Heart rate (HR) is an excellent measure of exercise and your training intensity. In the human body heart rate is regulated to match the demands of the body and the environment. When exercise intensity increases, heart rate also increases to match the increased rate of energy expenditure and oxygen uptake.
Heart rate can be expressed as the absolute number of beats per minute (bpm) or as a percentage of your maximum heart rate (% HRmax) or heart rate reserve (% HRR). Absolute heart rate during training is not very informative on its own, but when it’s expressed and interpreted in relation to HRmax or HRR it determines individual exercise intensity.
Your heart rate value in beats per minute (e.g. 125 bpm) is individual and cannot be compared to another person's value. A percentage of your maximum heart rate value on the other hand is comparable. For instance your friend may have a higher heart rate value in bpm, but the percentage of your individual HRmax can be the same. This means that you have the same relative training intensity.
Maximum heart rate (HRmax) is the highest number of heart beats per minute (bpm) during physical exertion. HRmax is individual and may somewhat decrease as you age. It sets the individual reference value for your training intensity and is used in the calculation of the default heart rate zones and many Polar Smart Coaching features.
An age-based HRmax is a rough estimate of your maximum heart rate, and it is used as default in most Polar training computers. The most reliable and safest way to determine your HRmax is to have it measured in a maximal laboratory test.
Heart Rate zones
Provide an easy way to adjust and monitor the intensity of your training. By using hear rate zones you can also follow heart rate-based training programs. The default zones are based on your HRmax.
Different training intensities have different training benefits, for instance light intensity enhances basic aerobic endurance and hard intensity improves your body’s ability to sustain high intensity exercise and your maximal oxygen uptake.
The default heart rate zones are divided into five intensity zones based on the percentage of your maximum heart rate:
- Very light (50–60% HRmax)
- Light (60–70% HRmax)
- Moderate (70–80% HRmax)
- Hard (80–90% HRmax)
- Maximum (90–100% HRmax)
You can define the zone limits yourself as you want. More detailed information about this can be found in the Polar Flow web service.
Provide an easy way to choose and monitor the intensity of your training based on speed or pace. Speed/pace zones help you vary your training by using different intensities for optimal effects. Speed/pace will be affected for instance by uphill, which usually reduce your pace but increase your heart rate and exercise intensity.
Speed/Pace zones work just like heart rate zones even if speed/pace reacts to change instantly whereas heart rate takes a few moments to reach the new intensity level. There are five zones, and you can use the default ones, but we recommend you to define your own. You can also create training targets based on the zones, and receive guidance on your training computer during training.
Speed/Pace zones are supported in running, cycling, rowing and canoeing sports.
More detailed information about this can be found in the Polar Flow web service.
Help you to monitor your training intensity in cycling and running, and to achieve optimal effects out of your training. Power zones are based on power which is a direct measure of absolute exercise intensity.
Power output is an absolute value of the external work rate, whereas heart rate is the measure of physiological effort needed to produce the power output. Seeing how your heart rate corresponds to the power zones and how it changes over time gives more insight into how your performance is developing.
Power zone limits are calculated to you automatically, but you can change them if necessary. They are in Flow web service under cycling and running sport profiles.
Advanced Power Metrics
Polar users can track Normalized Power® (NP®), Intensity Factor® (IF®) and Training Stress Score®(TSS®).
Keeps you training at certain intensity. With ZoneLock you can target and lock a specific training zone during your training session. When you are out of the preset heart rate/speed/pace or power zones, the training computer will give a visual and audio alarm.
A moving symbol in zone display in your training computer showing whether you are inside the pre-set or desired target zone. This feature helps you to reach the desired intensity/pace/speed targets.
Strava Live Segments
Make your runs and rides more exciting with Strava Live Segments. Get alerts about nearby segments, see real-time performance data during a segment and check your results right after you finish. Available for Strava Premium members.
An easy and reliable test to analyze how you recover from intensive, frequent training and optimize your training and prevent overtraining. Orthostatic Test is meant for long-term follow up, based on regular tests.
Heart rate and heart rate variability are good indicators of disturbances, such as fatigue or overtraining, in the autonomic nervous system. When taking the test, heart rate and heart rate variability are measured during supine rest, active standing up and standing.
In addition to training-induced fatigue, the orthostatic test results are affected by several other factors, such as mental stress, sleep, latent illness, environmental changes (temperature, altitude), and others.
Note that you cannot compare your results of orthostatic test to your friends’ results: they are individual and apply only to you.
Polar Fitness Test
Estimates your aerobic fitness at rest without any exertion in just five minutes. The result, Polar OwnIndex, evaluates your maximal oxygen uptake (VO2max) and tells on what aerobic fitness level you are compared with people of the same age and gender.
The test is based on resting heart rate, heart rate variability, gender, age, height, body weight and your self-assessment of the level of long-term physical activity. You can compare your value to the population norms, the average values of people of the same age and gender.
Polar Fitness Test can motivate you to start, maintain or increase physical exercise.
To be able to follow the progress, the test should always be carried out under the same conditions, meaning at the same time of day, in a peaceful environment, and following a light training day or a day of rest.
Calculates the number of calories burned based on your individual data: your weight, height, age, gender, HRmax, HRrest, VO2max, and the intensity of your training/activity.
Heart rate-based calorie calculation is used when heart rate is measured, and it measures burned calories the most accurately also in conditions like cycling or lifting weights. Activity-based calorie calculation is used in training computers and activity trackers, when heart rate is not available.
You can see the cumulative energy expenditure (in kilocalories, kcal) during exercise and total kilocalories of the session after exercise. You can also follow your total daily calories.
Helps you to understand how each training session benefits your fitness. It also gives you motivating feedback immediately after exercise. With the Training Benefit feature, you can make your training more varied by altering your training intensity and duration.
The Training Benefit feedback is based on exercise intensity and duration. It reads into how much time you spend and how many calories you burn in each intensity zone. You get a quick overview after each session and for more detailed feedback, you can either check your training file from your training computer or later in the Polar Flow app or web service.
Training Load shows you how strenuous you training session was and helps you compare the load of different workouts. For example, you can compare the load of a long low intensity cycling session to that of a short high intensity running session.
Training Load is based on the intensity and duration of a training session. The intensity of a session is measured mainly by using your heart rate. The calculation is further affected by your personal information, such as age, sex, weight, VO2max and training history.
Your aerobic and anaerobic threshold values are used in the calculation. In addition, the sport you are doing is taken into account via a sport specific factor, which improves the calculation accuracy.
Available in Polar Flow.
in Flow web service
Recovery Status helps you to find balance between training and rest and estimates how much training load you can tolerate. It keeps track of your cumulative load – that is, the intensity, volume and frequency of your training as well as your daily activity measured by a Polar wrist unit. Recovery Status takes your training background into account and estimates your current and future level of physical strain.
Too much training in relation to time for recovery may lead to fatigue and decrease in performance. On the other hand, with too little training within a time frame, you may not take advantage of your whole capacity. By keeping an eye on your recovery status you can plan your training so that you avoid over- and undertraining.
The four Recovery Status levels are:
- Very strained
You can see your Recovery Status in the Polar Flow web service.
in Flow web service
Back to Start
Directs you to your starting point in the shortest distance possible (straight line distance), as well as shows the distance to your starting point.
Distance (km, mi) can be set and measured in several ways. Training distance tells you the distance traveled during a training session. Lap distance tells you the distance of one lap.
Allows you to identify your current altitude and to determine altitude-related conditions. Your current altitude is shown as meters/feet and ascended and descended meters/feet. Altitude is measured either with GPS or an atmospheric air pressure sensor.
Allows you to choose the sport relevant for your training from over a hundred Polar sports with sport-specific reports. You can get the most valuable information for you from your chosen sport.
All sport profiles are based on certain logic and the most common (endurance) sports are enhanced with Polar-specific multipliers affecting calorie and training load calculation.
You can choose and adjust your own favorite sports and define specific settings for each one in Polar Flow. In more advanced training computers you can get tailored views during your training and choose what data you want to follow during training, for instance heart rate or just speed and distance.
User-adjustable training displays
You can tailor your training views to fit your needs. Customize your training views in the sport profiles settings in Polar Flow.
Built-in GPS provides accurate speed and distance measurement for a range of outdoor sports, and allows you to see your route on the map in the Polar Flow app and web service after your session.
See your speed/pace on your device during your workout and in Flow afterwards. You can also set a target based on your speed/pace training zones. You can view your current, average and maximum speed/pace.
You can create training targets in Polar Flow and save them to your training diary or as favorites for later use. Sync your targets to your training device. You can set phased targets with heart rate or speed/pace guidance to create an interval workout or add simple training targets, such as ‘burn 700 kcal cycling’ or ‘run 30 minutes’.
Your device will guide you throughout your training. You will get an alert on your device when you need to slow down or speed up to make sure your training goes as targeted.
After the training session you can analyze your result and compare it with your target in Polar Flow.
Stores your recent training files. Memory capacity and number of stored training files varies according to training computer and what and how much data is included in files (e.g. heart rate, GPS). Certain languages also affect the memory capacity.
Allows you to easily follow up on your past training and activity as well as your planned training sessions four weeks ahead and back in time. Information shown includes: training plans, individual training results, tests.
In Polar Flow web service you can follow your diary in a daily, weekly or monthly view.
Allows you to take laps on the go whenever you want.
Set your automatic laps in the Polar Flow web service based on a certain time frequency or distance.
Tracks your personal bests like calories, distance or speed/pace during the exercise, and notifies you after a training session when you have broken your record.
Real time VAM (average ascent speed) shows how many meters you climb per hour (vertical meters per hour).
When Autostop/start is on, your training computer automatically starts and stops the recording as you start or stop moving during training.