MAF Method for determining your Aerobic Threshold


The MAF Method, short for, Maximum Aerobic Function, is a third option for determining Aerobic Threshold. It’s quick, easy, and we promise that you won’t break a sweat! This is a method that we recommend for those who have never engaged in organized aerobic training. It uses a simple formula developed by Dr. Phil Maffetone 30+ years ago. The MAF Method gives a conservative estimation of the Aerobic Threshold. When you use the resulting number as the top heart rate for your aerobic base training you will be safe.

The calculation is simple: Subtract your age from 180 and you have your MAF heart rate.

A 30 year old would therefore use 150 beats/minute as the upper limit of their aerobic training zone. To say it another way, this athlete would consider their aerobic training zone to be 130-150.

The formula is adjusted depending on training history thusly:

  • If you are injured, have regressed in training or competition, get more than two colds or bouts of flu per year, have allergies or asthma, or if you have been inconsistent or are just getting back into training, subtract an additional 5.
  • If you have been training consistently (at least four times weekly) for up to two years without any of the problems just mentioned, keep the number (180 minus your age) the same.
  • If you have been training for more than two years without any of the problems listed above, and have made progress in competition without injury, add 5.



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