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RPE (Rate of Perceived Exertion) Scale For Exercise

Rate of Perceived Exertion (RPE) Scale

If you read fitness magazines or POPSUGAR Fitness regularly then you have probably noticed that we use the Rate of Perceived Exertion, or RPE, as a way to measure your exercise efforts. This 1-10 scale seems way more complicated than it really is, but it's a great and easy way for anyone to monitor her exercise intensity when doing cardio. What's more? It requires no equipment. Here is how you use it:

RPE What It Means
0-1 No exertion. The only movement you're getting is pushing buttons on the remote.
2-3 Light exertion. This is how you should feel when you're warming up, cooling down, and stretching.
4-5 Medium exertion. You're breathing a little faster. Your heart is pumping a little faster. You're feeling a little warmer.
6-7 Moderate exertion. You're breathing pretty hard now, you're probably sweating. You can talk, but it's getting tougher.
8-9 Hard exertion. You're breathing really hard and you can only say a few words at a time. You're wondering how long you can go on like this.
10 Hardest exertion. You can not keep this pace for more than a minute. Speaking is impossible. This is your limit.

Try it out the next time you're doing one of our cardio workouts.

Image Source: Corbis Images
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AMP AMP 9 years
I love changing up my RPE during a workout, intervals really get me working. I've recently started noticing that I can run at my higher RPE for a longer period of time without feeling like I'm really exerting myself. I guess that means its time to start going a little faster!!
nancita nancita 9 years
I never knew what this meant! Very cool. Thanks.
yasume yasume 9 years
I used to follow the RPE. Now I have a Heart Rate Monitor and it is excellent. I don't exercise without it. Because I am an advanced and obsessive workout person, it really helps me to keep my heart rate up. Love it!!!
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