The purpose of this investigation was to study the relationship between perceptual ratings from Borg's new category-ratio scale and some physiological variables during exercise. To accomplish this, scale ratings were related to blood and muscle lactate accumulation and heart rates during a progressive, maximal exercise test on the cycle ergometer. Ten physically active males were utilized as subjects; lactate data were recorded on only 7 of the 10 subjects. Three ratings of perceived exertion were made at each stage of the exercise test: leg effort (LE), cardiorespiratory effort (CE), and leg pain (LP). All ratings showed a positively accelerating increase with exercise intensity as did both blood and muscle lactate, while heart rate increased linearly. The exponents of the power functions describing the perceptual variation ranged from 1.63-1.67 compared to 2.2 for blood lactate and 2.7 for muscle lactate. Polynomial analysis revealed a similar quadratic trend for both perceptual and blood lactate data; however, muscle lactate demonstrated a cubic trend. No significant differences were found between CE and LE at 100, 200, and 300 W (P greater than 0.05). Subjects with the highest percentage of slow-twitch muscle fibers (mean ST%=51.14) rated LE and CE significantly lower ( mean of all power outputs, 0-300 W) than those with the lowest ST% (mean=34.52). It is concluded that the ratings from the category-ratio scale correspond very well with glycogenolytic metabolism leading to lactate accumulation during exercise.