Effect of Training-Session Intensity Distribution on Session Rating of Perceived Exertion in Soccer Players

in International Journal of Sports Physiology and Performance
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To examine the effect of different exercise-intensity distributions within a training session on the session rating of perceived exertion (RPE) and to examine the timing of measure on the rating.


Nineteen junior players (age 16 ± 1 y, height 173 ± 5 cm, body mass 64 ± 6 kg) from a Swiss soccer team were involved in the study. Percentage of heart rate maximum (%HR) and RPE (Borg CR100®) were collected in 4 standardized training sessions (conditions). The Total Quality of Recovery scale (TQR) and a visual analogue scale (VAS) for pain of the lower limbs were used to control for the effect of pretraining fatigue. Every session consisted of three 20-min blocks of different intensities (ie, low-moderate-high) performed in a random order. RPE was collected after every block (RPE5), immediately after the session (RPE-end), and 30 min after the session (RPE30).


RPE5s of each block were different depending on the distribution sequence (P < .0001). RPE-end, TQR, and VAS values were not different between conditions (P = .57, P = .55, and P = .96, respectively). The %HR was significantly different between conditions (P = .008), with condition 3 higher than condition 2 (74.1 vs 70.2%, P = .02). Edwards training loads were not significantly different between conditions (P = .09). RPE30 was not different from RPE-end (P > .05).


The current results show that coaches can design training sessions without concern about the influence of the within-session distribution of exercise intensity on session-RPE and that RPE can be collected at the end of the session or 30 min later.

Fanchini is with FC Internazionale, Milan, Italy, and the Faculty of Exercise and Sport Science, University of Verona, Verona, Italy. Ghielmetti is with Spezia Calcio, La Spezia, Italy. Coutts is with the Faculty of Health, University of Technology, Sydney (UTS), Sydney, Australia. Schena is with the Faculty of Exercise and Sport Science, University of Verona, Verona, Italy. Impellizzeri is with the Dept of Research and Development, Schulthess Clinic, Zurich, Switzerland.

Address author correspondence to Maurizio Fanchini at maurizio.fanchini@gmail.com.