WHAT IS RPE AND HOW DO I USE IT?
What is RPE?
Rate of Perceived Exertion.
RPE is a way to measure the effort you put into your sets. The higher on the scale you rate, the more exhausting the effort.
You just finished your set, how many more reps could you have done?
RPE of 10 - 0 reps
RPE of 9.5 - maybe 1 more rep
RPE of 9 - 1 rep
RPE of 8.5 - 1, maybe 2 reps
RPE of 8 - 2 reps
RPE of 7.5 - 2, maybe 3 reps
RPE of 7 - 3 reps
RPE of 5-6 - 4 or 5 reps
RPE of 1-4 - a lot of reps
Why use RPE?
It’s useful to know how hard you’re pushing yourself.
You want to stress your body enough to create the change, without over or under-doing it. Push too hard and you have no room for improvement, or you end up hurt. Too little might be great for a soft landing after a vacation, but not for building strength.
There is often an intent to the exercise.
If you’re following a training program, then there’s likely a plan. Our program provides exposure and progression over many weeks and months. Sets increase, reps adjust, all on purpose. A prescribed RPE can help us communicate what we want you to feel, and help you communicate how it’s actually feeling.
The longer you use it, the more useful it becomes.
That perceived exertion will change over time, especially when you have a plan and a community. You create a dialogue with your body, your coach, and your training. That communication with your sets and reps translates to experience. You’ll find it easier to select the right weights and know when to back off.
Life has a lot of stress getting thrown around. When you manage your efforts you can tip the scales in your favour. Avoid burnout or better yet, finally, see results.
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