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RPE is an intensity scale we utilise in respect to weights with the RPE numbers relating to how many more reps you think you could do at that weight; your reps in reserve (RIR). It is a subjective measurement based on your interpretation, your feel, at that time for how many reps you think you could do at a particular weight in that workout. While you can enter a deep and confusing rabbit hole if you search the internet for RPE, we use a simple 0-10 scale that could also be expressed as a number out of 10 or a percentage.
For example a RPE 0-4 means a very light weight. It is 0-40% or a 0-4/10 for feeling of effort. You could do a lot more reps of that exercise at that weight.
A RPE 10 means it is a maximal effort. It is 100%, a 10/10 at that time. You couldn’t possibly do another repetition at that weight, even if you wanted to.
The most common RPE’s you’ll see in your programming are around the RPE 7-8 mark. This means a 7-8/10 or 70-80% effort or that you have 2-3 reps left in the tank.
It can take some experience and self-awareness to get the most out of RPE, but it is a skill worth developing. Much like our Gear system, RPE helps you connect directly to your biology and optimise your training.
Below is a handy ready reckoner courtesy of Eric Helms PhD and a lot more on RPE here.