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A New Twist on Zone 2 Training

strength training training zone2 Apr 02, 2024


By Carla DiGirolamo, MD, CFL1 


Zone 2 training is defined as exertion in a heart rate range that is maintained at 60-70% of one’s maximum heart rate. There are many ways to calculate maximum heart rate with the most common method being subtracting your age from 220. If you do not have a heart rate monitor, an easy way to stay within the ballpark of this heart rate range is to hold your exertion to a level where you can maintain nasal breathing. But if your nostrils start flaring like a bull, slow it down! This is typically a “conversational” pace where you could converse with a training buddy during the workout.


This type of lower-intensity training plays a critical role in every program at every fitness level. It is designed to target the aerobic energy system and is meant to be of longer duration. These sessions are important for recovery during de-load weeks before an event and for inclusion as active recovery days on a regular training schedule.


When we think of Zone 2 training, we think of a light jog, zoning out into a meditative state, rucking, or other single cardiovascular-focused movement for a 45-minute duration or more. This week’s workout is a modification of a zone 2 CrossFit-stye workout designed by Train FTW that puts a new twist on Zone 2 training by incorporating cardiovascular, light strength, mobility, and core-targeted movements. This adds a wider variety of movements and skills to your workout which results in a more comprehensive physical training and recovery experience.


For more functional fitness workouts designed for midlife women, check out the “Weekly Workout” series every Monday in Athletic Aging.



Warm Up


5 minutes easy bike, run, brisk walk, or check out the “Chan Warm-Up” from Train FTW


Movement Practice


Take 5-10 minutes to select your options for the workout and practice 5-10 repetitions of each movement. Again, this is a lower-intensity workout so your options should feel relatively easy during practice.




TIP! Some of these movements may elevate your heart rate more than you think! Slow the pace of the repetitions, use light weights, and take frequent short breaks if you sense that you are going beyond zone 2.

3 rounds


1:00 rest


3 rounds

  •  3:00 ZONE 2 Bike, Run, Row, or Box Step Up on a Low Box
  •  1:00 High Plank Alternating Toe Taps
  •  0:30 Oblique Twist to the right side (Do not alternate. Starting from the middle using a light plate/dumbbell twist to the right, back to the middle, to the right, to the middle, and so on for 30 seconds).
  •  0:30 Oblique Twist to the left side (starting from the middle using a light plate/dumbbell)


1:00 rest


AMRAP 12:00 (As many rounds as possible in 12 minutes)


Cool Down

One thing that so often takes a back seat for busy people is cooling down, but not today. Warming up and cooling down is self-care for your body and mind. Round out today’s recovery workout with a stress-relieving cool-down. #dontskiptheyoga

15-minute yoga for stress relief

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