How hard should I go on the workouts?

Most of your training will have a level of RPE designated.

Instructions for Borg Rating of Perceived Exertion (RPE) Scale

While doing physical activity, we want you to follow your perception of exertion. This feeling should reflect how heavy and strenuous the exercise feels to you, combining all sensations and feelings of physical stress, effort, and fatigue. Do not concern yourself with any one factor such as leg pain or shortness of breath, but try to focus on your total feeling of exertion.

Look at the rating scale below while you are engaging in an activity; it ranges from 6 to 20, where 6 means “no exertion at all” and 20 means “maximal exertion.” Choose the number from below that best describes your level of exertion. This will give you a good idea of the intensity level of your activity, and you can use this information to speed up or slow down your movements to reach your desired range.

Try to appraise your feeling of exertion as honestly as possible, without thinking about what the actual physical load is. Your own feeling of effort and exertion is important, not how it compares to other people’s. Look at the scales and the expressions.

# Level of Exertion
6 No exertion at all
7
7.5 Extremely light (7.5)
8
9  Very light
10
11 Light
12
13 Somewhat hard
14
15 Hard (heavy)
16
17 Very hard
18
19 Extremely hard
20 Maximal exertion

9 corresponds to “very light” exercise. For a healthy person, it is like walking slowly at his or her own pace for some minutes

13 on the scale is “somewhat hard” exercise, but it still feels OK to continue.

17 “very hard” is very strenuous. A healthy person can still go on, but he or she really has to push him- or herself. It feels very heavy, and the person is very tired.

19 on the scale is an extremely strenuous exercise level. For most people this is the most strenuous exercise they have ever experienced.

Borg RPE scale
© Gunnar Borg, 1970, 1985, 1994, 1998

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