How does Garmin calculate heart rate zones?

In this guide, we will talk about how Garmin calculate heart rate zones, how high heart rate is calculated, the Heart Rate Zone classification, how to set your heart rate zone in Garmin Connect and some additional things you may want to consider.

How does Garmin calculate heart rate zones?

If you wonder how Garmin calculates heart rate zones, here we have an answer. Heart rate zones are a fairly common concept across fitness devices these days. In the case of Garmin devices, the Garmin connect heart rate zones are displayed as heartbeats per minute or calculated based on percentages of your maximum heart rate. You can customize your Heart rate zones on the Garmin Connect app or web to better reflect your current fitness level.

In other words, the Heart Rate Zones or HR zones, monitor how hard your training or workout is. There are five heart rate zones based on the intensity of your training and your Maximum Heart Rate. Some concepts are worth mentioning related to the different types of workout such as frequency, duration and intensity. 

  • Frequency: this means how many times you exercise during a set period of time, for instance, during a week or month.
  • Duration: this means how long you have exercised at a time, which is usually counted in minutes.
  • Intensity: this measures how hard your body is working during a session. 

How is High Heart Rate Calculated?

Your Garmin device can track your heart rate as you use it throughout the day, whether you are just running around work or running in the park, and even when you are sleeping at night. As mentioned, your heart rate is measured in beats per minute or bpm and can vary from one person to the other depending on certain factors such as age and/or fitness level. 

As indicated by Garmin Support, “High heart rate is the highest observed heart rate for a particular day. This will probably be higher on days you exercise, and you can expect it to fluctuate more than your resting heart rate”. 

Finally, you may calculate or estimate your max heart rate by using an equation. Your Garmin connect calculates it by subtracting your age from 220 for males and 226 for females. However, this is only an estimate based on population averages and the only way of knowing for sure is to measure it yourself. 

How does Garmin calculate heart rate zones?

Heart Rate Zones Classification

At first, when I saw the heart rate zones, I didn’t worry too much about it because I don’t even know what they meant in the first place. However, it is important to understand what they mean:

  • Zone 1 (60-70%) This is a very light intensity effort, such as having a nice walking pace where you can carry on a conversation and you are breathing without any difficulty. Benefits of this zone are beginner’s level aerobic training and reduce stress.
  • Zone 2 (70-80%) When you are in this Zone, you can still have a conversation and breathe easily so you can see it when you are warming up or cooling down. Benefits of this zone are basic cardiovascular training and good recovery pace.
  • Zone 3 (80-90%) This is a long run type of effort and you may feel how it gets difficult to breathe. Benefits of this zone are improved aerobic capacity and optimal cardiovascular training.
  • Zone 4 (90-100%) This zone represents a harder intensity effort and you may notice how you can reply to single word responses but breathing becomes harder. Benefits of this zone are improved aerobic capacity and threshold, improved speed.
  • Zone 5 (100-110%) You could see this during a spinning class and certainly would be difficult to maintain or hold a conversation. Benefits of this zone are improved anaerobic capacity and threshold, improved speed.

Setting Heart Rate Zones in Garmin Connect

Many health and fitness coaches agree on how training using your heart rate is going to give you some advantages on your training plan and goals. It is helpful whether you are doing recovery, a long endurance aerobic run or even a lactic threshold session and all of these areas of physiology may need to be targeted individually so you can get the most out of your training.

Here is where your Garmin device steps into the scene since it comes with all kinds of options and functionalities to make the most out of your training or preferred physical activity. Many of the newer models come with a heart rate sensor. Either the wrist-based or the chest strap, which are ideal to check how your heart is doing during your training sessions but here we will focus on how to set your heart rate zone to match your level of fitness inside the app or web.

Step 1

The first thing you need to do is to find out what your maximum heart rate is, and the best way is to go for a run or a hard training session to get the scores. Once you have this figured out, you can break it down into the several calculations and you can go to the polar website so it can help you with the maximum heart rate zones by inputting the info.  

Step 2

Once you input your maximum heart rate then click on ‘Show My Heart Rate Zones’ and you will see all the calculations done automatically for each zone and you can take them into the Garmin Connect app. The way to find how to enter these figures is to tap on the symbol of your watch at the top and then click on ‘User Settings’ and then scroll down to the bottom where you’ve got to configure heart rate zones. It will take you to the page where you can input the values you’ve got from Polar.com under the Running Zone tab.  If you see any values pre-configured there, just hit reset and enter your maximum heart rate. Finally, tab on the back arrow sign several times and it will sync into your watch. 

Why is this blog about How does Garmin calculate heart rate zones important?

As indicated on how Garmin calculates heart rate zones, we can say that Garmin devices (the Garmin connect) calculate heart rate zones displaying them as heartbeats per minute or calculated based on percentages of your maximum heart rate. You can customize your Heart rate zones on the Garmin Connect app or web to better reflect your current fitness level.

We have seen the five zones you can see depending on the intensity of the training. Now you can take them into account while working out depending on your training goals.

Please feel free to leave any comments or thoughts about the content of this article!

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) about How does Garmin calculate heart rate zones

Does Garmin adjust heart rate zones?

You can manually adjust your heart rate zones using your Garmin Connect by selecting the action key> Settings> User Profile > Heart Rate Zones and select Based On. 

Side Note: I have tried and tested various products and services to help with my anxiety and depression. See my top recommendations here, as well as a full list of all products and services our team has tested for various mental health conditions and general wellness.

What are the Garmin heart rate zones?

Here are the Garmin Heart Rate Zones:
50-60%: Relaxed, easy pace, rhythmic breathing.
60-70%: Comfortable pace, slightly deeper breathing, conversation possible.
70-80%: Moderate pace, more difficult to hold a conversation.
80-90%: Fast pace and a bit uncomfortable, breathing forcefully.

Is Garmin heart rate accurate?

The Garmin heart rate zone calculations are said to be pretty accurate. The average speed when Garmin devices measure heart rate may have underestimated heart rate by of 2 beats per minute while other devices such as the TomTom monitor overestimated heart rate by 6 beats per minute.

What is the most accurate way to determine your maximum heart rate?

The most accurate way to determine your maximum rate is by subtracting your age from 220. For instance, if you are 29 years old, you need to subtract 29 from 220 to get a maximum heart rate of 191. This will correspond to the average maximum number of times your heart beats per minute during physical activity. 

Why is my Garmin not picking up my heart rate?

If your Garmin device is nor picking up your heart rate, manually disable the Heart Rate Monitor in the watch’s settings; Perform a hard reset on the watch; and then. Re-enable the Heart Rate Monitor in the settings. This should solve the problem, otherwise, it could also happen that the sensor may be damaged or not picking up your heart rate. 

References 

Setting Heart Rate Zones in Garmin Connect App 

Garmin.com 

What Are Heart Rate Zones and How Are They Used with My Garmin Fitness Device? 

How Are High Heart Rate and Max Heart Rate Values Calculated on My Garmin Watch?  

Polar.com 

Was this post helpful?

[Sassy_Social_Share type="standard"]