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Cycling Heart Rate Zone Calculator

Table of contents

Step 1: Determine your LTHRStep 2: Calculate power zonesStep 3: Power up your training

With the help of this cycling heart rate zone calculator, you will rediscover your regular training. In just a few simple steps, you can see what your power zones are and learn to optimize your exercise for the best effects. So it's a useful power zone calculator too!

Looking for how many calories you will burn while cycling? Check out the calories burned biking calculator!

Step 1: Determine your LTHR

Before calculating your heart rate zones (HR zones), you need to determine your lactate threshold heart rate (LTHR). It is the heart rate at which increased blood acidification occurs in your body. You can only cross this threshold for short intervals; prolonged training above LTHR decreases your endurance rapidly.

To determine your LTHR, you need to do a trial run. The trial run lasts for 30 minutes, during which you should ride as fast as you can. Don't hold back — expect sweat, heavy breathing, and dripping from the nose. Don't take any breaks; simply pedal for 30 minutes straight. Don't take the test in areas where you're forced to go uphill or downhill; choose surroundings that won't slow you down (urban areas with traffic lights are out of the question). Do the test all by yourself — if you go with a training partner, the outcome will probably be different.

Once you've completed the test, measure the average heart rate from the last 20 minutes of the test. This value is your LTHR.

If you don't want to use LTHR in calculating your HR zones, you can check out the generalized target heart rate calculator or heart rate calculator.

Step 2: Calculate power zones

Once you know your LTHR, calculating the power zones is pretty straightforward. Our cycling heart rate zone calculator uses the values suggested in "The Cyclist's Training Bible" by Joe Friel, the world's most trusted cycling coach.

HR zone

% of LTHR

Zone 1 (active recovery)

< 81%

Zone 2 (endurance)

81%-89%

Zone 3 (tempo)

90%-93%

Zone 4 (lactate threshold)

94%-99%

Zone 5a (above threshold)

100%-102%

Zone 5b (aerobic capacity)

103%-106%

Zone 5c (anaerobic capacity)

106%

Step 3: Power up your training

Now that you know your heart rate zones, it's time to plan your training! To do that, you need to get a better understanding of what power zones mean.

  • Zone 1: Active recovery. Also called "easy spinning," this form of exercise requires virtually no leg effort. It is typically used for casual cycling and recovery after races.

  • Zone 2: Endurance. It's a pace you can keep for the whole day during long-distance trips. Fatigue level is low, but recovery from a long training session might take more than one day.

  • Zone 3: Tempo. Typically used in interval training, it requires concentration to prevent you from falling back to zone 2.

  • Zone 4: Lactate threshold. A continuous sensation of fatigue and leg effort requires high concentration. Exercising in this zone typically leads to a high frequency of breathing. You should practice it in 10-30 minute intervals.

  • Zone 5a: Above threshold. Exercising in the zone slightly above the threshold also requires constant effort. You shouldn't do it for extended periods of time (over 30 minutes).

  • Zone 5b: Aerobic capacity. This zone has the typical intensity of intervals lasting for three to eight minutes. Training in this zone helps increase VO₂max (the maximum oxygen consumption).

  • Zone 5c: Anaerobic capacity. Training should only occur in short (30 seconds to 3 minutes), high-intensity intervals. You will experience a severe sensation of leg effort. You shouldn't use heart rate when exercising in this zone as your intensity indicator.

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Zone 1 (active recovery)

Zone 2 (endurance)

Zone 3 (tempo)

Zone 4 (lactate threshold)

Zone 5a (above threshold)

Zone 5b (aerobic capacity)

Zone 5c (anaerobic capacity)

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