RPE: What Is It, and How Can It Improve Your Workout?

What Is RPE?

As the term suggests, rate of perceived exertion is a subjective (egghead term: psychophysiological) measure of how hard you feel you’re exercising relative to what you believe is your maximum intensity — regardless of whether you’re running, cycling, rowing, swimming or doing Body Beast. Indeed, it can be used for just about any form of exercise, and when used regularly, it can give you vital clues to your body’s response to exercise, and how you can adjust not only your laps, intervals, loads, sets, and/or reps in your current workout (whatever kind of cardio or strength training it may be), but also how to plan out your exercise program in the long term.

That makes it a powerful tool for auto-regulation, which is the adjustment of your training based on your body’s real-time response to an exercise or workout.

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