What is RPE (Rating of Perceived Exertion)?

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Rating of perceived exertion (RPE) is a measurement of how hard you feel like you are working during exercise on a numerical scale from 1-10.


  • The modified Borg RPE scale classifies intensity levels from minimal exertion up to complete exhaustion.
  • Using RPE helps gauge workouts by perceived effort rather than heart rate zones or percentages.
  • It accounts for subjective factors influencing exertion like fatigue, stress, nutrition and recovery.
  • Aim to train within target RPE ranges for endurance, power and strength gains. It indicates if you need to increase or decrease intensity.


  • Rating a steady run as RPE 5-6 out of 10 – moderate perceived intensity.
  • Hitting repetition failure on a tough set at RPE 9 heading toward muscle exhaustion.

Related Terms

  • Intensity, training load, volume, subjective metrics

Common Questions

  • Isn’t RPE unreliable? It’s subjective but useful for managing fatigue, recovery and regulating intensity.
  • How do I use RPE effectively? Track trends – perceived intensity should align with program goals and energy levels.

Do Not Confuse With

  • Percentage of 1RM – Objective strength training intensity measurement.
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