Indexed on: 17 Apr '12Published on: 17 Apr '12Published in: Journal of strength and conditioning research / National Strength & Conditioning Association
Session rating of perceived exertion (RPE) has been used to quantify a variety of training activities but has not been tested in rowers, who engage in intermittent patterns of activity. The objective of this study was to evaluate the ability of the subjective session RPE method to quantify on- and off-water rowing training load (TL) compared with a heart rate (HR) summation method. Seven female collegiate rowers (19.7 ± 0.8 years) were monitored during 2 workout simulations differing in intensity level in the laboratory and several training sessions outside of the laboratory. Training load was calculated using an HR summation method, and RPE was measured after the completion of each simulation or training activity (session RPE). During the workout simulations, despite poor correlation between the HR summation and session RPE methods (r = -0.21, p = 0.52), the session RPE method was significantly correlated with peak WR (r = 0.59, p = 0.05) and posttest blood lactate concentration (r = 0.73, p = 0.007). During training sessions outside of the laboratory, the HR summation (280.7 ± 108.3) and session RPE (6,432.5 ± 4,002.0) methods were highly correlated (r = 0.88, p < 0.001). Regression analyses revealed that after controlling for time, training intensity rating was a significant predictor of TL (p < 0.001). We conclude that the session RPE method is a valid metric of TL in female rowers. The method's convenience renders it a feasible option for researchers and coaches to quantify and monitor TL in rowers.