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. AbbissEmail author
  • Jeremiah J. Peiffer
  • Romain Meeusen
  • Sabrina Skorski
Review Article


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.


Efference Copy Afferent Feedback Peripheral Fatigue Lower Power Output Cycling Time Trial 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.


Compliance with Ethics Standards

No sources of funding were used to assist in the preparation of this review. Chris R. Abbiss, Jeremiah J. Peiffer, Romain Meeusen and Sabrina Skorski have no conflicts of interest relating to the contents of this review.


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Copyright information

© Springer International Publishing Switzerland 2015

Authors and Affiliations

  • Chris R. Abbiss
    • 1
    Email author
  • 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

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