIMUM HEART RATE

There are two ways to find your Maximum Heart Rate (MHR), as follows:

Method A

MHR = 211− (0.64 x your age)

 

Method B


  1. Put on a heart rate monitor.

  2. Run or cycle at a moderate pace for 15-20 minutes.

  3. Sprint or cycle hard for 1-2 minutes, then note your heart rate and add another 5 beats per minute (BPM).

  4. The number you get from Step 3 will provide you with your approximate maximum heart rate.

To find out your Resting Heart Rate, and a more comprehensive look at all heart rate zones, check out this article.

 
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Chris
Monday, July 25th, 2016 at 8:04PM
The age based calculation only gives you an *average* max heart rate for people of that age. In reality there is a whole range of MHRs that people of that age could have.
Sue Jacobson
Sunday, June 5th, 2016 at 7:09PM
I've seen heart rates higher than what should be possible too. My max HR should be 166, but I've seen 184.
Carlo
Monday, May 30th, 2016 at 9:47PM
I am 44. I have a recording of a brisk walk exercise in my iPhone interfaced to Mio Alpha where my maximum heart rate got to 191 bpm. This looks out of range using the formula MHR = 214 – (0.8 x your age in years). What's a possible explanation for this?
Chab
Monday, March 21st, 2016 at 2:12PM
Hi Benny, Set your max heart rate to 155bpm in the setup page. Never go beyond 155bpm. The 1 zone and the 5 zone settings will be adjusted accordingly.
LEE JONES
Saturday, February 27th, 2016 at 2:34PM
At 68 my problem is atrial stenosis (aortic valve 60% functional) and I was told to stay at 105bpm max. After subsequent asthma treatment, my comfortable bpm was 135 while swimming, and I have topped my "max "160 bpm several times. My cardiologist says now that my "mild stenosis" appears to be having little effect on my fitness program - keep up the good work! Yesterday's final 200m "sprint for me" gave a 167bpm max and a 140bpm average during the "sprint". My cardiologist's inferred advice to me was to let my body find its own bpm max - just go slow when improving my general fitness level. Also, he's 85 with a busy practice - so he clearly practices what he preaches!
Benny Canare
Thursday, February 11th, 2016 at 4:08PM
I have had two heart attacks already. When I had my cardiac rehab, I was told not to go higher than 155bpm on my heart rate when I exercise. When I check what my max heart rate should be it was at 172. I think that is way too high for me.
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