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Joshua Christen, Carl Foster, John P. Porcari, and Richard P. Mikat


The session rating of perceived exertion (sRPE) has gained popularity as a “user friendly” method for evaluating internal training load. sRPE has historically been obtained 30 min after exercise. This study evaluated the effect of postexercise measurement time on sRPE after steady-state and interval cycle exercise.


Well-trained subjects (N = 15) (maximal oxygen consumption = 51 ± 4 and 36 ± 4 mL/kg [cycle ergometer] for men and women, respectively) completed counterbalanced 30-minute steady-state and interval training bouts. The steady-state ride was at 90% of ventilatory threshold. The work-to-rest ratio of the interval rides was 1:1, and the interval segment durations were 1, 2, and 3 min. The high-intensity component of each interval bout was 75% peak power output, which was accepted as a surrogate of the respiratory compensation threshold, critical power, or maximal lactate steady state. Heart rate, blood lactate, and rating of perceived exertion (RPE) were measured. The sRPE (category ratio scale) was measured at 5, 10, 15, 20, 25, 30, and 60 min and 24 h after each ride using a visual analog scale (VAS) to prevent bias associated with specific RPE verbal anchors.


sRPE at 30 min postexercise followed a similar trend: steady state = 3.7, 1 min = 3.9, 2 min = 4.7, 3 min = 6.2. No significant differences (P > .05) in sRPE were found based on postexercise sampling times, from 5 min to 24 h postexercise.


Postexercise time does not appear to have a significant effect on sRPE after either steady-state or interval exercise. Thus, sRPE appears to be temporally robust and is not necessarily limited to the 30-min-postexercise window historically used with this technique, although the presence or absence of a cooldown period after the exercise bout may be important.

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Andrea Fusco, Christine Knutson, Charles King, Richard P. Mikat, John P. Porcari, Cristina Cortis, and Carl Foster

Purpose: Although the session rating of perceived exertion (sRPE) is primarily a marker of internal training load (TL), it may be sensitive to external TL determining factors, such as duration and volume. Thus, sRPE could provide further information on accumulated fatigue not available from markers of internal TL. Therefore, the purpose of this study was to investigate sRPE during heavy training bouts at relatively constant intensity. Methods: Eleven university swimmers performed a high-volume training session consisting of 4 × 10 × 100-yd (4 × 10 × 91.4 m). Repetition lap time and heart rate were measured for each repetition and averaged for each set. Blood lactate concentration was measured after each set. At the end of each set, a 10-minute rest period was allowed, during which sRPE values were obtained, as if the training bout had ended. Results: There were no differences between sets for lap time (P = .096), heart rate (P = .717), and blood lactate concentration (P = .466), suggesting that the subjects were working at the same external and internal intensity. There was an increase (P = .0002) in sRPE between sets (first 4 [1.2], second 5 [1.3], third 7 [1.3], and fourth 8 [1.5]), suggesting that even when maintaining the same intensity, the perception of the entire workload increased with duration. Conclusions: Increases in duration, although performed with a consistent internal and external intensity, influences sRPE. These findings support the concept that sRPE may provide additional information on accumulated fatigue not available from other markers of TL.

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Jana Hagen, Carl Foster, Jose Rodríguez-Marroyo, Jos J. de Koning, Richard P. Mikat, Charles R. Hendrix, and John P. Porcari

Music is widely used as an ergogenic aid in sport, but there is little evidence of its effectiveness during closedloop athletic events. In order to determine the effectiveness of music as an ergogenic aid, well-trained and task-habituated cyclists performed 10-km cycle time trials either while listening to self-selected motivational music or with auditory input blocked. There were no statistically significant differences in performance time or physiological or psychological markers related to music (time-trial duration 17.75 ± 2.10 vs 17.81 ± 2.06 min, mean power output 222 ± 66 vs 220 ± 65 W, peak heart rate 184 ± 9 vs 183 ± 8 beats/min, peak blood lactate 12.1 ± 2.6 vs 11.9 ± 2.1 mmol/L, and final rating of perceived exertion 8.4 ± 1.5 vs 8.5 ± 1.6). It is concluded that during exercise at competitive intensity, there is no meaningful effect of music on either performance or physiology.

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Blaine E. Arney, Reese Glover, Andrea Fusco, Cristina Cortis, Jos J. de Koning, Teun van Erp, Salvador Jaime, Richard P. Mikat, John P. Porcari, and Carl Foster

Purpose: The session rating of perceived exertion (sRPE) is a well-accepted method of monitoring training load in athletes in many different sports. It is based on the category-ratio (0–10) RPE scale (BORG-CR10) developed by Borg. There is no evidence how substitution of the Borg 6–20 RPE scale (BORG-RPE) might influence the sRPE in athletes. Methods: Systematically training, recreational-level athletes from a number of sport disciplines performed 6 randomly ordered, 30-min interval-training sessions, at intensities based on peak power output (PPO) and designed to be easy (50% PPO), moderate (75% PPO), or hard (85% PPO). Ratings of sRPE were obtained 30 min postexercise using either the BORG-CR10 or BORG-RPE and compared for matched exercise conditions. Results: The average percentage of heart-rate reserve was well correlated with sRPE from both BORG-CR10 (r = .76) and BORG-RPE (r = .69). The sRPE ratings from BORG-CR10 and BORG-RPE were very strongly correlated (r = .90) at matched times. Conclusions: Although producing different absolute numbers, sRPE derived from either the BORG-CR10 or BORG-RPE provides essentially interchangeable estimates of perceived exercise training intensity.