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A Guide to Spinning<sup>®</sup> Energy Zones for Heart Rate Training

A Guide to Spinning® Energy Zones for Heart Rate Training

The Spinning® Energy Zones™ (EZ) are divided into five different heart rate ranges that emphasize a different workout intensity. Working in each Energy Zone is important for a balanced exercise program, which improves all aspects of your fitness, including mental and physical endurance, strength and performance.

You can also ask your Certified Spinning Instructor how to use the Spinning Energy Zones in a longer-term training program to help you achieve your goals, overcome fitness plateaus, avoid overtraining and burnout.

The Spinning® Energy Zones™

Each Energy Zone has a specific training purpose:

Recovery Energy Zone™

The purpose of this Energy Zone is to restore the body physically and mentally so your body can get stronger. Always ride with light resistance during a recovery ride.

Endurance Energy Zone™

The emphasis of endurance is finding a comfortable heart rate and pedaling style that can be maintained for a long period of time. Endurance training is your fitness foundation and key for increasing aerobic capacity and improving efficiency in metabolizing fat, pedaling efficiency and long-term energy.

Strength Energy Zone™

You are building mental and physical strength and power by gradually increasing resistance in the Strength Energy Zone. This Energy Zone includes seated and standing climbs followed by adequate recovery. You become stronger and more capable of handling challenging climbs.

Interval Energy Zone™

Intervals, a period of work followed by a period of rest, develop speed, tempo, timing and rhythm across a range of heart rates and enhance your ability to recover quickly after work efforts. Interval rides can include fast pedaling on the flats (at or below 110 RPM), acceleration drills and recovery stretches.

Race Day Energy Zone™

Race day rides should be treated like a real race — it’s training for peak performance! You should be 100% physically energized and mentally rested. Just as important, you should take a recovery day after a Race Day ride. Generally you can participate in a Race Day ride about once a month. Speak to your Certified Spinning Instructor about your goals for an optimal race day to challenge your body and celebrate the progress you’ve made riding in Spinning classes.

Step 1: Find Your Maximum Heart Rate

Each energy zone is based on a percentage of your maximum heart rate (MHR) measured in beats per minute. Remember — maximum heart rate is not a target number to reach during your workout. Maximum heart rate is different for every person and affected by personal factors, including fitness level.

There are also many formulas to estimate your maximum heart rate. In the Spinning program, we use the following formula:

MHR = 208 – (0.70 * Age)

Step 2: Ride in the Right Spinning® Energy Zone™

Before class begins, your Spinning Instructor will usually announce the Spinning Energy Zone on which the class will focus and the purpose of the ride.

Wearing a heart rate monitor is the most accurate way to see how your heart responds during class. If you do not have a heart rate monitor, use a perceived exertion scale. In the Spinning program we used a modified Category Ratio-10 (CR-10) scale — a scale from 1-10, from rest to race day intensity!

Your Spinning instructor can explain how to use the perceived exertion scale with the Energy Zones and help you determine your target heart rates to make sure you are riding at the right intensity.

Spinning® Energy Zones™

Energy Zone™
Intensity Range
Recovery Energy Zone™50-65% MHR
Endurance Energy Zone™65-80% MHR
Strength Energy Zone™75-85% MHR
Interval Energy Zone™65% MHR-Max Effort
Race Day Energy Zone™ 80% MHR-Max Effort

Perceived Exertion CR-10 Scale

Spinning® Energy Zone™
1Extremely EasyRecovery Energy Zone™
2Recovery Energy Zone™
3EasyRecovery Energy Zone™
4ModerateEndurance Energy Zone™
5Moderately HardEndurance Energy Zone™
6Strength Energy Zone™
7HardStrength Energy Zone™
8Very HardInterval Energy Zone™
9Extremely HardInterval Energy Zone™
10Maximal EffortRace Day Energy Zone™

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