This study assessed and compared the validity of children’s effort ratings using the established Borg 6–20 Rating of Perceived Exertion (RPE) scale and a recently devised Children’s Effort Rating Table (CERT) during continuous cycle ergometry. Seventy school children were randomly assigned to one of two groups: Group 1 (RPE) and Group 2 (CERT). Both groups received two incremental exercise trials (Trial 1 and Trial 2) 7 days apart. For both scales, data analysis yielded significant (p < .01) Pearson correlations between perceived effort ratings and heart rate (HR) (rs ≥ .50) and perceived effort and absolute power outputs (rs ≥ .59). Moreover, correlations for CERT were consistently higher than for RPE. Test-retest intraclass correlations of R = .91 (CERT) and R = .90 (RPE) revealed that both scales were reliable. These data suggest that among preadolescent children the traditional scale (RPE) is not the only, nor indeed the best, option for monitoring perceived exertion during controlled exercise.
Kevin L. Lamb is with the Department of Physical Education and Sports Science at Chester College of Higher Education, Chester, CH1 4BJ, England.