Karvonen Formula Calculator

Created by Łucja Zaborowska, MD, PhD candidate
Reviewed by Anna Szczepanek, PhD and Adena Benn
Based on research by
Karvonen MJ, Kentala E, Mustala O. The effects of training on heart rate; a longitudinal study. Annales Medicinae Experimentalis et Biologiae Fenniae (1957)See 1 more source
Camarda SR, Tebexreni AS, Páfaro CN, Sasai FB, Tambeiro VL, Juliano Y, Barros Neto TL. Comparison of maximal heart rate using the prediction equations proposed by Karvonen and Tanaka Arquivos Brasileiros de Cardiologia (November 2008)
Last updated: Sep 23, 2022

The Karvonen formula calculator operates both of the Karvonen methods:

Don't stop here; the article below will help you find answers to:

  • What is the Karvonen formula and what can we use it for;
  • How to calculate Karvonen formula; and
  • ... many, many more.

Why do we need the target heart rate?

Have you ever encountered a text similar to "you need some moderate exercise at least five times a week"? We're guessing yes, and it doesn't come as a surprise.

CDC, American Heart Association, Mayo Clinic, and Department of Health and Human Services are some of many sources that agree that the minimum level of exercise needed for a healthy lifestyle comes in moderate intensity and requires you to move your bones at least five days out of 7.

But how can we tell if the exercise is moderate? 🤔

A moderate exercise considerably elevates your heart rate; allows you to talk but doesn't let you sing. Your breathing becomes more intense. However, these are all tips and hints; if we want to be precise, we come in need of tools like the Karvonen method calculator and the target heart rate.

We can calculate moderate exercise as the 50-70% of the maximum heart rate**; however, we may also use the Karvonen equations to precisely estimate the heart zones we'd like to achieve.

💡 The heart rate calculators using Karvonen and Zoladz equations find their place among the most popular online THR (target heart rate) estimations methods.

How do I calculate target heart rate using the Karvonen formula?

Karvonen formula for target heart rate (THR) requires you to know a few fundamental values:

  • MHR - Maximum heart rate in beats per minute:
    If you don't know your MHR, calculate it easily using your age: 220-Age;
  • RHR - Resting heart rate in beats per minute; and
  • Intensity of the exercise given in percentage (%).

The equation for the target heart rate reads:

THR = ((MHR - RHR) * Intensity) + RHR.

How do I calculate Karvonen formula for maximum heart rate?

The Karvonen formula for maximum heart rate is as simple as that:

Maximum heart rate = 220 - Age

Where:

  • Maximum heart rate is given in beats per minute (bpm); and
  • Age is given in years.

How to use this Karvonen formula calculator?

Let's explain a few simple steps between you and the answer you're looking for:

  1. Input your resting heart rate.
  2. Enter or calculate your maximum heart rate.
    Your maximum heart rate will be calculated automatically after you enter your age.
  3. Choose the intensity of the exercise.
    The intensity of your exercise depends on what your goals are:
  4. That's it - enjoy your results! 🎉

FAQ

How do I calculate heart rate reserve?

Heart rate reserve can be easily calculated. We need to:

  1. Find the maximum heart rate and resting heart rate. Use the Karvonen method for maximum heart rate:
    Maximum heart rate = 220 - Age

  2. Use the following formula:

    Heart rate reserve = Maximum heart rate - Resting heart rate.

  3. Substitute the values found in 1.

  4. Calculate.

All the variables above are given in beats per minute (bpm).

How do I calculate the target heart rate for fat burning zone?

We calculate target heart rate (HR) by using the Karvonen formula:

Target HR = ((Maximum HR - Resting HR) × Intensity %) + Resting HR

Let's use the average values of Resting HR (70 bpm) and Maximum HR typical for a 20-years old (200 bpm).

The fat burning zone starts at 60% of the intensity of the exercise.

Target HR = ((200 bpm - 70 bpm) × 60%) + 70 bpm

Target HR = 148 bpm

Łucja Zaborowska, MD, PhD candidate
Resting heart rate
bpm
Do you know the maximum HR?
Yes
Maximum heart rate
bpm
Intensity
%
Target heart rate
bpm
Heart rate reserve
Target heart rate zones
IntensityHeart rate (bpm)
50%-
60% -
70%-
80% -
90% -
100% -
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