What is RPE

Rated Perceived Exertion Scale or RPE is used to put a measurable number on your perceived level of exertion during exercise.

Doctors use a similar scale all the time to get a gauge on a patients pain level. In the gym it gives you and your coach a way to assess the intensity of training.

The Borg RPE scale is common but not as easy to use.

I prefer a 0 – 10 RPE scale where 0 is chill’n on the sofa. No exertion. And 10 is maximal exertion. You can’t take another step or lift another ounce.

RPE Example

0 –  Sitting on the bench watching cat videos on your phone.
1 – Very light: Is there even any weight on the bar?
2 –  Still Light:
3 Still easy. not eve breaking a sweat.
4Moderate: Still easy but you can tell there is some weight on the bar. Could easily do 6 or 7 more reps.
5 – Last warm up set.
6 – Warm up is over. Not light but not heavy. Could do another 4 or 5 reps.
7Heavy: Starting to work now. Not close to your max. But some effort is required.
8 – Hard: Difficult set. Need a break after set but could do 2 or 3 more reps if you had to.
9 – Very heavy: Can’t do much more. Maybe 1 or 2 more reps. Or another 1 or 2% more weight.
10Max effort: You can’t do another rep. Can’t add a speck of weight to the bar.

Used with Absolute and Relative Exercise Intensity table to find your optimal training sets, reps, and weight.

FREE 5-Day Email Course

Look like an athlete without giving up your favorite foods or living in the gym.