Ueda, T., Kurokawa, T., Kikkawa, K., & Choi, T. H. (1993). Contribution of differentiated ratings of perceived exertion to overall exertion in women while swimming. European Journal of Applied Physiology, 66, 196-201.

This investigation determined the contribution of various sources of stress and effort in the overall perception of exertion in women while swimming crawl stroke.

Perceived effort was differentiated into: (a) cardiac frequency rating, (b) respiratory frequency rating, (c) arm rating, and (d) leg rating. Other measured variables were oxygen uptake, heart rate, ventilation, breathing frequency, tidal volume, and blood lactate concentration. There was a highly significant relationship between the four differentiated ratings of perceived exertion and their associated physiological responses. As the percentage of VO2max of the work increased, the major factor contributing to perceived exertion changed.

  1. From 20 to 45 percent of VO2max, the cardiac frequency rating was most associated with perceived exertion. However, this factor ceased to contribute significantly beyond 50% VO2max.
  2. Above 45 percent of VO2max, arm rating was perceived as being the major influence.
  3. From 66 to 96% VO2max the frequency of breathing was a significant secondary influence.
  4. Legs were only a secondary influence from 27 to 35 percent VO2max.

Implications. Below exertion levels that require 50% VO2max, heart rate and the work done by the legs govern the perception of exertion in women. Above 50% VO2max those factors are no longer of influence with arm rating being the major source of influence and the work of breathing being of secondary influence.

In race strategies, at least in women, it is appropriate to focus some coping behaviors on arm rate and the work of breathing.

Return to Table of Contents for this issue.