Heart rate and ratings of perceived exertion during treadmill and elliptical exercise training

Percept Mot Skills. 2004 Feb;98(1):340-8. doi: 10.2466/pms.98.1.340-348.


Elliptical exercise has recently increased in popularity. However, little is known regarding heart rate and perceptual responses during this exercise mode even though such information is important with respect to prescribing and regulating exercise intensity. In the current study, heart rate and perceived exertion were compared between treadmill and elliptical exercise. During treadmill exercise (TM(EST)) participants estimated RPE-Overall as well as RPE-Legs and RPE-Chest. Two elliptical sessions followed: (1) RPE estimation during elliptical exercise (EL(EST)): HR (b/ min.) from TM(EST) was achieved during elliptical exercise, with participants estimating RPE-Overall, RPE-Legs, and RPE-Chest. (2) RPE production during elliptical exercise (EL(PROD)): RPE-Overall from TM(EST) was produced during elliptical exercise. There were no significant differences between modes for RPE-Overall (TM(EST): 11.2 +/- 2.2 vs EL(EST): 11.9 +/- 3.2) or RPE-Chest (TM(EST): 11.0 +/- 2.4 vs EL(EST): 11.7+/- 3.2). Mean RPE-Legs was significantly different (TM(EST): 11.2 +/- 2.4 vs EL(EST): 12.5 +/- 3.1). Heart rate was not significantly different between TM(EST) (163 +/- 16.6) and EL(PROD) (159 +/- 20.0). Analysis indicated elliptical exercise is perceived as more intense with respect to leg (RPE-Legs) exertion. Further, RPE-Overall appears effective for regulating heart rate during elliptical exercise.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Exercise Test*
  • Exercise*
  • Female
  • Heart Rate / physiology*
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Physical Exertion*