A Guide to Spinning® Energy Zones

The Spinning® heart rate zones are known as Energy Zones™ (EZ), and are divided into five different heart rate ranges that emphasize a different workout intensity. Working in each Energy Zone is important for a balanced exercise program, which improves all aspects of your fitness, including mental and physical endurance, strength and performance.

You can also ask your Certified Spinning Instructor how to use the Spinning Energy Zones in a longer-term training program to help you achieve your goals, overcome fitness plateaus, avoid overtraining and burnout. Let’s learn more about heart rate zone training.

The Five Spinning® Energy Zones™

Each Spinning heart rate zone has a specific cycling heart rate training purpose:

Recovery Energy Zone™

The purpose of this Energy Zone is to restore the body physically and mentally so your body can get stronger. Always ride with light resistance during a recovery ride.

Endurance Energy Zone™

The emphasis of endurance is finding a comfortable heart rate and pedaling style that can be maintained for a long period of time. Endurance training is your fitness foundation and key for increasing aerobic capacity and improving efficiency in metabolizing fat, pedaling efficiency and long-term energy.

Strength Energy Zone™

You are building mental and physical strength and power by gradually increasing resistance in the Strength Energy Zone. This Energy Zone includes seated and standing climbs followed by adequate recovery. You become stronger and more capable of handling challenging climbs.

Interval Energy Zone™

Intervals, a period of work followed by a period of rest, develop speed, tempo, timing and rhythm across a range of heart rates and enhance your ability to recover quickly after work efforts. Interval rides can include fast pedaling on the flats (at or below 110 RPM), acceleration drills and recovery stretches.

Race Day Energy Zone™

Race day rides should be treated like a real race — it’s training for peak performance! You should be 100% physically energized and mentally rested. Just as important, you should take a recovery day after a Race Day ride. Generally you can participate in a Race Day ride about once a month. Speak to your Certified Spinning Instructor about your goals for an optimal race day to challenge your body and celebrate the progress you’ve made riding in Spinning classes.

A Guide to Cycling Heart Rate Training

Step 1: Find Your Maximum Heart Rate

When it comes to indoor cycling heart rate training, there are a few things you should know. First, each Spinning heart rate zone is based on a percentage of your maximum heart rate (MHR) measured in beats per minute (BPM). Remember — maximum heart rate is not a target number to reach during your workout. Maximum heart rate is different for every person and affected by personal factors, including fitness level.

There are also many formulas to estimate your maximum heart rate. In the Spinning program, we use the following formula:

MHR = 208 – (0.70 x Age)

For example, for a 30 year old individual, their estimated maximum heart rate would be calculated as such:

208 – (0.70 x 30) = 187

So their estimated maximum heart rate is 187 BPM. Once one knows their estimated maximum heart rate, they can calculate what their indoor cycling heart rate training zones would be. For our above example, these zones would be calculated as such table:

Energy Zonesu2122Training Heart Rate Ranges
Recovery Energy Zone (50-65% MHR)206 x .50 = 103 BPM
206 x .65 = 134 BPM
Endurance Energy Zone (65-80% MHR)206 x .65 = 134 BPM
206 x .80 = 165 BPM
Strength Energy Zone (75-85% MHR)206 x .75 = 155 BPM
206 x .85 = 175 BPM
Interval Energy Zone (65% - Max Effort/95%)206 x .65 = 134 BPM
206 x .95 = 196 BPM
Race Day Energy Zone (80% - Max Effort/95%)206 x .80 = 165 BPM
206 x .95 = 196 BPM

Step 2: Ride in the Right Spinning® Energy Zone™

Before class begins, your Spinning Instructor will usually announce the Spinning Energy Zone on which the class will focus and the purpose of the ride. You can then monitor your Spinning heart rate zone based upon where your training heart rate range should be as shown in the above table. Using the example above, if this individual came to a class that was going to use the Strength Energy Zones, their heart rate should stay between 155 and 175 BPM during the class.

Wearing a heart rate monitor is the most accurate way to see how your heart responds during class. If you do not have a heart rate monitor, use a perceived exertion scale. In the Spinning program we used a modified Category Ratio-10 (CR-10) scale — a scale from 1-10, from rest to race day intensity! See the Perceived Exertion CR-10 Scale table below to determine how your exertion level correlates to the Spinning Energy Zones.

Energy Zoneu2122Intensity Range
Recovery Energy Zoneu212250-65% MHR
Endurance Energy Zoneu212265-80% MHR
Strength Energy Zoneu212275-85% MHR
Interval Energy Zoneu212265% MHR-Max Effort
Race Day Energy Zoneu2122 80% MHR-Max Effort
Number Category Spinningu00ae Energy Zoneu2122
1Extremely EasyRecovery Energy Zoneu2122
2Recovery Energy Zoneu2122
3EasyRecovery Energy Zoneu2122
4ModerateEndurance Energy Zoneu2122
5Moderately HardEndurance Energy Zoneu2122
6Strength Energy Zoneu2122
7HardStrength Energy Zoneu2122
8Very HardInterval Energy Zoneu2122
9Extremely HardInterval Energy Zoneu2122
10Maximal EffortRace Day Energy Zoneu2122

Talk to Your Spinning Instructor

Your Spinning instructor can explain how to use this rating of perceived exertion scale with the Energy Zones and help you determine your target heart rates and make sure you are riding at the right intensity during your indoor cycling heart rate training. Find a Spin class today to speak to an instructor and use these Spinning heart rate zones to maximize the effectiveness of your workouts.


  • spinner

    example cited in energy zones heart rate training was 208 – (0.70 x 30) = 206?
    Is this a math error or new math??
    208 – (0.70 x 30) = 187

    Posted On October 26, 2015

  • Hey there, I think your site might be having browser compatibility issues. When I look at your blog in Opera, it looks fine but when opening in Internet Explorer, it has some overlapping. I just wanted to give you a quick heads up! Other then that, fantastic blog!

    Posted On January 14, 2017

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