CROSS-MODAL REFERENCING OF RPE IS UNRELIABLE FOR LOWER LEVELS OF EFFORT
Green, J. M., Michael, T. J., & Solomon, A. H. (1997). The use of ratings of perceived exertion for self-monitoring swimming intensity. Medicine and Science in Sports and Exercise, 29(5), Supplement abstract 1229.
The use of ratings of perceived exertion (RPE- Borg) for self-monitoring swimming intensity at practice was evaluated.
Ss (N = 19; competent serious swimmers) performed six trials. RPEs were anchored in cycling and arm-ergometry trials. Swimming was performed at RPEs of 12 and 16 as determined in the other two activities. Mean heart rates of the modalities were compared.
It was found that RPEs were effective for defining an upper boundary for swimming intensity. However, when RPE was not anchored to swimming but established on some other modality, RPE levels of 12 were unreliable.
Implication. RPE is very reliable at higher levels of intensity (e.g., 16) but when used at lower levels it needs to be anchored in the specific activity, in this case, swimming. It is not appropriate to use levels of RPE determined from testing on activities other than swimming in swimming settings.
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