Target Heart Rate Calculator

By Łucja Zaborowska, MD, Bogna Szyk and Dominik Czernia, PhD candidate
Last updated: Jul 30, 2020

Our target heart rate calculator helps you to decide how strenuous your workout should be.

Have you ever wondered what the target heart rate for fat burn is? Or the target heart rate for your cardio exercise? This calculator will equip you with answers to all of these questions, as well as give you the target heart rate definition 🏃

The article below will provide you with a step-by-step explanation of how to find your target heart rate - read on to find not one, but two different formulas to assess your workout heart rate!

💡 Make sure to take a look at the BMI and pace calculators as well to get a full picture of your health and stamina.

What is target heart rate?

Target heart rate for exercise is the heart rate at which physical effort is the most effective. If it's too low, then the exercise won't bring the expected results, such as making you fitter. If it's too high, it may be dangerous for you. Your target heart rate should be between 50-85% of your maximum heart rate - that's your desired target heart rate zone.

But what exactly is heart rate?

To put it simply, your heart rate is the number of times your heart beats per minute.

⛰️ Imagine you are hiking in the mountains with your backpack. You feel that this walk requires a tiny bit more effort than when you're ambling through the city, but it's not unpleasant. After a while, you start to walk up a steep hill. You're exhausted, and you can feel your heart pound in your chest. You stop to rest.

What you experienced was a change in your heart rate. It was quickest when you were climbing up (as you could feel your heart) and lowest after a short rest.

Check our others heart calculators:

How to use the target heart rate calculator?

It has never been easier to calculate your target heart rate! Just follow the steps below:

  1. Enter your age.

  2. Measure your resting heart rate.

    • It's best to check it in the morning, just after waking up, but before getting out of bed.
    • Put your fingers over your pulse - the best places to measure it are on your wrist on the thumb side, the inside of your elbow, and on the side of your neck.
    • Count the number of beats in 60 seconds. This is your resting heart rate - typically, it should be between 60 and 100 bpm (beats per minute).
  3. Choose the intensity of your exercise or enter your own value (custom option).

    • Moderate excercise (50-60% intensity)
    • Fat burning zone (60-70%): most popular goal.
    • Aerobic exercise (70-80%): your muscles are still using oxygen - a way to improve your cardiovascular system!
    • Anaerobic exercise (80-90%): your muscles are starting to use the non-oxygen metabolism (lactic acid system) - you may suffer from delayed onset muscle soreness.
    • "Red line" zone (90-100%): your exercise is really strenous - be careful!
  4. That's everything ready and done! Remember, our calculators work both ways - if you know your target heart rate, you can use our calculator to compute your exercise's intensity.

Check how well you're doing with:

How to calculate the target heart rate?

If you want to know how to find target heart rate, let's take a look at the following target heart rate formula:

Target HR = Resting HR + Intensity * Reserve


  • target HR stands for target heart rate;
  • resting HR stands for resting heart rate;
  • intensity stands for the percentage of heart-rate reserve you use up; and
  • reserve stands for heart rate reserve.

So, all you need to do is check your resting heart rate and figure out how intense your training would be. Target heart rate for cardio is different than target heart rate for strength exercises, for example on the bench press. To calculate the heart rate reserve, you can use:

Reserve = Max HR - Resting HR

where max HR is the maximum heart rate usually found as:

max HR = 220 - age

With your age given in years. And that's the answer to how to find target heart rate! The last equation is the most popular one from over 40 similar equations.

If you've already calculated your target heart rate, check how many calories you can burn while exercising on an elliptical trainer. 🧗

Average target heart rate chart

Check whether your target heart rate chart is within the average values and find out your target heart rate zones for burning fat and improving your cardiovascular health!

  • HR = heart rate;
  • THR = target heart rate; and
  • bpm = beats per minute.
Age (years)Fat burning THR (bpm) Aerobic THR (bpm)Max HR (bpm)
20120-140 140-160200
30114-133 133-152190
35111-129.5 129.5-148185
40108-126 126-144180
45105-122.5 122.5-140175
50102-119 119-136170
5599-115.5 115.5-132165
6096-112 112-128160
6593-108.5 108.5-124155
7090-105 105-120150
Łucja Zaborowska, MD, Bogna Szyk and Dominik Czernia, PhD candidate
Resting heart rate
Moderate (50-60%)
Target heart rate
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