RPE can be difficult to measure for novice trainees. A good way to ease into utilizing RPE is to conceptualize it in terms of Reps in Reserve (RIR).
RPE = 10 - RIR
- RPE 10: 0 Reps in Reserve
- RPE 8: 2 Reps in Reserve
- RPE 5: 5 Reps in Reserve
Here are some useful tips for learning how to measure RPE:
1. Record a video of your sets and try to estimate your RPE upon re-watching the video.
2. Complete a short training block (3-6 weeks) of low volume training where you reach concentric failure often (don’t forget a spotter). The idea here is to test your limits and see what it feels like to max out at 10 RPE.
3. Have someone watch you perform your set and then compare your RPE to what they think you achieved.
4. Do a set for as many reps as it takes to reach a target RPE, then when you think you’ve reached it, go to failure and see if you were accurate. For example, shoot for a set of 8 reps at a weight that will get you to RPE 8. Complete 8 reps and keep going, you should fail on your 10th rep. If you fail at 8 or 9, or you have more left in the tank and complete 12 reps, you know you need more practice!
Gravitus lets your track RIR/RPE for every set, click here to learn how.