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Workout Zones for Indoor Biking / Spinning




Learn to monitor your heart rate zones to target the right type of workout

Indoor cycling provides a no-impact, calorie-blasting workout that strengthens muscles and gets your heart pumping. An appealing aspect of indoor biking and spinning is that it allows you to very precisely target varying fitness goals—whether active recovery, endurance or high-intensity training—by monitoring your heart rate or workout zones.

There are six zones you can monitor during your spin workouts. As you gain fitness, you’ll notice your speed increase within a given heart rate zone—a sure sign of increasing fitness.


The first step to establishing your zones is determining your maximum heart rate. Each heart rate zone is just a percentage of your maximum heart rate (MHR) measured in beats per minute (BPM). Maximum heart rate varies among individuals, but the most common way to calculate your maximum heart rate is to use the following formula:

220 - Age = MHR
For example, for a 30-year-old: 220 - 30 years = 190 BPM.

Once you know your estimated maximum heart rate, you can calculate your heart rate training zones as follows.


Zone 1: Active Recovery and Fat Burning Zone 55-65% MHR

Zone 1 is used for active recovery and fat burning—the zone where the body uses slow-burning fat stores as its primary fuel. All recovery rides should be done in zone 1; it will increase blood flow to muscles, aiding in recovery and decreasing muscle soreness. All warm-ups and cool-downs should be done in zone 1, including recovery blocks during interval workouts.

Zone 2: Endurance Zone 65-75% MHR

Zone 2 is a pace you can hold all day, which helps build endurance. Use it for your long rides, and as you work through warm-ups before intense workouts.

Zone 3: Intensity Endurance Zone 75-82% MHR

Zone 3 is a step up that will require more power and tire legs and lungs more quickly. After you're been training steadily, this will be your pace for longer rides.

Zone 4: Threshold Zone 82-89% MHR

Zone 4 is called the threshold zone because you'll be near your limit, but at a more sustainable pace. Your legs will burn but you'll achieve noticeable results when using this zone for interval training.

Zone 5: VO2 Max Zone 89-94% MHR

VO2 stands for volume of oxygen, and zone 5 takes your body beyond its ability to supply adequate oxygen to your muscles. Expect burning muscles, heavy breathing and sweating, and to reach exhaustion in just few minutes. This is the highest intensity you should use in interval training.

Zone 6: Anaerobic Capacity Zone 94-100% MHR

Zone 6 is your very maximum effort, like you'd use in a sprint to the finish line. Your body cannot supply the oxygen needed, so you're completely anaerobic. This is your very limit, which you won't be able to hold. Heart rate is a lagging indicator, so by the time your heart rate hits its max, your speed will have already begun to slow.