If you’re not using RPE in your training, you should be.

RPE stands for “Rate of Perceived Exertion” and is a scale designed to gauge how hard you’re working.

Here’s the boring stuff:

Initially, the basic version of the RPE scale was called the Borg Scale, developed by a Swedish psychologist named Gunnar Borg in the 1980s.

It measured feelings of strain and fatigue, and was scored based on a participant’s perception of how hard a task was. Typically, it was used when measuring cardiovascular exercise. The scale started at a level 6 (where exertion was minimal) and went up to 20, which represented maximum exertion.

Within this, several ratings were given certain headings. A level 11 for instance was classed as “very light” while a 17 was “very hard.”

The first version of the Borg Scale worked fine, but there were flaws, mainly the fact that starting at six was a little odd, and that having 15 different levels was probably more than was needed, making it difficult for the average exercises to accurately judge their effort rating.

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