Heart Rate Training Zones

Heart rate training zones provide athletes and coaches further insights in to outcomes of a training session.

Heart rate data (internal load) can be effectively combined with GPS data (external load) to gain a deeper understanding of the loads placed on athletes. 

Heart rate training zones are sub-divided in to five (5) zones. These zones are based on the percentage of an athletes maximum heart rate.

By understanding the relative time of a performance that an athlete spends in each heart rate training zone one can conclude the likely training effect (it is important to consider that improvements will only occur over a long period of time, not after one session).

Note: If your heart rate is below 50% of your estimated maximum it will not display on the heart rate intervals graph.

Zone #

% of Max HR

Potential Training Outcomes



The typical match demands for field based sports will be similar to those that are experienced in ‘Zone 5’. To replicate these demands in training it would require short drills/intervals at a very high intensity. You must then allow sufficient time to recover after each drill.




‘Zone 4’ provides a stimulus similar to that during less intense periods of match play. It is safe to assume that this zone would be a predominantly aerobic training zone. Time spent training in zone 4 could involve longer intervals followed by a recovery.



Training in ‘Zone 3’ will likely have an endurance training effect. Due to this being an aerobic zone, training to be comfortable in this zone would benefit team sport athletes well. Spending longer periods training in zone 3 would help develop more efficient athletes and improve recovery times when training in higher zones.



‘Zone 2’ involves training at a relatively low intensity compared to what an athlete is capable of. This zone would be beneficial when focusing on recovery elements of training. Longer duration in this zone will allow more time for athletes to recover between bouts. But be careful that athletes do not spend an abundance of time in this zone as the training effect may be minimal or non existent.



Any time spent in ‘Zone 1’ 50-60% of an athletes maximum heart rate will likely have no positive benefits on performance.

If you do find significant volumes of training are spent in zone 1 there may be a case to modify drills to increase volume and/or intensity.