Lately I have been writing a few articles related to the intensity of working out, and how the intensity can effect your training results. I’m sure that a lot of people wonder how to measure workout intensity or in other words the level of intensity they are working at.
First of all, let’s divide the intensity in three different levels: low, moderate and vigorous. There are a few different ways to measure workout intensity of a workout making sure that you’re getting maximum results, and some are easier or more suitable for some than others.
These measurement methods include; heart rate, talk test, exertion rating scale.
Your heart rate will increase in proportion with the intensity of an exercise. By calculating your Target Heart Rate (THR) range, you can calculate and measure your workout intensity.
Your THR is always calculated as a percentage from your maximum heart rate. It’s also good to know that your maximum heart rate will depend on different factors including your age and resting heart rate.
On the other hand your heart rate can also be affected by hot temperatures, anxiety levels, medications, caffeine, etc.
This method is good, but the problem is that is not easy to measure if you don’t have the right equipment.
Do you sometimes wonder why your trainer asks you how you are feeling while doing a workout?
Well, besides being friendly, the type of response will indicate the workout intensity.
The talk test is simple and fairly reliable to measure:
- If you can talk and sing without puffing at all, you are exercising at a low intensity.
- If you can talk comfortably but not sing, you are exercising with a moderate intensity.
- If you can’t say more then a few words without gasping for breath, you are exercising at a vigorous intensity.
Exertion Rating Scale
This method is based on observing physical signs that your body shows while working out. Think about signs like: increased breathing rate or respiration rate, higher heart rate, more sweating, poor technique because of muscle fatigue, etc.
Here is an overview of physical signs that might give you a better understanding.
- Level 0 – None – None
- Level 1 – Minimal – None
- Level 3 – Barely – sensation of movement
- Level 4 – Moderate – Stronger sensation
- Level 5 – Hard – Sweating
- Level 6 – Harder – Moderate sweating
- Level 7 – Very hard – Moderate sweating, but can still talk
- Level 8 – Extremely hard – Heavy sweating, can’t talk
- Level 9 – Maximum effort – Very heavy sweating, can’t talk
- Level 10 – Maximum effort – Exhaustion