Monitoring exercise intensity during resistance training using the session RPE scale

J Strength Cond Res. 2004 May;18(2):353-8. doi: 10.1519/R-13113.1.


This study investigated the reliability of the session rating of perceived exertion (RPE) scale to quantify exercise intensity during high-intensity (H), moderate-intensity (M), and low-intensity (L) resistance training. Nine men (24.7 +/- 3.8 years) and 10 women (22.1 +/- 2.6 years) performed each intensity twice. Each protocol consisted of 5 exercises: back squat, bench press, overhead press, biceps curl, and triceps pushdown. The H consisted of 1 set of 4-5 repetitions at 90% of the subject's 1 repetition maximum (1RM). The M consisted of 1 set of 10 repetitions at 70% 1RM, and the L consisted of 1 set of 15 repetitions at 50% 1RM. RPE was measured following the completion of each set and 30 minutes postexercise (session RPE). Session RPE was higher for the H than M and L exercise bouts (p < or = 0.05). Performing fewer repetitions at a higher intensity was perceived to be more difficult than performing more repetitions at a lower intensity. The intraclass correlation coefficient for the session RPE was 0.88. The session RPE is a reliable method to quantify various intensities of resistance training.

Publication types

  • Clinical Trial
  • Randomized Controlled Trial

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Analysis of Variance
  • Cross-Over Studies
  • Exercise / psychology*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Physical Education and Training / methods*
  • Physical Exertion*
  • Psychometrics / methods*
  • Reproducibility of Results
  • Weight Lifting / psychology*