LOW RESISTANCE/HIGH REPETITIONS YIELD LOWER RPE
Lagally, K., Gearhart, R., Gallagher, K., Goss, F. L., & Robertson, R. J. (1999). Ratings of perceived exertion and lactate during strength and endurance resistance exercise in young adults. Medicine and Science in Sports and Exercise, 31(5), Supplement abstract 1001.
"During cycling, ratings of perceived exertion (RPE) are lower for a given power output when the pedal rte is fast and the brake resistance is low." (p. S215) This study investigated whether such a response would generalize to resistance training, and if RPE for active muscles would be higher than for the overall body.
Ss (M = 10; F = 9) were familiarized with the Borg Scale and their responses "anchored." A variety of 1-RM strength exercises were performed to establish a reference point for resistance training exercises. Each S performed under two different resistance-training formats. Strength trials consisted of performing one set of five repetitions at 90% 1-RM. The endurance trial consisted of one set of 15 repetitions at 30% 1-RM. RPEs were obtained immediately upon completion of the sets. Lactate measures were obtained before and after each trial.
RPEs were higher for the strength training condition than the endurance condition. In all conditions, RPE was higher for the active muscles than for the body overall. Lactate levels were higher post-exercise than before exercising.
Implication. If total work is the aim of exercising, low resistance and high repetitions might be a better formula for obtaining exercise adherence.
Return to Table of Contents for this issue.