Rating of Perceived Exertion – RPE Scale

Rating of Perceived Exertion – RPE Scale

The best way to live a healthy life is to stay active and exercise regularly. But how do you evaluate your fitness level or how do you know if your health status is improving with the exercises? Among many methods, using Rating of Perceived Exertion (RPE) scale is the easy and effective way of measuring or tracking your progress. The progress can simply be evaluated by how much effort or energy you are spending to overcome a certain amount of work load or challenges. Technically, with regular activity or exercise, the amount of effort it takes to do an activity should decrease.

The Borg Rating of Perceived Exertion (RPE) scale is a helpful and simple to use tool to estimate how hard you are working to overcome a certain challenge and how it is changing overtime. This is mainly a subjective evaluation that how you think your body is exercising. Is it too hard for you or too easy? Do you think you can exercise longer or lift more times? Although perceived exertion is how you feel, RPE scale is related to heart rate or how hard your heart is working to move blood through the body.

How RPE scale works?

Find the best description of your level of exertion or effort from the ratings on the right side of the table given below. While rating your exertion level, forget about any pain, discomfort or any other issues other than your inner feeling of tiredness or how your heart is working.

After you find your matching description from the table, find the number rating for your description from the table. Now, if you add a zero to the end of that number will give you an estimate of your heart rate during that particular activity. This is known as training or a target heart rate. Most of the endurance training activities target to work out in between 12 and 16. This rating is a moderate activity zone.

If your RPE scale rating decreases for the particular activity over time, then it indicates that you have improved your fitness level. So, well done!! Keep it Up!!


Borg Rating of Perceived Scale; RPE scale


Number rating Verbal rating Example of activity
6 No exertion at all No activity. Doing nothing
8 Extremely light Effort in activity is just noticeable
9 Very light Cycling at very slow pace
11 Light You are putting some effort but still feels like you have enough energy to continue heavier activity
13 Somewhat hard You feel it is slowly getting difficult to continue the activity
15 Hard (heavy) You are working hard to continue but you think you can still continue for a bit
17 Very hard You are still going on but you are pushing very hard. It feels like the activity is too heavy for you and you feel to stop it because you are tired.
19 Extremely hard You feel that’s the maximum energy you have and you need to stop now.
20 Maximal exertion Maximal exertion to the level of exhaustion. Pushing further is not possible.

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