We want heart rate training to be a staple in your program no matter what your goals are.  

We also want it to be fun and engaging.  

Last, but certainly not least, we want your zones to be accurate for your unique fitness and physiology.  

We know that most people are not going pay someone to do invasive lab-based testing to measure heart rate zones and we know that many people don't have access to this type of service anyway.  

Anaerobic Threshold (AnT)

Anaerobic threshold is a metabolic threshold characterized as the highest workload at which the body is able to achieve a steady-state condition, so that the lactate accumulation and removal are in balance.  Therefore, anaerobic threshold is important to long-term performance ability as it represents the highest performance intensity that can be tolerated for relatively long periods. 

There are several accepted ways to measure Anaerobic Threshold – from metabolic lab tests, lactate tests, talk tests, beep tests, distance and time tests, etc.  Elite endurance athletes might have reason to dial in this AnT range more than the most people by completing lab-based testing.

Max Heart Rate (MHR)

The oldest and most widely used formula to estimate MHR is to subtract your age from 220.

For example, if you're 45 years old, subtract 45 from 220 to get a MHR of 175. 

Then heart rate zones are set by using percentage ranges of the MHR number.

It's important to note that maximum heart rate is only a guide.  You may have a higher or lower maximum heart rate, sometimes by as much as 15 to 20 beats per minute. 

There may also be slightly different calculations that take into account sex differences in target heart rate zones.  These differences are so small that most casual athletes don't need separate calculations for men and women.

Bottom Line

For most people, getting a good estimate of Max HR combined with the power of Morpheus’s 3 dynamic heart rate zones provides enough accuracy to both use the data effectively and get amazing results.

Morpheus Heart Rate Zones

In Fitness Settings of the app, there are 2 things to be aware of that affect your default heart rate zones (ie your zones when you are at 100% recovery score).

  1. Max Heart Rate – if you don’t edit this, it will calculate this number based on your age, gender, and your fitness level.
  2. Rate your overall fitness level – you can choose High, Moderate, or Low.  This is very subjective and it’s not a rating of you against anyone else; it is just how you interpret your own fitness level.   

The items above may provide enough accuracy for you, especially since Morpheus zones are dynamic (they change every day based on recovery score) and not static like all other heart rate zone calculation methods.  So you may not ever need to do a test like the one outlined below.  But you can!  And that's the point of this article.

AnT and MHR Estimation Test

Below outlines an "easy", non-invasive way to use Morpheus to estimate your personal Max HR.  

This is certainly not the only way to complete a Max HR test. But we've had a lot of success with this for the average person that does not have a lot of experience with heart rate training.  And when comparing to actual lab-based tests of the same people, this test is almost always within just a couple of beats per minute of lab MHR.

NOTE:  If you do not have access to cardio equipment, you can do this test outside or inside with no equipment.  

Step 1:  Warmup:

You don't want to do a test like this "straight out of the box"; you should complete a warmup first.  There's no standard on how you need to complete this warmup.   Just gradually increase your heart rate over 10-20 minutes until you feel good, not tired.  Maybe even include some harder efforts within the warmup (such as some 20-30 second "bursts") to prep the body for a hard effort.

Step 2:  Test:  

There are 4 main keys to getting to your true max heart rate in the shortest, and least painful, way possible:

  • Do the test when you’re fresh, not at the end of a workout

  • Make sure to do through a thorough warm up before going for it

  • Use a total body exercise, preferably running, or you won’t hit a true max

  • Ramp up over 3-4 reps of 60-90 seconds at max intensity with 2-3 minutes rest between.  If using Morpheus you could use Red Max Intervals as a guide for this and then really go for it on the 3rd or 4th rep.
The most important of these 4 points is the exercise.
If you’re seated or doing an exercise that doesn’t include your whole body, you won’t use enough muscle mass to be able to hit a true max.
Most of the time this includes good old fashioned running, but if you can’t run for whatever reason, there are other options - versa climber, elliptical, etc
Another key is to give yourself a few reps to hit max. Don’t expect (or try) to hit it on your first rep.
The goal is to get your heart rate up a bit higher with each rep you do until you hit a point where it simply won’t go up any more despite your max effort.

Now you're ready to embark on the exciting journey of heart rate training with Morpheus.  Thank you for joining us!