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Rate of Perceived Exertion (RPE)

Rating of Perceived Exertion, or RPE, is one way of measuring the intensity of a workout. If you do not use a heart rate monitor, then it is the method to determine what intensity zone you are in, and where you need to be.

The Borg Rating of Perceived Exertion is a 1 to 20 scale; for our purposes, we will focus on the 6 to 20 range. The range was developed because it represents about 10% of the heart rate experienced by a moderately fit 20-something person. In other words, 6 = 60 bpm, or roughly a resting heart rate (no exertion), and 20 = 200 bpm, or maximum heart rate.

RPE # Breathing Training Zone
6 No exertion 1
7 Almost nothing
9 Very light
10 Notice breathing deeper, but still comfortable. Conversations possible 2
13 Aware of breathing harder; more difficult to hold conversation 3
15 Starting to breathe hard & getting uncomfortable 4
17 Deep and forceful breathing, uncomfortable, don't want to talk 5
19 Extremely Hard
20 Maximum Exertion