220 Minus Your Age


I know that many of us question the 220 minus your age formula. I know I do. I think we have done far too little research in heart rate based training and definitely too little in heart rate based training for older adults. I have found the “220 minus your age” to work for my younger clients but, not for myself or my older clients. We routinely far exceed the limits.

Last week I rode a timed 7 mile Airdyne ride and finished at 180 BPM. At 53, that means I went to 107% of my theoretical max? Today one of my clients hit 165 BPM at 63 years of age during our half mile Airdyne intervals or, about 105%.

Not sure what the lesson is except maybe “don’t believe everything you read”?

4 Responses to “220 Minus Your Age”

  1. mboyle1959 Says:

    Dos- I think the important thing to note is that the decline may not be as age related as we thought and may be more fitness related.

  2. karvonen or not, 220-age has always been the ‘standard’ to find your ‘estimated max HR’…I know that at 22-23 I was not even close to hitting 198 as a max on a TM test. Some people will never get to this #…some will surpass it during training. that’s why it’s an estimate.

  3. Karvonen formula maybe? I know there has been a few formula’s since 220 – age. Think the latest I read was more concerned with reserve HR but my memory fades if anyone out there has the heads up would love to hear.

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