Why you should be using a heart rate monitor in your training

3 min read

Knowing your heart rate and heart rate zones is vital to getting the most out of your training. Understanding how hard you should be going in each zone will ensure a productive training session and prevent you from overtraining, meaning better results in the long term.



Calculating your resting heart rate will allow you to figure out what the base rate for your training is. To calculate your resting heart rate, use a heart rate monitor to measure your resting heart rate early in the morning, not long after you’ve woken up - and before the essential morning dose of caffeine. Simply lay there and try to be as relaxed as possible. Do this every morning  for a week andyou’ll be able to calculate your resting heart rate by taking the lowest readings and calculating the average from them.



In order to calculate your max heart rate you’ll have to do a little more than the traditional ‘220 minus your age’ method, and perform a heart rate test. This could be via a RAMP or FTHR test, or by doing your own max heart race test. For example:

-start with a 15 minute thorough warm up

-ride as hard as possible for 10-15 minutes

-sprint the last 30 seconds

-continue to warm down for 10 minutes

The warming down is important as your heart rate doesn’t raise in time with your FTP and will lag, and this will allow time for you to be able to read your Max Heart Rate (MHR) on the monitor.


Now you have an idea of both your resting and your max heart rates you will be able to calculate your heart rate zones. The Association of British Cycling recognises six key zones:

  1. 60-65% of max heart rate: for relatively easy, long rides, mainly targeting general fat combustion
  2. 65-75% MHR: an ideal base zone, for medium effort, longish rides
  3. 75-82% MHR: for endurance and aerobic improvement at moderate power
  4. 82-89% MHR: your threshold zone, which should roughly equate to your FTP
  5. 89-94% MHR: your V02 max zone, meaning that it’s a key zone for improving your body’s ability to deliver oxygen to working muscles
  6. 95-100% MHR: usually executed as high intensity interval training in 20 to 90 second blocks

A Zone 7 can also be considered to exist- this would be your short sprint bursts, no longer than 20 seconds.



There are a number of instances where your heart rate may measure differently to what you’d expect. It’s important to allow some room for lag, as your heart rises much slower than your FTP, and won’t show instantly on a sprint or more intense interval. Other reasons for a fluctuating heart rate may indicate signs of overtraining, particularly when your heart rate is lower than usual at a higher perceived execution. This can also help to indicate any signs of upcoming illness or stress. 



Wattbike Atom

Heart rate belts can be paired with your bike in the Wattbike Hub before starting your session. It’s recommended that you wear your HR monitor before trying to connect it. You can connect during your session by tapping the HR sensor in the top right-hand corner of your screen. Your HR monitor should appear in the list; tap to connect and go back to the main menu to start riding.

Tap the play button to begin your session and when finished, pause then stop. The session will save and automatically upload to the Wattbike Hub.

The Atom is compatible with a number of belts - including Bluetooth, ANT, ANT+, Polar and Wattbike belts.


Wattbike Pro/Trainer

The Pro and Trainer can be connected to any ANT+ heart rate monitor. You can see a video of how to connect your heart rate monitor to your Pro or Trainer bike here.


Want to start getting the most out of your zone training? Take a look at our heart rate belts

Interested in the other measurements your wattbike can provide? Check out our quick guide to understanding Wattbike data 

Belt connected? Now get to connecting some training apps.

Leave a comment

Comments will be approved before showing up.

Also in Blog

Presenting VO2 Ladder. Created by the All Blacks
Presenting VO2 Ladder. Created by the All Blacks

1 min read

Time to step out of your comfort zone with our latest workout, VO2 Ladder, featuring 5 intervals to build your aerobic efficiency.

Strength Training For Cyclists
Strength Training For Cyclists

4 min read

Strength training for cyclists is almost as important as time spent in the saddle. We take a deep dive into strength and power training for cyclists and give you some strength training exercises to add into your weekly routine.
Heart rate and cycling
Heart rate and cycling

4 min read

Heart rate can be a divisive subject amongst cyclists, mainly due to how technical and scientific it can get. We debunk a few myths around heart rate and cycling and give you a digestible explanation for the things that matter most to you, like how to determine your max heart rate when cycling and how cycling affects your heart rate.