The use of training zone with load and training control (Intensity zone)

Determining zone for training load is one of the most important things when creating and implementing training that are focused on the development of functional abilities. We can define training zone based on the anaerobic threshold (ANP), which we get by testing athletes.

In theory, the anaerobic threshold performance starts when heart rate reaches 175 bpm, but in practice, these values are strictly individual, because with some athletes anaerobic threshold and lactate start to accumulate at about 190 bpm. We have to consider that otherwise we can make a mistake and not be able to reach wanted intensity level.

There are several examples of defining the intensity of work, and I will list three examples.

Training zones




Example 1: “4 zone distribution.”

  1. Aerobic conditions zone (FS 70-80% of FSanp, SPO = light)
  2. Anaerobic threshold zone (FS 80-90% of FSanp, SPO = difficult)
  3. VO2max zone (FS 90-95% of Fsmax, SPO = extremely difficult)
  4. Anaerobic energy capacity zone (FS 100%, SPO = extremely difficult to limit values)

Example 2: “5 zone distribution.”

  1. Regeneration zone (FS 130 bpm., 60% of ANP, LA below 2 mmol / l)— Aerobic threshold –
  2. Extensive aerobic zone (FS 135-155 bpm., 80-90% of ANP)
  3. Intensive aerobic zone (FS 155-175 bpm., 90-95% of ANP, LA below 4 mmol / l)
  4. Anaerobic threshold – submaximal lactate zone (FS approximately 175 r / min., LA about 4 mmol / l)
  5. The maximum lactate zone (FS 175-180 bpm., 102% of the ANP to Fsmax LA over 4 mmol / l)

Example 3: “8 zone distribution.”

  1. Recovery (Fsmax <60%, FSanp <70%)
  2. Extensive zone (Fsmax 60-80%, 70-90% FSanp)
  3. Intense aerobic zone (Fsmax 80-90%, FSanp 90-100%)
  4. Anaerobic threshold zone (Fsmax 85-90%, FSanp 100%)
  5. VO2max zone (Fsmax 90-95%, FSanp> 100%)
  6. Lactate accumulation (FSmax90-95%, FSanp> 100%)
  7. Lactate tolerance (Fsmax 95-100%, FSanp> 100%)
  8. Speed (Fsmax 90-95%, FSanp> 100%)

Recovery zone



Also known as a zone of regeneration, in this zone athlete’s body is restored after physical activity.

General aerobic endurance zone (aerobic extensive zone)

In this zone, we will apply the largest volume of work with low intensity (45-60 minutes of effective work).

With training in this zone, the body will increase the capability of the cardiovascular and respiratory system to transport oxygen faster and with it, muscles ability to deliver, absorbs and utilize produced oxygen will be better. Therefore, oxidation of fat is increased in the order to collect energy to resynthesize ATP which means the body will use less of carbohydrates (glycogen) to spend for a given load.

With fat oxidation, the body will use glycogen when is the most needed and recovery time will be decreased after a high intense activity is ended.
In this zone, it is recommended to use standard continuous and continuously variable methods with higher training volume.

Benefits from this area or training (as V. Vucetic, 2000):

  • Strengthening connective tissue and improving muscular endurance
  • Increasing the number and strength of slow muscle fibers, improving exercise
  • Increase muscle vascularity and blood volume
  • Greater capacity for the storage of muscle glycogen
  • Increasing the number of mitochondria in muscle (ATP products)
  • Lower heart rate at rest (increased cardiac output)
  • Increased respiratory endurance
  • Improved oxidation of free fatty acids (triglycerides), and a reduction in body fat (ballast weight)

Intense aerobic training (towards, at or slightly above ANP)



Training in this zone follows after a good base, regarding the optimum development of the general endurance and before starting work in the anaerobic zone.

Training inside the ANP results in the formation of lactate to a greater extent, and if it exceeds the zone ANP, the energy required to resynthesize ATP is obtained predominantly with anaerobic glycolysis.

In this zone, we will use a continuous variable method and intervals or standard variable interval methods. Total duration time of effective training in this zone is 30-45 minutes.

The positive changes in this area (as V. Vucetic, 2000):

  • Better biomechanical and technical performance
  • Increases the number of mitochondria and myoglobin amount
  • Increases the concentration of redox enzymes of carbohydrate (CHO)
  • ANP increases and increases glycogen reserves in the muscles
  • Increases strength and endurance, and increases the amount of blood (greater amounts of plasma and hemoglobin)
  • Improving the speed in neuromuscular responses and the recovery

Maximum oxygen consumption zone (VO2max Zone)

In this zone happens an increase of the maximum oxygen consumption and anaerobic threshold. Training in this zone affects the development aerobic and anaerobic metabolic processes. It also increases body’s ability to mobilize large amounts of oxygen in the activities of various types.

We can enforce interval methods lasting 2-8 minutes and with total duration up to 20 minutes (15-20 min.).

The interval of activity and rest take place at a ratio of 1:1.

Eg., 2 minutes work intensity 5% above the ANP with a break of 2 minutes between repetitions. Rest intervals are active and low intensity.

Positive net changes in this zone (as V. Vucetic, 2000):

  • Increases anaerobic power and anaerobic threshold
  • Improving neuromuscular circuits
  • Buffers increases in blood (maintenance of acid-base balance)
  • Greater oxygen uptake and the capacity of glycogen in the body
  • Improving cardiovascular efficiency in high-intensive activities

Zone of anaerobic process



What’s defining this zone is short duration intervals with high intensity. This zone is very strenuous and demanding in a way of training athletes.

Intervals of operation are from 2 seconds to 2 minutes, and the breaks are 2-3 times longer than the interval operation alone. With speed training, we apply short intervals and longer recovery time.

In this zone, the heart rate is not a reliable indicator if intensity load is proper, because of the short duration heart rate does not reach the maximum value.

Benefits from this area or training (as V. Vucetic, 2000):

  • The development of strength, power and speed, increase the ability of contraction slow and fast muscle fibers
  • Improvement of glycolytic enzymes
  • Increased neural activity
  • The improvement of mechanisms to control blood pH value
  • The development of tolerance to the lactate and better ability to lactate metabolism

For planning and programming of great importance knowledge of specified load for each athlete, because based on this information we determine the intervals of work and rest, as well as the duration of the work (V. Vucetic, Šentija D., 2002).

There are several ways to load metering and control the operating time:

  1. SPO (subjective evaluation of load) or VET (subjective sense load)
  2. Heart frequency (FS)
  3. Rhythm
  4. Power
  5. Concentration of the elbows in the blood (LA)

The fact is that no dosing and control is not sufficient on its own, but it is recommended simultaneously Of Use multiple methods.
In practice, the most successful and easiest demonstrated a combination of parameters FS and SPO (Vucetic V.2005.).

SPO can be monitored by tracking scale subjective assessment of the load, consisting of 15 categories expressed numbers of 6 to 20 (analog heart rate from 60 to standstill to 200 at peak exercise).



This scale is called the Borg scale or Borg scale.

Borg, on which the scale is named, linked the perception of loads with the real intensity of physical activity and other physiological parameters that are used in the assessment of workload (oxygen uptake, FS, lactate).

Only when coach overcomes the training zone and finds a way to apply them in practice, as well as methods of determining and control the intensity of the work, then his training “jump” to a higher level. In this way, provide better effects on the state of training of athletes, while the error in programming and implementation of training to a minimum.