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Here you get to the Endurance special part I (Endurance basics)


Have you heard... important a heart rate controlled workout is?



If you wish to increase your fitness and do something actively for your health, listen to your heart ! It lets you know your state of fitness and health. There are no workout successes by chance or automatically. This demands specific knowledge and methods which we would like to recommend in the second part of our endurance special. We present further concepts and explain the importance of a workout depending upon the heart rate and following specific workload intensities.

The complex construct „endurance“ is not only structured in the area of local/general endurance, but also regarding the area of aerobic/anaerobic endurance. The aerobic endurance is the ability of our organism to provide the necessary energy - exclusively by the oxidation of oxygen - in order to maintain a specific workload (i.e. running speed). The maximum oxygen uptake (VO2max) is used as measure for the aerobic endurance. The maximum oxygen uptake indicates how much oxygen the organism can use per minute and per kg weight. The higher the value of VO2max is, the more oxygen the body can take up via its lungs, transport into the blood and use for energy provision. In case the workload intensity is too high respectively more energy is need than it is on one's disposal, the body has to produce the necessary energy without oxygen. This is the so called anaerobic endurance. The energy requirement exceeds the oxygen supply and the lactic acid mirror¹ is increasing. 

The endurance is also structured into the area of short/middle/longterm endurance. In case the athlete needs 45 seconds to two minutes respectively between 20 seconds and one minute (according to HOLLMANN, KEUL among others) for covering a distance, it refers to shortterm endurance. The energy supply is mainly anaerobic. Middleterm endurance means that the athlete needs between two and eight minutes respectively between one and eight minutes (according to HOLLMANN, KEUL among others) for covering a distance. The energy supply is predominantly anaerobic. Longterm endurance means that the athlete needs more than eight minutes for covering a distance without an important speed decrease. The energy supply is almost exclusively aerobic. The endurance workout within the longterm zone is optimal for a cardiovascular workout as well as a workout of the breathing system (see Jonath/Krempel, 1981).


 Shortterm duration

 Middleterm duration 

 Longterm duration 

Workload duration

20-45 sec. up to 1 min.

1-2 min. up to 8 min.

8 min. up to ∞




middle to low

Energy supply




Chart 1: Overview

The corresponding workout success depends upon the adequate and individual workout intensity. There are several different possibilities to optimally regulate and control the workout and the workloads, whether you exercise in an intensity too high or too low. The most well-known are: stress ECG, measuring the lactate values, measuring the heart rate. The control of the workout by means of heart rate measurement is the most common thanks to its easy but precise ascertainability. Further advantages of heart rate measurement before, during and after the workout (i.e. by means of a pulse monitor) are:

  • Display of fitness condition
  • Regulation of workout intensity
  • Workout in heart rate zones
  • Control of workout heart rate
  • Avoidance of exceeded workout respectively unconditioned fitness level
  • Following workout progress
  • Motivation


Before you can optimally control your endurance workout and benefit from the advantages of the heart rate measurement, there are more concepts to be explained. Whenever it is referred to endurance, there are key words such as repose heart rate, maximum heart rate, workout heart rate, optimal workout zone, etc. How do they correlate with the context of "heart-rate oriented endurance workout"?

  • The repose heart rate is measured directly in the morning after the sleep and is approximately 70 beats/min for an average person, approximately 50 beats/min for an athlete and approximately 35-40 beats/min for a top sportsman. The measurement of the repose heart rate is important for the control of the state of health.
  • The maximum heart rate is the basic value for the workout frequencies deviated from that. It depends upon: age, gender, type of workload and readiness of performance. Other elements as i.e. environment conditions (height, temperature), daily fitness and cardiac-effective remedies influence the value of the maximum heart rate in a decisive way. A general rule for calculating your personal maximum heart rate is the following: max. HR = 220 – age.
  • The workout heart rate is the indication for the body demands and can be deviated from the maximum heart rate.
  • The optimal workout zone respectively the highest workout efficiency is 60 – 75 % of the maximum heart rate. 
  • The recovery heart rate is another indicator referring to the level of your state of fitness. The faster your cardiovascular system gets recovered, the better are your abilities of performance and regeneration. Excessive demand and fatigue because of an inaccurately dosed workout delay the return of the heart rate to the initial value. The good recovery ability is caracterized by the fact that the maximum heart rate is reduced within the first three minutes after the workload by approximately 35 beats per minute (see Hottenrott, 1994).  

An efficiant workout is caracterized by its regularity and scheduled approach. Furthermore, it is target-oriented and heart rate oriented !


¹ Lactate or lactic acid is a salt of the milk acid which is mainly produced during the metabolization of carbohydrates under lack of O2.


Here you get to the Endurance special part III (Workout planning and workout principles)

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