The rate of perceived exertion is the best way to control your intensity level during the workout. No one can tell you better about your physical conditions than your own body. And we have to teach ourselves to listen to it more carefully.

Rate of perceived exertion

Rate of perceived exertion: There is no device or monitor that considers your physical conditions or form on the day. So it is very difficult to just trust the given heart rate values without taking your body shape into account (alse read optimal exercise heart rate and heart rate calculation). The better our own perception and self-assessment the more are we able to use the rate of perceived exertion. Our self-assessment improves pretty quickly with a regular endurance training. This helps us to develop a good perception of the perceived exertion.

Rate of perceived exertion – scale

A recommendable approach would be to divide the perceived exertion into different levels. This creates a scale of exertion levels that helps you to determine your training intensity. Buskies W. and Boeckh-Behrens W. (Fitness-Gesundheits-Training, 2014) have determined a scale of 7 different exertion levels. Simplifying we could also go with a scale of 5 exertion levels. These would be:

1 easy        2 easy-to-medium        3 medium        4 medium-to-hard        5 hard

Easy would represent an exertion noticeably above the daily exertion-level and hard the maximum individual exertion. According to your training goals you can steer the intensity. For example in preparation for a competition you would rather train at higher levels. For active recreation you would choose a lower level.

Rate of perceived exertion – complexity

The rate of perceived exertion is available at any time (even when we are not working out) and gives you a direct impression of your current exertion. Also beginners can make use of this rating. This rating, like other body own feelings, are composed by a large variety of factors. These information for instance come from the muscles, the breathing, the heart rate, the body temperature, the mind, etc. This feeling is very complex and varies between different kinds of sport causing different objective exertion levels.

Experts recommend to use your determined maximum heart rate along with the rate of perceived exertion for an optimal control of the training intensity. Furthermore learn how to measure the heart rate.


Rate of perceived exertion

The rate of perceived exertion is the best way to control your intensity level during the workout. Learn how to do it right here!

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