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The Sub-Max Step Test


Heart rate training can mean the difference between an effective workout and an exercise in futility.

With a heart-rate monitor and a step bench, you can determine your maximum heart rate with what many experts now feel is a more effective measure. (Check your target heart rate with our calculator.)

Just three minutes on a step bench will give you your maximum heart rate -- the information needed to work out effectively. If you don't have a step bench, we recommend The Step Original Health Club Step Aerobic Trainer#.

To Perform the Test:

Step up and down on an 8-inch step for three minutes without pausing. Check your heart rate during the thrid minute. Then, add to that the "estimate factor" for your fitness level:

  • Poor shape equals 55
  • Average shape equals 65
  • Excellent shape equals 75

The total is your estimated maximum heart rate.

Step Bench

To Burn Fat

For most beginners, the maximum fat-burning zone is 70 percent to 80 percent of their maximum heart rate.

Note: As you get more fit, you will have to work harder to get to your maximum heart rate zone, but it is best not to go over 90 percent.

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