Understanding RPE

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.