Reneau, P., & Lockhart, A. (2004). Impact of cycling rates on heart rate and rate of perceived exertion while performed at the same work rate. Medicine and Science in Sports and Exercise, 36(5), Supplement abstract 913.

"Heart Rate (HR) and Rate of Perceived Exertion (RPE) are often used to determine appropriate exercise intensities. However, little is known of how HR and RPE differ when the rate of work, that is cycling rpms, is different but work performed is equivalent" (p. 132).

Ss (M = 7; F = 1) performed three submaximal cycle ergometer tests in a randomized order. Each test consisted of pedaling at 50, 65, or 80 rpm at 60, 100, and 160 W for a minimum of three minutes at each power output. RPE and HR were recorded for each minute of work. Comparisons were made for HR and RPE among equivalent power outputs at each cycling rate.

No significant differences were found among HRs for any power outputs measured. No significant differences were found among RPEs for rpm at the 60 W power output. There were significant differences among RPEs at the 50 vs. 65 and 80 rpm rates and between the 50 and 80 rpm rates at 160 W power output.

Implication. The work of exercise could be perceived as easier when cycling at a faster rate although the work being performance is similar.

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