Effect of training on the rating of perceived exertion at the ventilatory threshold

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The purpose of this study was to determine the effect of training on the rating of perceived exertion (RPE) at the ventilatory threshold. College students were assigned to either training (n=17) or control (n=10) groups. Trainers completed 18 interval training sessions (five × 5 min cycling at 90–100% \(\dot V_{{\text{O}}_{{\text{2 max}}} } \) ) and 8 continuous training sessions (40 min running or cycling) in 6 weeks. Pre- and post-training, cardiorespiratory, metabolic, and perceptual variables were measured at the ventilatory threshold during graded exercise tests on a cycle ergometer. Ventilatory threshold was that point above which \(\dot V_{\text{E}} \cdot \dot V_{{\text{O}}_{\text{2}} } ^{ - 1} \) increased abruptly relative to work rate. Post-training means of trained and control subjects were compared using analysis of covariance, with pre-training values as covariates. Following training, the adjusted means for the trained subjects were significantly greater (p<0.05) than for controls for \(\dot V_{{\text{O}}_{{\text{2 max}}} } \) (6%), and for work rate (20%), \(\dot V_{{\text{O}}_{\text{2}} } \) (23%), and % \(\dot V_{{\text{O}}_{{\text{2 max}}} } \) (13%) at the ventilatory threshold. However, adjusted means for RPE at the ventilatory threshold were not significantly different (2%). Both before and after training, exercise at the ventilatory threshold was perceived as ‘somewhat hard’ to ‘hard’ (RPE=13–15) by both groups. The relationship between RPE and % \(\dot V_{{\text{O}}_{{\text{2 max}}} } \) was altered by training, with trained subjects having a lower RPE at a given % \(\dot V_{{\text{O}}_{{\text{2 max}}} } \) . It is concluded that RPE at the ventilatory threshold is not affected by training, despite that after training the ventilatory threshold occurs at a higher work rate and is associated with higher absolute and relative metabolic and cardiorespiratory demands.