Rate of Perceived Exertion - Measuring Exercise Intensity

Rating of Perceived Exertion {RPE} is a subjective test to measure Exercise Intensity. It gives a good indication of how hard you are exercising and helps form a guideline for exercise prescription and design future workouts.

Simply stated RPE evaluates how hard you are working at any given time during your workouts.  On a number range from 1-10 you can gauge your intensity levels.  A level 1 rating is at rest and level 10 is maximal exertion.

RPE can be used as a progression tool. As a beginner you should train at lower levels and 2-4 weeks down the line  add one more level for progressive training.

In Simpler terms here is a how to measure your RPE.

1-2 level - minimal exertion like in a simple walk

3-7 level - moderate exertion like in brisk walking and running. Even at this intensity you still should be able to pass the "Talk Test".

8-10 level -  Very hard exertion as in High Intensity Aerobic Training, panting , heavy breathing and close to total exhaustion. Usually used by athletes for shorted durations to build maximal endurance capacity and lactate threshold training.

You can use RPE in conjunction with Heart Rate estimation for accuracy.

Since RPE is subjective in nature, measuring your Heart Rate manually or by using Heart Rate Monitor is more accurate as it requires no supervision.

Rating of Perceived Exertion is usually done using the 15 point Borg Scale. For more information please see  Borg's Perceived Exertion and Pain Scales, Human Kinetics, 1998.

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