Efficacy of the Repetitions in Reserve-Based Rating of Perceived Exertion for the Bench Press in Experienced and Novice Benchers

J Strength Cond Res. 2019 Feb;33(2):337-345. doi: 10.1519/JSC.0000000000001901.


Ormsbee, MJ, Carzoli, JP, Klemp, A, Allman, BR, Zourdos, MC, Kim, J-S, and Panton, LB. Efficacy of the repetitions in reserve-based rating of perceived exertion for the bench press in experienced and novice benchers. J Strength Cond Res 33(2): 337-345, 2019-Autoregulation (AR) is the practice of adjusting training variables in response to athlete feedback. One component of AR postulated to enhance resistance training adaptations involves implementing a resistance training-specific rating of perceived exertion (RPE) scale measuring repetitions in reserve (RIR). The purpose of this study was to examine the efficacy of this method using the bench press exercise. Twenty-seven college-aged men were assigned to one of 2 groups based on training age: experienced benchers (EB) (n = 14, training age: 4.7 ± 2.0 years) and novice benchers (NB) (n = 13, training age: 1.1 ± 0.6 years). Subjects performed 1 repetition maximum (1RM) followed by single-repetition sets with loads corresponding to 60, 75, and 90% of 1RM and an 8-repetition set at 70% of 1RM. Subjects reported a corresponding RPE, based on RIR, for every set. Average velocity was recorded for each single-repetition set along with the first and last repetitions of the 8-repetition set at 70% of 1RM. Average velocity at 100% of 1RM in EB was slower (0.14 ± 0.04 m·s) compared with NB (0.20 ± 0.05 m·s) (p < 0.001). Experienced benchers recorded greater RPE than NB at 1RM (EB: 9.86 ± 0.14 vs. NB: 9.35 ± 0.36) (p = 0.011). No between-group differences existed for average velocity or RPE at any other intensity. Both EB (r = 0.85, p < 0.001) and NB (r = 0.85, p < 0.001) had strong inverse significant correlations between average velocity and RPE at all intensities. Our findings suggest that the RIR-based RPE scale may be an efficacious approach for AR of bench press training load and volume in college-aged men.

MeSH terms

  • Humans
  • Male
  • Muscle Strength / physiology*
  • Muscle, Skeletal / physiology*
  • Perception / physiology
  • Physical Exertion / physiology
  • Resistance Training / methods*
  • Universities
  • Weight Lifting / physiology*
  • Young Adult