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What is RPE (Rate of Perceived Exertion)?

Rate of Perceived Exertion (RPE) is a self-assessment scale that athletes and coaches use to gauge the intensity of exercise. Unlike objective measures like heart rate or pace, RPE relies on an individual's subjective feeling of effort, fatigue, and exertion during a workout.

The most common RPE scale ranges from 0 to 10, where 0 represents "no exertion at all" and 10 signifies "maximal exertion." A rating of 4 to 5 on this scale is often considered to be "somewhat hard" and corresponds to a moderate level of exercise intensity.

Why RPE Could Be a Better Measure Than Other Available Measures Such as Heart Rate Monitoring

  1. Individualised Assessment: RPE takes into account the individual's unique perception of effort, which can vary based on factors like fatigue, mood, and overall well-being. This makes it a highly personalised measure of exercise intensity.

  2. No Special Equipment Required: Unlike heart rate monitors (HRM) or other technological tools, RPE doesn't require any special equipment. It's a simple and accessible way for anyone to gauge their exercise intensity.

  3. Adaptation to Various Factors: Heart rate can be influenced by factors unrelated to exercise intensity, such as stress, dehydration, or temperature. RPE, on the other hand, provides a more direct insight into how hard the body feels it's working, regardless of external influences.

  4. Useful Across Different Activities: RPE can be applied to various types of exercise, from running and cycling to strength training. It's a versatile tool that can be used to guide workouts across different disciplines.

  5. Complementary to Other Measures: While RPE has its advantages, it doesn't have to replace other measures like HRM. Many athletes and coaches use RPE in conjunction with objective data to get a more comprehensive understanding of their training intensity.

  6. Can be Scaled: If you're a coach writing a training plan that many athletes of different fitness levels will use, RPE can be an elegant way to ensure that the athlete work at the right intensity, without having to prescribe heart range ranges or pace targets. 

Check out workout ideas on our Journal and recover from your hard sessions with Roam Protein

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