Sports Medicine

, Volume 45, Issue 9, pp 1235–1243 | Cite as

Role of Ratings of Perceived Exertion during Self-Paced Exercise: What are We Actually Measuring?

  • Chris R. Abbiss
  • Jeremiah J. Peiffer
  • Romain Meeusen
  • Sabrina Skorski
Review Article

Abstract

Ratings of perceived exertion (RPE) and effort are considered extremely important in the regulation of intensity during self-paced physical activity. While effort and exertion are slightly different constructs, these terms are often used interchangeably within the literature. The development of perceptions of both effort and exertion is a complicated process involving numerous neural processes occurring in various regions within the brain. It is widely accepted that perceptions of effort are highly dependent on efferent copies of central drive which are sent from motor to sensory regions of the brain. Additionally, it has been suggested that perceptions of effort and exertion are integrated based on the balance between corollary discharge and actual afferent feedback; however, the involvement of peripheral afferent sensory feedback in the development of such perceptions has been debated. As such, this review examines the possible difference between effort and exertion, and the implications of such differences in understanding the role of such perceptions in the regulation of pace during exercise.

References

  1. 1.
    Noakes TD, Peltonen JE, Rusko HK. Evidence that a central governor regulates exercise performance during acute hypoxia and hyperoxia. J Exper Biol. 2001;204:3225–34.Google Scholar
  2. 2.
    St Clair Gibson A, Lambert EV, Rauch LHG, et al. The role of information processing between the brain and peripheral physiological systems in pacing and perception of effort. Sports Med. 2006;36:705–22.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  3. 3.
    Edwards AM, Polman RC. Pacing and awareness: brain regulation of physical activity. Sports Med. 2013;43:1057–64.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  4. 4.
    Pageaux B. The psychobiological model of endurance performance: an effort-based decision-making theory to explain self-paced endurance performance. Sports Med. 2014;44:1319–20.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  5. 5.
    Marcora SM. Counterpoint: afferent feedback from fatigued locomotor muscles is not an important determinant of endurance exercise performance. J Appl Physiol. 2010;108:456–7.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  6. 6.
    Millet GY. Can neuromuscular fatigue explain running strategies and performance in ultra-marathons? The flush model. Sports Med. 2011;41:489–506.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  7. 7.
    Tucker R. The anticipatory regulation of performance: the physiological basis for pacing strategies and the development of a perception-based model for exercise performance. Br J Sports Med. 2009;43:392–400.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  8. 8.
    Abbiss CR, Laursen PB. Models to explain fatigue during prolonged endurance cycling. Sports Med. 2005;35:865–98.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  9. 9.
    Noakes TD. St Clair Gibson A, Lambert EV. From catastrophe to complexity: a novel model of integrative central neural regulation of effort and fatigue during exercise in humans: summary and conclusions. Br J Sports Med. 2005;39:120–4.PubMedCentralCrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  10. 10.
    Renfree A, West J, Corbett M, et al. Complex interplay between determinants of pacing and performance during 20-km cycle time trials. Int J Physiol Sports Perform. 2012;7:121–9.Google Scholar
  11. 11.
    de Koning JJ, Foster C, Bakkum A, et al. Regulation of pacing strategy during athletic competition. PLoS One. 2011;6:e15863.PubMedCentralCrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  12. 12.
    Noakes TD. Rating of perceived exertion as a predictor of the duration of exercise that remains until exhaustion. Br J Sports Med. 2008;42:623–4.PubMedGoogle Scholar
  13. 13.
    Cohen J, Reiner B, Foster C, et al. Breaking away: effects of nonuniform pacing on power output and growth of rating of perceived exertion. Int J Sports Physiol Perform. 2013;8:352–7.PubMedGoogle Scholar
  14. 14.
    Amann M, Secher NH. Afferent feedback from fatigued locomotor muscles is an important determinant of endurance exercise performance. J Appl Physiol. 2010;108:452–4.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  15. 15.
    Marcora S. Perception of effort during exercise is independent of afferent feedback from skeletal muscles, heart, and lungs. J Appl Physiol. 2009;106:2060–2.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  16. 16.
    Marcora S. Counterpoint: afferent feedback from fatigued locomotor muscles is not an important determinant of endurance exercise performance. J Appl Physiol. 2010;108:454–6 discussion 456–7.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  17. 17.
    Borg G. Borg’s perceived exertion and pain scales. Champaign (IL): Human Kinetics; 1998.Google Scholar
  18. 18.
    Borg GA. Psychophysical bases of perceived exertion. Med Sci Sports Exerc. 1982;14:377–81.PubMedGoogle Scholar
  19. 19.
    Foster C, Hector LL, Welsh R, et al. Effects of specific versus cross-training on running performance. Eur J Appl Physiol Occup Physiol. 1995;70:367–72.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  20. 20.
    Wallace LK, Slattery KM, Impellizzeri FM, et al. Establishing the criterion validity and reliability of common methods for quantifying training load. J Strength Cond Res. 2014;28:2330–7.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  21. 21.
    Ekblom B, Goldbarg AN. The influence of physical training and other factors on the subjective rating of perceived exertion. Acta Physiol Scand. 1971;83:399–406.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  22. 22.
    Robertson RJ, Falkel JE, Drash AL, et al. Effect of blood pH on peripheral and central signals of perceived exertion. Med Sci Sports Exerc. 1986;18:114–22.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  23. 23.
    Skinner JS, Hutsler R, Bergsteinova V, et al. The validity and reliability of a rating scale of perceived exertion. Med Sci Sports. 1973;5:94–6.PubMedGoogle Scholar
  24. 24.
    Noble BJ, Borg GA, Jacobs I, et al. A category-ratio perceived exertion scale: relationship to blood and muscle lactates and heart rate. Med Sci Sports Exerc. 1983;15:523–8.PubMedGoogle Scholar
  25. 25.
    de Morree HM, Marcora SM. Effects of isolated locomotor muscle fatigue on pacing and time trial performance. Eur J Appl Physiol. 2013;113:2371–80.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  26. 26.
    Geiger R, Strasak A, Treml B, et al. Six-minute walk test in children and adolescents. J Pediatr. 2007;150:395–9 399.e1-2.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  27. 27.
    Swart J, Lindsay TR, Lambert MI, et al. Perceptual cues in the regulation of exercise performance - physical sensations of exercise and awareness of effort interact as separate cues. Br J Sports Med. 2012;46:42–8.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  28. 28.
    Smirmaul BDP. Sense of effort and other unpleasant sensations during exercise: clarifying concepts and mechanisms. Br J Sports Med. 2012;46:308–11.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  29. 29.
    Utter AC, Kang J, Robertson RJ. American College of Sports Medicine current comment: perceived exertion. Available at: http://www.acsm.org/docs/current-comments/perceivedexertion.pdf?sfvrsn=4. Accessed 25 May 2015
  30. 30.
    Fontes EB, Okano AH, De Guio F, et al. Brain activity and perceived exertion during cycling exercise: an fMRI study. Br J Sports Med. 2015;49:556–60.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  31. 31.
    St Clair Gibson. A, Noakes TD. Evidence for complex system integration and dynamic neural regulation of skeletal muscle recruitment during exercise in humans. Br J Sports Med. 2004;38:797–806.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  32. 32.
    Abbiss CR, Karagounis LG, Laursen PB, et al. Single leg cycle training is superior to double leg cycling in improving the oxidative potential and metabolic profile of trained skeletal muscle. J Appl Physiol. 2011;110:1248–55.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  33. 33.
    Midgley AW, McNaughton LR, Polman R, et al. Criteria for determination of maximal oxygen uptake: a brief critique and recommendations for future research. Sports Med. 2007;37:1019–28.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  34. 34.
    Skorski S, Hammes D, Schwindling S, et al. Effects of training-induced fatigue on pacing patterns in 40-km cycling time trials. Med Sci Sports Exerc. 2015;47:593–600.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  35. 35.
    Pearsall J, editor. Oxford English Dictionary. Oxford: Oxford University Press; 2013.Google Scholar
  36. 36.
    Löllgen H. Borg-Skala: Standards der Sportmedizin. Deutsche Zeitschrift Fϋr Sportmedizin. 2004;55:299–300.Google Scholar
  37. 37.
    Campos JL, Butler JS, Bulthoff HH. Multisensory integration in the estimation of walked distances. Exp Brain Res. 2012;218:551–65.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  38. 38.
    Stein BE, Stanford TR, Rowland BA. Development of multisensory integration from the perspective of the individual neuron. Nat Rev Neurosci. 2014;15:520–35.PubMedCentralCrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  39. 39.
    de Morree HM, Klein C, Marcora SM. Perception of effort reflects central motor command during movement execution. Psychophysiology. 2012;49:1242–53.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  40. 40.
    Bubic A, von Cramon DY, Schubotz RI. Prediction, cognition and the brain. Front Hum Neurosci. 2010;4:25.PubMedCentralPubMedGoogle Scholar
  41. 41.
    Christensen MS, Lundbye-Jensen J, Geertsen SS, et al. Premotor cortex modulates somatosensory cortex during voluntary movements without proprioceptive feedback. Nat Neurosci. 2007;10:417–9.PubMedGoogle Scholar
  42. 42.
    Poulet JF, Hedwig B. New insights into corollary discharges mediated by identified neural pathways. Trends Neurosci. 2007;30:14–21.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  43. 43.
    Enoka RM, Stuart DG. Neurobiology of muscle fatigue. J Appl Physiol. 1992;72:1631–48.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  44. 44.
    Duncan MJ, Al-Nakeeb Y, Scurr J. Perceived exertion is related to muscle activity during leg extension exercise. Res Sports Med. 2006;14:179–89.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  45. 45.
    Lagally KM, Robertson RJ, Gallagher KI, et al. Perceived exertion, electromyography, and blood lactate during acute bouts of resistance exercise. Med Sci Sports Exerc. 2002;34:552–9 discussion 560.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  46. 46.
    Overton AJ. Neuromuscular fatigue and biomechanical alterations during high-intensity, constant-load cycling [thesis]. School of Exercise and Health Science, Edith Cowan University; 2000: pp. 184.Google Scholar
  47. 47.
    Luu BL, Day BL, Cole JD, et al. The fusimotor and reafferent origin of the sense of force and weight. J Physiol. 2011;589:3135–47.PubMedCentralCrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  48. 48.
    Gandevia SC, McCloskey DI. Changes in motor commands, as shown by changes in perceived heaviness, during partial curarization and peripheral anaesthesia in man. J Physiol. 1977;272:673–89.PubMedCentralCrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  49. 49.
    Shibasaki H, Hallett M. What is the Bereitschaftspotential? Clin Neurophysiol. 2006;117:2341–56.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  50. 50.
    Carson RG, Riek S, Shahbazpour N. Central and peripheral mediation of human force sensation following eccentric or concentric contractions. J Physiol. 2002;539:913–25.PubMedCentralCrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  51. 51.
    Vogt BA, Laureys S. Posterior cingulate, precuneal and retrosplenial cortices: cytology and components of the neural network correlates of consciousness. Prog Brain Res. 2005;150:205–17.PubMedCentralCrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  52. 52.
    Sarter M, Gehring WJ, Kozak R. More attention must be paid: the neurobiology of attentional effort. Brain Res Rev. 2006;51:145–60.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  53. 53.
    Craig AD. How do you feel? Interoception: the sense of the physiological condition of the body. Nat Rev Neurosci. 2002;3:655–66.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  54. 54.
    Craig AD. How do you feel–now? The anterior insula and human awareness. Nat Rev Neurosci. 2009;10:59–70.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  55. 55.
    Williamson JW, McColl R, Mathews D, et al. Activation of the insular cortex is affected by the intensity of exercise. J Appl Physiol. 1999;87:1213–9.PubMedGoogle Scholar
  56. 56.
    Williamson JW, McColl R, Mathews D. Evidence for central command activation of the human insular cortex during exercise. J Appl Physiol. 2003;94:1726–34.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  57. 57.
    Mauger AR. Factors affecting the regulation of pacing: current perspectives. Open Access J Sports Med. 2014;5:209–14.PubMedCentralCrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  58. 58.
    Amann M, Proctor LT, Sebranek JJ, et al. Opioid-mediated muscle afferents inhibit central motor drive and limit peripheral muscle fatigue development in humans. J Physiol. 2009;587:271–83.PubMedCentralCrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  59. 59.
    Amann M, Proctor LT, Sebranek JJ, et al. Somatosensory feedback from the limbs exerts inhibitory influences on central neural drive during whole body endurance exercise. J Appl Physiol. 2008;105:1714–24.PubMedCentralCrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  60. 60.
    Meeusen R, De Meirleir K. Exercise and brain neurotransmission. Sports Med. 1995;20:160–88.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  61. 61.
    Meeusen R, Piacentini MF, De Meirleir K. Brain microdialysis in exercise research. Sports Med. 2001;31:965–83.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  62. 62.
    Roelands B, de Koning J, Foster C, et al. Neurophysiological determinants of theoretical concepts and mechanisms involved in pacing. Sports Med. 2013;43:301–11.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  63. 63.
    Roelands B, Meeusen R. Alterations in central fatigue by pharmacological manipulations of neurotransmitters in normal and high ambient temperature. Sports Med. 2010;40:229–46.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  64. 64.
    Watson P, Hasegawa H, Roelands B, et al. Acute dopamine/noradrenaline reuptake inhibition enhances human exercise performance in warm, but not temperate conditions. J Physiol. 2005;565:873–83.PubMedCentralCrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  65. 65.
    Roelands B, Hasegawa H, Watson P, et al. The effects of acute dopamine reuptake inhibition on performance. Med Sci Sports Exerc. 2008;40:879–85.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  66. 66.
    Roelands B, Goekint M, Buyse L, et al. Time trial performance in normal and high ambient temperature: is there a role for 5-HT? Eur J Appl Physiol. 2009;107:119–26.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  67. 67.
    Roelands B, Watson P, Cordery P, et al. A dopamine/noradrenaline reuptake inhibitor improves performance in the heat, but only at the maximum therapeutic dose. Scand J Med Sci Sports. 2012;22:e93–8.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer International Publishing Switzerland 2015

Authors and Affiliations

  • Chris R. Abbiss
    • 1
  • Jeremiah J. Peiffer
    • 2
  • Romain Meeusen
    • 3
    • 4
  • Sabrina Skorski
    • 5
    • 6
  1. 1.Centre for Exercise and Sports Science Research, School of Exercise and Health SciencesEdith Cowan UniversityJoondalupAustralia
  2. 2.School of Psychology and Exercise ScienceMurdoch UniversityMurdochAustralia
  3. 3.Department of Human PhysiologyVrje Universiteit BrusselBrusselsBelgium
  4. 4.School of Public Health, Tropical Medicine and Rehabilitation SciencesJames Cook UniversityTownsvilleAustralia
  5. 5.Institute of Sports and Preventive MedicineSaarland UniversitySaarbrückenGermany
  6. 6.UC Research Institute for Sport and ExerciseUniversity of CanberraCanberraAustralia

Personalised recommendations