Heart Rate Training

As a surfer looking for the extra edge in their surfing fitness, heart rate (HR) monitoring can be a real plus!

Aerobic training at the same level every week (for example a steady jog ) will of course improve your aerobic fitness however this may not be enough for regular improvements to take place.

For each type of fitness there is an optimal HR; finding the correct training zone for each of these may seem a bit hard to start, however with a little practice and the help of a HR rate monitor you will soon find that the benefits are vast.

For example: during a paddle out the (HR) will rise this all depends of course on the conditions of the day and the break you paddle out into. It may be a big heavy day, a little on shore, a long paddle to get out back, you may not be competent at duck-diving and so there are many different times during surfing that the HR will rise and fall.

Training and understanding HR intensities will take your aerobic fitness to new heights and so boost your surfing!

Below is a chart that can be used to show the percentage of max heart rate (MHR) for different age groups in average beats per minute (BPM), it can be used to find your optimum training zone.

Age 65%mhr 70%mhr 75%mhr 80%mhr 85-90%mhr
18-25 130 139 149 159 169
26-30 127 134 144 153 163
31-36 124 130 140 149 158
37-42 120 126 135 144 153
43-50 116 121 129 138 147
50-58 112 116 124 133 141
59-65 108 110 118 126 134
65-70 104 106 114 121 129

This chart may seem a little advanced a rougher guide could go;

Low end aerobic training low intensity would be around 60-70% of your max HR

Mid end aerobic training mid range intensity could go around 70-80% of your max HR

High end aerobic training sub maximal high level intensity could go 85% + of your max HR

As a surfer taking your HR up past the high end level of aerobic fitness and across to anaerobic training can be highly beneficial this would be very near maximal effort in running or swimming terms  and this is known as high anaerobic.

If you don’t fancy using the HR system then you can try “THE PERCEIVED RATE OF EXERTION CHART”

This is a very simple chart but can be used by everybody at all levels of fitness.

Use this simple scale of 1-10.


At rest 1 Non exercise heart rates
Low level activity – sitting or walking 2 Non exercise heart rates
Light exertion such as a gentle jog 3 Non exercise heart rates
Normal walk 4 Non exercise heart rates
Brisk walking 5 Non exercise heart rates
Med-fast–paced walking 6 60% MHR low end aerobic
Breathing becomes more difficult 7 65%-75% MHR mid end aerobic
Breathing very heavily, talk just ok 8 80% MHR high end aerobic
Sweating, talk not possible 9 85%+ MHR anaerobic +
Max effort hard to maintain 10 90-100% MHR

Although this chart is very basic, it’s very useful . If you’re new to exercise then it can be a great help in working out how much effort is going in.

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