Polar - The STAR Training Program and OwnZone

Getting the most out of your training doesn’t always mean working faster or harder. The best way to improving your fitness and seeing results is to train at the right intensity. So with a heart rate monitor, you can make sure you’re not over or under training, and you can make each session count. With Polar as your training partner, you’ll have evidence of your progress – motivating you each and every time you train.
As the inventors of the first heart rate monitor for training over 30 years ago, we’re truly specialists in the field. Since then we’ve been leading this category, and the world’s top specialists have been working on the most accurate and intelligent training computers and heart rate based features. Our unrivaled physiological expertise, based on in-depth scientific studies, allows us to lead the way in innovative product development.
What makes Polar truly unique is that our features give guidance based on your personal information, and individual heart rate and its variation. The state-of-the-art intelligence of Polar products can tell you how much, how often and how hard to train. This is why so many top athletes use Polar training computers. But you don’t have to be a professional athlete to benefit from heart rate monitoring. At Polar, we understand how important training is to you. So we make it as much a part of our lives as it is of yours.

STAR TRAINING PROGRAM (featured on select products)
We all have our own reasons to take up training. Some of us train to improve fitness or health, some enjoy the social aspects of the sport, while others exercise to manage their weight. Motivation is the key to a successful training program. The STAR Training Program feature is developed to maintain training motivation through all week and every week. It helps physically active people to improve their aerobic fitness more compared to general training recommendations – and with lower total training time and intensity[1].
With the STAR Training Program, you can choose whether you want to maximize performance or improve fitness, or lose some weight. The STAR Training Program then crafts you an aerobic training program with weekly targets, expressed in total exercise duration in three different intensity levels on one week. Your task is to train at all three intensity levels in order to reach optimal results. The type of sports or exercise is free for you to choose.<br>
When you plan your training week, remember to alternate heavier days with lighter ones, and not to schedule all your sessions for the weekend. Spread them out evenly throughout the week for better results. After a full week of training, the STAR Training Program gives you clear feedback. If you train right, it will reward you for a good week of training. In addition, it adapts to your training habits to update your training program for the next week, keeping you motivated in reaching your long-term training target.
1. Ring-Dimitriou et al. Changes in physical fitness in moderately fit adults with and without the use of exercise telemetry monitors. Published:Eur J Appl Physiol. 2008 Mar;102(5):505-13.

OWNZONE (featured on select products)
Depending on the day and time, your physical state might vary. If you are stressed or tired, or if you have not fully recovered from your latest training session, Polar can determine that from your heart rate and guide you to your ideal training zone for that moment. The unique Polar OwnZone is a feature that defines your personal heart rate zones for aerobic training based on your physical and mental state of that exact moment. The OwnZone guides you through a warm-up and will automatically determine individual and safe exercise intensity zones for you.

The OwnZone determination is based on heart rate variability measurement during exercise and it is a result of extensive research cooperation between Polar and international research groups. The results obtained on Polar OwnZone indicate that it can be used for reliable heart rate target zone determination[1]. With your precise OwnZone, you know exactly what the optimal target zones for your training are. Training in the right heart rate zones is the key to successfully improving your fitness. For effective and versatile training, make use of the entire OwnZone range by training at moderate and lower intensities and occasionally at hard intensity, too.<br>
Since warm-up routines differ for different types of exercise, and since your physical and mental state may also vary from day to day, using the OwnZone feature for every session guarantees the most effective heart rate target zones for that particular type of exercise and day. OwnZone should be used especially when changing training environment or type, or if you are unsure about your present physical or mental state.

It is important to consider your current fitness level before you begin designing your exercise plan. Having this information will help you choose a more accurate and realistic goal for yourself, and, in fact, will influence the entire makeup of your program.

There are numerous ways to test your aerobic fitness, ranging from sophisticated lab tests to simple field tests. All are designed to measure or predict maximal oxygen uptake. The easiest way to test your own fitness level is the Polar Fitness Test.
You can perform the Polar Fitness Test easily and reliably in the privacy of your own home. All you need is your Polar Heart Rate Monitor with Fitness Test feature and five, short minutes to get a measure of your current fitness level. It is a safe test, even if you are unfit, as it does not require any physical exertion whatsoever. In fact, you should perform the test at complete rest. The test is based on several variables (heart rate, heart rate variability, age, body weight, gender and level of physical activity).
The result of the Polar Fitness Test is OwnIndex. This is a value that is comparable to your maximal oxygen uptake (VO2max), a commonly used descriptor of aerobic fitness. OwnIndex rises as you get fitter, and can range from about 25 for sedentary or unfit persons to 95, a level reached by some Olympic-level endurance athletes.
Progress in your OwnIndex will gradually occur over time. Testing yourself once a month will give you a good picture of these changes, making the OwnIndex an excellent yardstick to track the way your aerobic fitness is improving.

Exercise zones are ranges between the lower and upper heart rate limits expressed as beats per minute (bpm) or as percentages of your maximum heart rate (HRmax). HRmax is the highest number of heartbeats per minute during maximum physical exertion.

Heart Rate Target Zones
Exercise can be divided into three different intensity zones. Each of these intensity levels corresponds to various health and fitness improving mechanisms in your body.

Light Intensity Zone
When your heart beats at 60-70% of your HRmax (HRmax %), you are in the Light Intensity Zone. Whether you have just started working out or you exercise fairly regularly, much of your workout will be in this zone. Fat is the body's main source of energy at this level of intensity; therefore this zone is also good for weight control. This intensity still feels fairly easy for most people and provides, for example, the following benefits:
-Helps in weight control
-Improves endurance
-Improves aerobic fitness
Moderate Intensity Zone
Push on to 70-80% of your HRmax, and you are in the Moderate Intensity Zone. This is especially good for people who are exercising regularly. For most people, this is often the fastest pace they can maintain and still remain comfortable and free of pain. Exercising in this zone is particularly effective for improving aerobic (i.e. cardiovascular) fitness. If you are out of shape, your muscles will use carbohydrates for fuel when you are exercising in this zone. As you get fitter, your body starts using a higher and higher percentage of fat for fuel, thus preserving its limited stores of muscle carbohydrate. Exercising in the moderate intensity zone results in some additional benefits:
-Improves aerobic fitness
-Improves endurance
-Helps in weight control
-Accustoms your body to exercising at a faster pace
-Begins to raise the speed you can maintain without building up lactic acid
Hard Intensity Zone
At 80-90% of your HRmax, you have moved into the Hard Intensity Zone. Exercise in the hard intensity zone definitely feels "hard." You will find yourself breathing heavily, having tired muscles and feeling fatigued. This intensity is recommended occasionally for fit people. Exercising in this zone is intensive, so it provides some unique benefits:
-Increases muscles' tolerance to lactic acid
-Improves hard, short effort ability
When you exercise in the correct intensity zones, it guarantees your enjoyment in your favorite sports. Alternate between intensity zones to improve your fitness and get variation in your exercise. Remember that the lower the intensity the longer you can comfortably exercise in it. Exercise in the higher intensity for shorter periods.

Note: Polar target heart rate intensity definition is modified from international exercise science authorities' recommendations in which light intensity can reach lower than 60% of HRmax.