Session rating of perceived exertion (sRPE) is known to significantly relate to heart-rate (HR) -based methods of quantifying internal training load (TL) in a variety of sports. However, to date this has not been investigated in fencing and was therefore the aim of this study. TL was calculated by multiplying the sRPE with exercise duration and through HR-based methods calculated using Banister and Edwards TRIMP. Seven male elite foil fencers (mean ± SD age 22.3 ± 1.6 y, height 181.3 ± 6.5 cm, body mass 77.7 ± 7.6 kg) were monitored over the period of 1 competitive season. The sRPE and HR of 67 training sessions and 3 competitions (87 poule bouts and 12 knockout rounds) were recorded and analyzed. Correlation analysis was used to determine any relationships between sRPE- and HR-based methods, accounting for individual variation, mode of training (footwork drills vs sparring sessions), and stage of competition (poules vs knockouts). Across 2 footwork sessions, sRPE and Banister and Edwards TRIMP were found to be reliable, with coefficient of variation values of 6.0%, 5.2%, and 4.5%, respectively. Significant correlations with sRPE for individual fencers (r = .84–.98) and across mode of exercise (r = .73–.85) and competition stages (r = .82–.92) were found with HR-based measures. sRPE is a simple and valuable tool coaches can use to quantify TL in fencing.
Turner, Buttigieg, and Phillips are with the London Sport Inst, Middlesex University, London, UK. Marshall and Noto are with British Fencing, London, UK. Kilduff is with the Sports Science Dept, University of Wales, Swansea, UK.