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Eur J Appl Physiol. 2019 Sep;119(9):2083-2094. doi: 10.1007/s00421-019-04197-4. Epub 2019 Aug 1.

Treadmill running using an RPE-clamp model: mediators of perception and implications for exercise prescription.

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Department of Kinesiology, California State University, Fresno, CA, 93740, USA.
Department of Health and Human Performance, College of Innovation and Professional Programs, Concordia University Chicago, Chicago, IL, 60305, USA.
Department of Nutrition and Health Sciences, University of Nebraska-Lincoln, Lincoln, NE, 68505, USA.
College of Health Sciences, Kinesiology, University of Texas At El Paso, El Paso, TX, 79968, USA.
Division of Kinesiology, School of Kinesiology and Physical Therapy, University of Central Florida, Orlando, FL, 32816, USA.
School of Kinesiology, Applied Health and Recreation, Oklahoma State University, Stillwater, OK, 74078, USA.
Department of Nutritional Sciences, Oklahoma State University, Stillwater, OK, 74078, USA.



The mediators of the perception of effort during exercise are still unclear. The aim of the present study was to examine physiological responses during runs using a rating of perceived exertion (RPE)-clamp model at the RPE corresponding to the gas exchange threshold (RPEGET) and 15% above GET (RPEGET+15%) to identify potential mediators and performance applications for RPE during treadmill running.


Twenty-one runners ([Formula: see text]max = 51.7 ± 8.3 ml kg-1 min-1) performed a graded exercise test to determine maximal oxygen consumption and the RPE associated with GET and GET + 15% followed by randomized 60 min RPE-clamp runs at RPEGET and RPEGET+15%. Mean differences for [Formula: see text], heart rate (HR), minute ventilation ([Formula: see text]), respiratory frequency ([Formula: see text], respiratory exchange ratio (RER), and velocity were compared across each run.


After minute 14, [Formula: see text], RER and velocity did not differ across conditions, but decreased across time (p < 0.05). There was a significant (p < 0.05) condition × time interaction for [Formula: see text], where values were significantly higher during RPE-clamp runs at RPEGET+15% and decreased across time in both conditions. There were no differences across condition or time for HR, and only small difference between conditions for [Formula: see text].


HR and [Formula: see text] may play a role in mediating the perception of effort, while [Formula: see text], RER, and [Formula: see text] may not. Although HR and [Formula: see text] may mediate the maintenance of a perceptual intensity, they may not be sensitive to differentiate perceptual intensities at GET and GET + 15%. Thus, prescribing exercise using an RPE-clamp model may only reflect a sustainable [Formula: see text] within the moderate intensity domain.


Exercise prescription; Rating of perceived exertion; Rpe-clamp; Running


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