Measuring Training Load in Dance: The Construct Validity of Session-RPE.

Research paper by Brenton B Surgenor, Matthew M Wyon

Indexed on: 05 Mar '19Published on: 04 Mar '19Published in: Medical problems of performing artists


The session rating of perceived exertion (session-RPE) is a practical and non-invasive method that allows a quantification of internal training load (ITL) in individual and team sports. As yet, no study has investigated its construct validity in dance. This study examines the convergent validity between the session-RPE method and an objective heart rate (HR)-based method of quantifying the similar ITL in vocational dance students during professional dance training. Ten dance students (4 male, 20±1.16 yrs; 6 female, 20±0.52 yrs) participated in this study. During a normal week of training, session-RPE and HR data were recorded in 96 individual sessions. HR data were analysed using Edwards-TL method. Correlation analysis was used to evaluate the convergent validity between the session-RPE and Edwards-TL methods for assessing ITL in a variety of training modes (contemporary, ballet, and rehearsal). The overall correlation between individual session-RPE and Edwards-TL was r=0.72, p<0.0001, suggesting there was a statistically significantly strong positive relationship between session-RPE and Edwards-TL. This trend was observed across all the training modes: rehearsal sessions (r=0.74, p=0.001), contemporary (r=0.60, p=0.001), and ballet (r=0.46, p=0.018) sessions. This study shows that session-RPE can be considered as a valid method to assess ITL for vocational dance students, and that notably there is some variation between session-RPE and HR-based TL in different dance activities.

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