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Training with Heart Rate: Zone 5

A heart rate “zone” is a percentage of your max heart rate. Within each “zone”, your body is doing different things to meet the energy demands of that output.

Over the next few days, I’m going to share what each heart rate zone means; how often you should work out in that zone, and how we use that zone to maximize your results.

Zone 5 is a very short all-out max lasting a few seconds. It improves VO2max (the body’s ability to efficiently pull oxygen from the air and deliver it to the places in the body it’s needed). This is the “emergency” zone. Training zone 5 can increase heart rate variability, max heart rate and insulin sensitivity.

The first order analogy = it’s the size of your engine.

Physiologically, VO2 max is telling you how quickly you can take oxygen from the air into your lungs, get it into your blood, pump it to your muscles, and then have your muscles use it in the metabolic processes that will provide energy to move you.

VO2 max is a rate ⇒ how much oxygen per unit time can you process going max effort.

Training for stress prepares us when it happens. Training in zone 5 helps us be ready when real emergency strikes.

Z5 is more correlated to longevity than almost any other metric. It’s super important.

BUT here’s the beautiful part:

Having a “really good” VO2max carries virtually all the benefits of having an “elite” VO2max.

According to Dr. Peter Attia,

Simply bringing your VO2 max from ‘low’ (bottom 25th percentile) to ‘below average’ (25th to 50th percentile) is associated with a 50% reduction in all-cause mortality. When you go from ‘low’ to ‘above average’ (50th to 75th percentile) the risk reduction is closer to 70%!”

And in newer clients, 1-2 Z5 blocks per week is enough to get almost all of the benefits.

In the words of Dr. Peter Attia: “Life happens in zones 2 and 5.” But all zones should be trained for optimal healthspan, even if they don’t naturally occur in our daily lives. Attia’s video:

VO2max can be the thing that limits your performance…until it’s not. For almost all of our clients, it’s not, so we don’t have to program Zone 5 all the time.

This is where CrossFit and HIIT are strong (Zone 5 training, improving VO2max) and it’s important, but only in the larger context of a good metabolic base (Z2) and a good aerobic engine (Z3, Z4).

HIIT is a hammer. Sometimes you need a hammer. Sometimes only a hammer will do. But usually, you don’t need a hammer. And sometimes a hammer is harmful.

What do YOU need right now? A coach will set up your program to meet your goals!

Click here to book a free consultation.

Watch the video: zone 5 training