Monday, 17 Jun 2024

Rating of Perceived Exertion Scales

The Rating of Perceived Exertion (RPE) Scale is a valuable tool used to determine exercise intensity levels in various contexts. Researchers often utilize this scale to measure intensity in their studies, while fitness trainers and coaches may incorporate it into training programs to describe the intensity of workouts. It provides individuals with a subjective measure of how hard their body feels like it’s working during exercise, with descriptors ranging from “very light” to “very hard.”

The commonly used RPE Scale is based on the research of Gunnar Borg and is frequently referred to as the Borg Scale. Several versions of this scale exist, each with its own unique characteristics. They include:

  • Borg 6-20: The original scale developed by Borg, ranging from 6 to 20, which can correspond to 1/10 of the exercise heart rate.
  • Borg CR10: An updated combined category and ratio scale by Borg, with ratings from 0 (nothing at all) to 10 (very very hard).
  • Borg CR100 (centiMax) Scale: A more finely graded CR-Scale compared to CR10.
  • Topend Sport’s RPE-5 Hand Scale: A new scale that offers advantages over other scales. With this RPE Scale, individuals simply hold up their fingers to indicate the intensity level on a scale from 1 to 5.
  • Rob’s RPE-10 Hand Scale: A variation of the Borg CR10 scale incorporating the Chinese one-hand counting method. Here, subjects use one hand to indicate the intensity level from 1 to 10.
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Instructions for Use

To accurately use the RPE measurement, it is essential to assess exertion levels during exercise rather than afterward. It is recommended to provide participants with proper instruction on how to use the RPE scales before engaging in physical activity. Consider the following example as a guideline for explaining the process:

Do not focus on any specific factor such as leg pain or shortness of breath. Instead, concentrate on your overall feeling of exertion. Look at the rating scale while exercising and select the number that best corresponds to your level of exertion. Try to assess your level of exertion as honestly as possible. Remember, it is your own sense of effort and exertion that matters, not how it compares to others.

Selected References

For further reading and research, you may refer to the following references:

  • Borg, G. “Perceived Exertion as an indicator of somatic stress,” Scandinavian journal of Rehabilitation Medicine 1970, 2(2), 92-98.
  • Borg G.A. “Psychophysical bases of perceived exertion,” Medicine and Science in Sports and Exercise. 1982; 14:377-381.
  • Borg GAV. “Borg’s Rating of Perceived Exertion and Pain Scales.” Champaign, IL: Human Kinetics, 1998.
  • Borg E, Borg G, Larsson K, Letzter M, Sundblad BM. “An index for breathlessness and leg fatigue,” Scand J Med Sci Sports. 2010 Aug;20(4):644-50.

Related Pages

Explore the following related pages to enhance your understanding of exercise-related scales and questionnaires:

  • Rating of Fatigue: A scale similar to RPE, designed specifically for measuring fatigue.
  • Resistance Training RPE: A subjective tool that combines RPE and Reps in Reserve (RIR) to determine resistance training intensity levels.
  • Reps in Reserve (RIR): Learn about how many more strength lifts you can perform.
  • Temperature Ratings: A scale used to rate feelings of being hot or cold.
  • Other athlete questionnaires: Discover additional questionnaires commonly used in athletic settings.
  • About the Likert Scale: Gain insights into the Likert Scale, widely used to measure attitudes and opinions.
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What is the purpose of the Rating of Perceived Exertion (RPE) Scale?

The RPE Scale serves as a subjective measure of exercise intensity, allowing individuals to assess how hard their body is working during physical activity. It provides a standardized way of describing exertion levels and is utilized in both research studies and training programs.

How do I use the RPE Scale effectively?

To use the RPE Scale effectively, it is crucial to assess exertion levels during exercise, rather than after. Look at the rating scale and choose the number that best corresponds to your perceived level of exertion. It is important to evaluate your personal feeling of effort and exertion honestly and independently, focusing on your overall experience rather than comparing it to others.

Are there different versions of the RPE Scale?

Yes, there are various versions of the RPE Scale available. The most commonly known ones include the original Borg 6-20 scale, Borg CR10 scale, Borg CR100 (centiMax) Scale, Topend Sport’s RPE-5 Hand Scale, and Rob’s RPE-10 Hand Scale. Each version has its own unique characteristics and advantages, catering to different preferences and contexts.

Can I use the RPE Scale for activities other than exercise?

Absolutely! While the RPE Scale is primarily used to assess exercise intensity levels, it can also be applied to other activities that require physical exertion. Whether you’re engaging in sports, household chores, or recreational activities, the RPE Scale can provide a valuable tool for gauging your perceived effort.

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