Rating of perceived exertion as a tool for prescribing and self regulating interval training: a pilot study
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The aim of the present study was to analyse the usefulness of the 6-20 rating of perceived exertion (RPE) scale for prescribing and self-regulating high-intensity interval training (HIT) in young individuals. Eight healthy young subjects (age = 27.5 +/- 6.7 years) performed maximal graded exercise testing to determine their maximal and reserve heart rate (HR). Subjects then performed two HIT sessions (20 min on a treadmill) prescribed and regulated by their HR (HR: 1 min at 50% alternated with 1 min at 85% of reserve HR) or RPE (RPE: 1 minute at the 9-11 level [very light-fairly light] alternated with 1 minute at the 15-17 level [hard-very hard]) in random order. HR response and walking/running speed during the 20 min of exercise were compared between sessions. No significant difference between sessions was observed in HR during low- (HR: 135 +/- 15 bpm; RPE: 138 +/- 20 bpm) and high-intensity intervals (HR: 168 +/- 15 bpm; RPE: 170 +/- 18 bpm). Walking/running speed during low- (HR: 5.7 +/- 1.2 km.h(-1); RPE: 5.7 +/- 1.3 km.h(-1)) and high-intensity intervals (HR: 7.8 +/- 1.9 km.h(-1); RPE: 8.2 +/- 1.7 km.h(-1)) was also not different between sessions. No significant differences were observed in HR response and walking/running speed between HIT sessions prescribed and regulated by HR or RPE. This finding suggests that the 6-20 RPE scale may be a useful tool for prescribing and self-regulating HIT in young subjects.