A detailed quantification of differential ratings of perceived exertion during team-sport training

Shaun McLaren, Andrew Smith, Iain Spears, Matthew Weston

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Objectives To investigate the application of differential ratings of perceived exertion (dRPE) to team-sport training.DesignSingle cohort, observational study. Methods Twenty-nine professional rugby union players were monitored over a six-week intensified training period. Training sessions were classified as: High-Intensity Intervals (HIT), Repeated High-Intensity Efforts (RHIE), Speed, Skill-based Conditioning (SkCond), Skills, Whole-Body Resistance (RT), or Upper-Body Resistance (URT). After each session, players recorded a session rating of perceived exertion (sRPE; CR100®), along with differential session ratings for breathlessness (sRPE-B), leg muscle exertion (sRPE-L), upper-body muscle exertion (sRPE-U), and cognitive/technical demands (sRPE-T). Each score was multiplied by the session duration to calculate session training loads. Data were analysed using mixed linear modelling and multiple linear regression, with magnitude-based inferences subsequently applied.ResultsBetween-session differences in dRPE scores ranged from very likely trivial to most likely extremely large and within-session differences amongst dRPE scores ranged from unclear to most likely very large. Differential RPE training loads combined to explain 66–91% of the variance in sRPE training loads, and the strongest associations with sRPE training load were with sRPE-L for HIT (r = 0.67; 90% confidence limits ±0.22), sRPE-B for RHIE (0.89; ±0.08) and SkCond (0.67; ±0.19), sRPE-T for Speed (0.63; ±0.17) and Skills (0.51; ±0.28), and sRPE-U for resistance training (RT: 0.61; ±0.21, URT: 0.92; ±0.07). Conclusions Differential RPE can provide a detailed quantification of internal load during training activities commonplace in team sports. Knowledge of the relationships between dRPE and sRPE can isolate the specific perceptual demands of different training modes.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)290-295
JournalJournal of Science and Medicine in Sport
Issue number3
Early online date6 Jul 2016
Publication statusPublished - Mar 2017


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