Perceptually regulated training at RPE13 is pleasant and improves physical health

Med Sci Sports Exerc. 2012 Aug;44(8):1613-8. doi: 10.1249/MSS.0b013e31824d266e.


Purpose: Despite endorsement by various health organizations, there is a lack of research on the effectiveness of perceptually regulated exercise training (PRET) as a method of exercise intensity prescription. The purpose of this study was to confirm the efficacy of an 8-wk PRET program clamped at RPE13 to improve aerobic fitness and cardiovascular health. The affective response to this method of exercise prescription was also assessed.

Methods: Sedentary volunteers (age = 34.3 ± 13.0 yr, weight = 72.5 ± 13.7 kg, height = 1.7 ± 0.1 m) were randomly assigned to either a training (n = 16) or a control (n = 10) group. All participants completed a graded exercise test to determine aerobic capacity at baseline and after the intervention. Participants allocated to the training group performed 30 min of PRET at RPE13 on the Borg 6-20 RPE Scale on three occasions per week for 8 wk. Affective valence was measured using the Feeling Scale.

Results: The RPE-regulated training resulted in improvements (P < 0.01) in V˙O(2max), mean arterial pressure, total cholesterol, and body mass index in the training group across time. During training at RPE13, V˙O(2) increased (P < 0.01) from week 1 (19.2 ± 1.1 mL·kg·min) to week 8 (23.4 ± 1.1 mL·kg·min). On average, affect was positive and stable throughout training (3.4 ± 1.2). Affect measured at RPE13 in the baseline and postintervention graded exercise tests increased in the training group (3.1 ± .9 to 3.7 ± 1.1, P < 0.05), whereas it decreased in the control group (2.8 ± 1.1 to 2.6 ± 1).

Conclusions: Sedentary individuals were able to use PRET at RPE13 to improve their cardiovascular health and fitness, and on average, the exercise intensities selected were perceived to feel pleasant.

Publication types

  • Randomized Controlled Trial

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Body Composition
  • Exercise / physiology
  • Exercise / psychology*
  • Exercise Test
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Oxygen Consumption
  • Physical Education and Training / methods*
  • Physical Fitness / physiology*
  • Sedentary Behavior
  • Young Adult