RPE stands for “Rate of Perceived Exertion”
Which just basically means that it's a tool to measure the perceived difficult of your last set when lifting weights.
* This is especially helpful if you're unfamiliar with working with percentages. *
If you’ve heard me ask, “On a scale of 1-10, how difficult was that set? 1 is easy & 10 is difficult.”- then I’m using the RPE tactic.
With beginner clients (& even more intermediate or advanced), this is my favorite tool to use as a coach to gauge how they feel about the difficulty & load as it relates to the intended stimulus of the workout.
Since this is a subjective rating, it can be used across various domains it comes to training- Strength work, metabolic conditioning, olympic weightlifting, dumbbell or kettlebell work, gymnastics, etc.
Check out the infographic if you're a visual learner & take some notes on the tips below if you want to implement the RPE tactic into your training:
- Don’t think about it during your set. Simply lift the weights & analyze after.
- Be honest about your self-assessment of the load. This tactic is only effective if your honestly rating the difficulty of the load.
- If your warm-up weights feel crappy, don’t panic. Give it a couple more sets working up to see how your body responds. If you still feel like garbage, then keep the weights lower for the day. That’s the beauty of RPE training is that it can be adjusted based on what your body is feeling at the current moment.
- Your mood can absolutely affect this. If your attitude is in the dumps when you enter the gym, chances are that will have an influence on your feelings towards the weights. AKA, it’ll probably feel heavier than it actually is. Just something to take into consideration when using RPE.