What’s the ‘RPE’ scale


The Best Ways To Use RPE For Gains? Processed Foods Bad? Rows Good For Biceps? Muscle Confusion? IF?

Video taken from the channel: Jeff Nippard


Why I Don’t Use The RPE Scale

Video taken from the channel: CanditoTrainingHQ


What Is RPE? | Discussing How I Train

Video taken from the channel: Russel Orhii


RPE Explained (part 1/2)

Video taken from the channel: Alan Thrall


What is RPE? Rate of Perceived Exertion Scale

Video taken from the channel: James Schultz, Ph.D.


RPE Rating of Perceived Exertion

Video taken from the channel: Vivo Phys Evan Matthews


The BORG SCALE And RPE Explained

Video taken from the channel: The PE Tutor

“The RPE scale was originally developed by the scientist Gunnar Borg who rated the scale on 6 to 20 (Borg scale), which was basically built around a heart rate range,” he says. “Whatever number you. The RPE scale is used to measure the intensity of your exercise. The RPE scale runs from 0 – 10.

The numbers below relate to phrases used to rate how easy or difficult you find an activity. The Borg Rating of Perceived Exertion (RPE) is a way of measuring physical activity intensity level. Perceived exertion is how hard you feel like your body is working.

The RPE Scale Defined The Borg Rating of Perceived Exertion — RPE — is a rating scale ranging from six to 20 that gives an indication of your workout intensity level. A rating of six means you are not exerting yourself at all, while a. RPE—or the Rate of Perceived Exertion—is a scale used to identify the intensity of your exercise based on how hard you feel (or perceive) your effort to be.

The RPE scale typically runs from 0 to 10, with zero being literally nothing and 10 being the hardest you could possibly exert yourself. What Exactly Is RPE? Your rate of perceived exertion is a subjective assessment of how physically and mentally difficult an exercise is for you.

The Borg RPE scale is a numerical scale that ranges from 6 to 20, where 6 means “no exertion at all” and 20 means “maximal exertion.” When a measurement is taken, a number is chosen from the following scale by an individual that best describes their level of exertion during physical activity. • 6 – No exertion at all• 7 – Extremely light. The Rating of Perceived Exertion (RPE) Scale To rate your perception of exertion when you exercise, don’t focus on just one sensation. Get a general sense of how hard you are exercising. Use your feelings of exertion rather than measures such as speed while running or cycling or comparing yourself to someone else.

Rate of Perceived Exertion (RPE) refers to a 1-10 scale to self-report the intensity of an effort. Our RPE scale is based largely on Matt Fitzgerald’s running and swimming RPE scale. We use it because it falls in line with what we consider correct exertion. That can be compared using the rating of perceived exertion (RPE) scale – probably to the annoyance of the exhausted runner, but they won’t have the energy to protest.

How do you score RPE? The.

List of related literature:

Participants use their subjective perceptions of intensity to rate their level of steady-state work on the 6 to 20 RPE scale or the 0 to 10 RPE scale developed by Borg (1982).

“Methods of Group Exercise Instruction” by Mary M. Yoke, Carol Armbruster
from Methods of Group Exercise Instruction
by Mary M. Yoke, Carol Armbruster
Human Kinetics, 2019

An RPE scale is designed to help clients monitor their exercise intensities using a rating system that accounts for all of the body’s responses to a particular exercise intensity.

“NSCA's Essentials of Personal Training” by NSCA -National Strength & Conditioning Association
from NSCA’s Essentials of Personal Training
by NSCA -National Strength & Conditioning Association
Human Kinetics, Incorporated, 2011

Currently, two RPE scales are widely used, the original which rates exercise intensity on a scale of 6 to 20, and the revised scale on which you can rate exertion from 0 to 10.

“Escape Your Shape: How to Work Out Smarter, Not Harder” by Edward Jackowski
from Escape Your Shape: How to Work Out Smarter, Not Harder
by Edward Jackowski
Atria Books, 2001

The Borg’s RPE is a measure scale where the patient rates his or her level of exertion during the activity on a scale of 6–20 (Table 13.14).

“Physical Rehabilitation” by Susan B O'Sullivan, Thomas J Schmitz, George Fulk
from Physical Rehabilitation
by Susan B O’Sullivan, Thomas J Schmitz, George Fulk
F.A. Davis Company, 2019

There are currently two RPE scales that are commonly used: the original or category scale, which rates exercise intensity on a scale of 6–20 and the revised or category-ratio scale of 0–10.

“Total Burn Care: Expert Consult Online” by David N. Herndon
from Total Burn Care: Expert Consult Online
by David N. Herndon
Elsevier Health Sciences UK, 2012

4 Use of a rating of perceived exertion (RPE) scale (see page 281) is often preferable to HR for monitoring exercise intensity, and patients are encouraged to work at an intensity of “somewhat hard” or 12 to 13 on the 6to 20-point Borg Scale.

“Cardiovascular and Pulmonary Physical Therapy E-Book: A Clinical Manual” by Joanne Watchie
from Cardiovascular and Pulmonary Physical Therapy E-Book: A Clinical Manual
by Joanne Watchie
Elsevier Health Sciences, 2009

When the RPE scale is used correctly, this system for monitoring exercise intensity has proven very accurate.

“Physiology of Sport and Exercise” by W. Larry Kenney, Jack H. Wilmore, David L. Costill
from Physiology of Sport and Exercise
by W. Larry Kenney, Jack H. Wilmore, David L. Costill
Human Kinetics, Incorporated, 2019

This value provides an indication of the intensity of the exercise, which when multiplied by the duration of the exercise provides an indication of the session volume load (i.e., session RPE), which is presented in arbitrary units.

“Essentials of Youth Fitness” by Avery D. Faigenbaum, Rhodri S. Lloyd, Jon L. Oliver, American College of Sports Medicine
from Essentials of Youth Fitness
by Avery D. Faigenbaum, Rhodri S. Lloyd, et. al.
Human Kinetics, 2019

An RPE more than 3 on a 0–10 scale is a signal of cardiac intolerance during exertion and also a sign that the patient should stop or modify the activity causing the exertion.

“All-in-One Nursing Care Planning Resource E-Book: Medical-Surgical, Pediatric, Maternity, and Psychiatric-Mental Health” by Pamela L. Swearingen, Jacqueline Wright
from All-in-One Nursing Care Planning Resource E-Book: Medical-Surgical, Pediatric, Maternity, and Psychiatric-Mental Health
by Pamela L. Swearingen, Jacqueline Wright
Elsevier Health Sciences, 2019

The RPE 6–20 scale was originally designed for whole body aerobic type activity where perceived responses are pooled to concur with the linear increments in heart rate and oxygen uptake, as exercise intensity is increased.

“Sport and Exercise Physiology Testing Guidelines: Volume I – Sport Testing: The British Association of Sport and Exercise Sciences Guide” by Edward M. Winter, Andrew M. Jones, R.C. Richard Davison, Paul D. Bromley, Tom H. Mercer
from Sport and Exercise Physiology Testing Guidelines: Volume I – Sport Testing: The British Association of Sport and Exercise Sciences Guide
by Edward M. Winter, Andrew M. Jones, et. al.
Taylor & Francis, 2006

Alexia Lewis RD

Registered Dietitian Nutritionist and Certified Heath Coach who believes life is better with science, humor, and beautiful, delicious, healthy food.

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  • *In Summary*:

    1. If new to bodybuilding, go to failure. If experienced, go until just before failure.
    2. Don’t cut corners, do bicep exercises to build your biceps/ do tricep exercises to build your triceps.
    3. Whole foods are preferable, put in the work and eat healthy.
    4. Don’t be a douche. Drink in moderation (No more than once a week and don’t get shit-faced)
    5. Muscle Confusion for Growth is a myth, but does make work outs more interesting.
    6. Sodium Bicarbonate (Baking Soda)May or may not work for endurance training only. You have to try it yourself (in very small doses) to see if it works for you. Notemay cause gastrointestinal issues.

  • What do you think of training squats everyday? I recently started the Squat everyday programme by Matthew Perryman and have seen good progress. It’s similar to the bulgarian method and similar to what John Broz does. What do you think to this approach

  • How you feel and how much you are going to lift today do not have a straightforward relationship. I have hit PRs on days when I was stressed, didn’t eat well, and had trouble focusing in the gym. And the opposite is also true. A lot of what actually happens depends on your “gym personality”.  My gym personality is too aggressive for my strength and endurance, I am impatient about adding more weight, and my goals are consistently way too high. Autoregulation helps me ground that aggression.  So to me a huge part of how you structure you lifting has to do with being honest to yourself about your own gym personality.  That maybe different from your personality outside of the gym so one really needs to be able to look at themselves objectively. I’m sure no body here has trouble doing that…

  • Hey! I was reading about HRmax and how to calcute it by using the type 220-age, for example 40yr 220-40=180HRmax. Which equation should I do to place that into a board?

  • Rpe isn’t based on how you feel its based on bar speed, also why is a pr detrimental to training? The pr would be in context to the workout outlined for the day, your simply doing the optimal volume for the day.:)

  • Wow, cant imagine how long this took to film and edit. Love ur stuff dude, Thanks so much for all the true effort u put in. its beyond valuable.

  • I’m currently trying the baking soda, like a half tea spoon before my work out, and it works.. No bullshits, it works. You’ll never get tired.

  • Looking forward to that video during the week of what you do. I don’t use the scale, but was considering it and I had the exact concerns with the Rpe scale  and not being able to go heavier than the scale said you should go on the day, when clearly you could go heavier. 

  • I think Jonnie is right here.
    I’ve had days where I planned to max out. I felt really weak on my warm up sets but I went for a PR anyway and got it easily. Sometimes your mind plays tricks
    On you,

    Also, I am an intermediate lifter. I would say the RPE scale is only good for Advanced lifters, never for Intermediates

  • But who does dumbbell rows for arm size? I would assume the heavy barbell rows would potentially lead to more arm gains from the much higher weight, similarly with weighted pullups.

  • Does Russel even squat parallel? Would his squats pass in a meet? Im asking for myself because I seem to have the same problem of reaching depth and idk if im being paranoid or what.

  • Appreciate the video clarifying.

    To the people saying he needs to at least try a training cycle using RPEs, if he hasnt already, i agree. However, when you are competetive and making progress the way youre used to doing things its hard to justify the time spent in a new direction. If he stalls hard down the road maybe it will get tried or incorporated somehow.

  • This is why I like 5/3/1 and joker sets. The autoregulatory aspect isn’t determined by an arbitrary number, a percentage, or your feelings. it’s purely on how many reps you get in your work set. and if you’re really killing it as determined by how many reps you can churn out you can just do more sets. I really like having a final AMRAP set at the end of my work sets too. good day or bad, I never feel like I didn’t give it my all in the gym.

  • Jim, you are so likable! I started working with a trainer again. It took me two years to go from 101 lbs to 118. Gaining those muscles was hard work. Now, 10 years later, I am 109 lbs and trying to get some junk in my trunk!

  • damn thanks for this, I’m a grinder and I’m new to the gym, I always felt bad about myself cuz some guys just move so quick, even tho it feels good for me I’m just slow lol

  • Well, it seems to me you are misunderstanding RPE. As far as I understand, you are re supposed to evaluate your performance after every set. If you are using numbers from a previous (“lucky”) set from some other session, like you said, then your are not using RPE as it is defined.

  • Pretty interesting, athletes probably do RPE regularly, awesome! Also we are going to have to break into a dance after each set, love the moves brother ����

  • i might send you an email because this unrelated, but in your linear program im doing the strength/hypertrophy setup. i was wondering what your thoughts are on inverting the 3×6 sets to 6×3. i feel like this will allow me to focus on form and get more quality reps, then do rep work on the hypertrophy day. i appreciate any feedback, thanks!

  • I’d love to see a series or some shorts explaining some of your informed opinion about resistance bands. Maybe a few exercises to use in the event that we want to run a “modified program” integrating bands into our workouts, or maybe a program using only bands, which can later supplement normal weight workouts. I like bands for days that I don’t wanna go to a gym or use my weights in the basement.

  • Pretty good points, currently running a program that bases lifts off percentages but also uses an RPE scale on all lifts to give you more freedom. Best of both IMO.

  • You don’t base your weight off of your firs warm up set, but the last heavy sets before your main working sets which should be a pretty good indicator.

  • If you do continue making long discussion videos, you should consider uploading them to Spotify as it would please me to listen to this while at work, while not abusing my leftover data and battery life.

  • Hey Alan, after watching this I realised I always train at RPE 10. By this, I mean if I can get to the end of my sets at my target weight, then I increase the weight. This generally means I need to stop mid set and either rest before continuing the set or lower the weight, until the day I complete all sets at the target weight without stopping. Is this strictly a bad way to train? Why is it good to train at less than your maximum weight for a given number of reps?

  • Alan: “Read the ebook first”
    Me: Nah I’m good.
    Later, Alan: “You probably won’t read the ebook first.”
    Me: Damn, called out! Ok, now I have to go read it.

  • Cool stuff! Love the quote in your background too! WLC and subscribed! By the way, I have just launched my new Youtube channel. I would love some support and if you have time, here’s the link >>> https://bit.ly/2zSYARd

  • @Jeff Have you thought about branching out into other topics with a science explained series? a broad and probably too broad example I’d love to hear your take on would be vaccines, antibiotics, SSRI usage, nootropics, philosophy, Jordan Peterson…Ok, you can’t science explain him but you get the point. I’d listen to probably anything you vlogged about tbh. no homo

  • Love, love, love the video!!! You explain things well and adding all the research in is amazing! Too many fitness people give info but don’t back up what they are saying! I really needed the info on the RPE stuff…. for some reason I find it so hard to realize where I am RPE is in a set…. I have a significant back injury so I think that may be a factor as I am very limited in what I can do and how much weight I can lift (very little right now������������). Thank you so much for your videos!!������

  • How do you handle a workout when you’re feeling crappy?.. 1Feeling a bit under the weather or 2Having a low day such as feeling run down or fatigued.

  • No one doing RTS? Third way of using RPE
    Working with a set rep count up to @9 drop weight 4-9% do sets until @9 Congratulations you have accumulated 4-9% fatigue. (wichever % weight drop you did.)

  • I have a friend who literally will grind so hard for the first rep… but continue grinding reps and hit like 6-8 its so weird lmao

  • I think this can be useful but also potentially very subjective, depending on experience of the performer. In my experience, I’ve developed the ability to push my body harder, in terms of power and heart rate, with the same rate of perceived exertion. (Higher physical exertion/rpe ratio ). I subsequently think it’s hard to be precise with rpe but we all know when we are pushing against our habits during our exercise. Is what I’ve experienced a real phenomenon?

  • I’m to lazy for this. I just put weight on the from experience, my notes and roughly how many reps I want to make.
    And I always do max reps.
    If I do to many or not enough reps in a set I make a note and adjust the weight for next time.

  • i absolutely love this video please do more like hour long videos just talking about science i love just hanging out with my coffee taking notes on this stuff

  • Dude ur videos a great help I have some hard time to get acostum with the terminology but is something I need to learn as well, great in formation, ah by the way the way I edit ur videos is great too.

  • Just ordered the grey Candito-shirt as a nice Christmas present for myself. Hopefuly it will reach the Netherlands in time! Tnx for the discount Candito:)

  • RPE sounds really confusing. I am following a percentage based training and I perform singles at the 4th week. It’s a long process but I’ve made a lot of progress since stalling out on Stronglifts 5*5.

  • Loved the explanation of the RPE bro! And the understanding of how only the lifter knows how many reps they have left in the tank! Wise words brother! You’re smashing your training at the moment! Looking forward to seeing some big numbers being shifted in the next 4 weeks! You got this all day brahhhhh

  • Tbh you speak the information way to fast. Like bro I’m from! Jersey and I’m telling you you talk to fast, like your rushing to finish talking. Like where’s your “swag” bro

  • Hey man, I just want to let you know that yourself and a few other youtubers inspired me to start posting to YouTube, I just posted my first video on Biceps Curls and it would mean a lot if you checked it out ����

  • Yo This Is An Ultimate Unique Perspective. You Are Going To Go A Long Way With This Channel. I Can See It Now. Technical Speak With The Humor & Simplicity. You Are Like The Coolest Teacher In HighSchool!!!! Love The Energy!! “Do You Even Lift, Bro!!!”
    Almost Forgot ���� ����

  • I liked the video. Going through the entire thing was a good idea and I’d continue to watch them. Just took me awhile to actually sit down and watch it

  • Good point made that RPE looks different for each individual. I would question some of your RPEs based on speed sometimes but that makes so much sense now. Learnt me

  • You should not need to purchase a tendo unit in order to accurately measure bar speed. One tool that biomechanists use while conducting research involving velocity of an object is a software called MaxTRAQ. However, although it may be interesting to gather data it does take a long time to calculate. 

  • You’ve seriously just cleared up questions I had for you and like five other fitness YouTubers. Thanks for dropping the knowledge Russel.

  • i just found rpe too much unnecessary ^^
    maybe i’m just rather stable in performance but i autoregulate my percentages when needed now
    also i found i have a higher drive to progress with percentages


  • I had to go to the ER yesterday because I cracked my back and it spasmed. It’s killing even now. It’s not broken. Thank God but the doctor told me that my X-Rays showed degenerative changes in my spine. I am worried that I will never be able to lift again and I’m only 18. Lifting is the best part of my day and is something I have truely come to love and enjoy. You have inspired me to make sure I lift with proper form and to not ego lift. I have no idea why this happened and I am getting an MRI on Monday to tell me what’s actually wrong. I was wondering if you could make a video on DDD. Or degenerative disease disorder and ways to slow down the process. Keep up the amazing work.

  • I just use my percentage based program as a base. if im feeling good ill go for an extra rep or set or slight weight increase. The numbers for that day is just a minimum. 

  • Hey Jeff. I appreciate what you do! Was looking thru your video archive. I’ve seen the foam roller/SMR vid, the mobility videos and the overtraining videos. What about an evidence-based video on what specific exercises (or could even add specific sports/fitness types) have the highest risk of injury?? I know you often cover reducing injury risk when doing vids on specific movements. Picking out the top 3-7 exercises that the science says have the highest risk of injury would be awesome. Thanks

  • RPE is probably best used in conjunction with a percentage-based program.  If it’s a ‘scope on a rifle’, then I’ll stick to using my iron sights because I’m a damn good shot without an actual scope.  The scope might come in handy for a really long shot I guess.

    That’s just my opinion doe, you can do whatever the FUCK you wanna do.

  • In my mind I think I would undervalue my strength with squats every workout. When I see a weight and set given I know I will have to work to get those numbers and I rarely fail to get the volume and weight in. If I went by feel I would never even attempt the weight I have lifted.

  • Always wondered how long I should be getting sore?? I try to change up my style for day to day or every other week. Not that I work out that much �� ��������

  • Please make a video on Hypertrophic Cluster sets.
    8 sets of 3 reps vs 3 sets of 8 reps
    10 sete of 4 reps vs 4 sets 10 reps. Where speed matters and how effective they are

  • Bro! You’re the man and you deserve all the success in the world! Keep doing you and do let the game change you! You help me push myself everyday and help me be better every day.

  • Just found your channel and subbed mate, enjoyed this commentary as these are the kind of channels I get the most out of. Check out mine if you’re interested, just trying to connect with similar minded powerlifters that are on YouTube for the same reasons! Been using RPE a lot myself recently to manage fatigue and improve my recovery without percentage based limitations or guess work.

  • Gret video somehow had never heard anyone talk about this concept only percentage based training. Definitely gonna start trying this since ive been making the mistake of going to pretty much failure

  • more of this please jeff! love how you placed the time stamps at the bottom for us to navigate around the video! definitely will support a series like this if you plan to start on it!!

  • I love that scream on the bench press, very funny. The video that came up after yours was Rodney Dangerfield. I think I laughed harder at yours.

  • @CanditoTrainingHQ Good info per usual! Might I suggest getting some training footage to overlay videos like these? On top of your lifts always being entertaining/motivating to watch, the visual aid would also make the over all video more entertaining to watch on top of how informative it is. Just an idea. 

  • With the RPE style training you should be wanting to train as hard as you can progress from like with any other sort of programming. Simply finding out your estimated one rep max using whatever set/rep scheme and difficulty level you did the week prior gives you a # to try and beat next time around given you’re up for it mentally and physically. Say you do 405×3 at a 9 that roughly comes out to be est max of 475, now next week you know what # you need to beat to make progress. Such as 385×4 at a 9 the week after which gives you a est max of 481. You shouldn’t ever go into the routine hoping the auto regulation makes it easier and just be thankful its there when you need it to be. If after 2-3 sets of 75%+ along with your warm ups it’s still not there chances are it’s not going to be there. If that happens on a regular basis I would question ones technique and overall readiness.

  • A few points regarding your criticism towards RPE training:
    1) “I don’t want to assess difficulty during my set, I’d be distracted”. Not sure about this one. We all instinctively assess difficulty during a set, it’s a natural thing to do. If it wasn’t, you’d see people drop the bar and go to muscle failure all the time. Which we don’t.
    2) “If you’re having a good day and feel energized, RPE-based training will push you to lift more that day and might potentially put you off for the coming days/weeks of your program”. Having a good day is not really a statistical outlier that pops up out of nowhere, it’s usually the sign that you’re recovering faster than expected. In which case, it makes sense to capitalize on that new information to get ahead of your training by days or weeks, and find your sweet spot (the optimal rate of progression for your given level of recovery at that point in time).
    3) “%-based programs don’t allow you to bitch out of your set reps and sets, you usually prepare yourself mentally and physically that much more the day before”. If you’re serious about lifting, you don’t bitch out. And if you do bitch out, then you need to reassess your priorities.
    4) Still waiting on that nutrition video you promised me months ago, big daddy:)

  • Jeff, what about a video about incorporating or utilizing the conjugate (Westside) method? How you would program it for yourself or a novice, intermediate, advanced lifter.

  • On your program I hit a big pr on the second week I think. I hit a new 10 rep max and was really proud of it. Then the following weeks I just wasn’t able to perform as well as I did when I hit the 10 rep max and it just ruined the whole cycle. In short the point you made about hitting a big pr using rpe and ruining your training cycle can happen with percentage based programs as well.

  • I’ve been rowing heavy lately and have seen crazy bicep growth particularly in my bicep peaks which I’ve always struggled developing

  • First, I wanted to say that your videos are awesome. No matter the length. I feel like you take a study and take out all of the stuff people actually want to hear about.
    What I really wanted to talk about was the muscle confusion part of the video. From my studies in my Undergrad (Ex Phys.) I’ve learned that the only way to get stronger and/or bigger is through progressive overload over a period of time for most individuals, but what happens when elite athletes physically cant just go up anymore without potential injuries?
    I hear a lot about DUP and Systematic Periodization. I guess my question is, after you’ve reached a certain level of muscle growth/stimulus what is the next step in building a program?

  • It’s good to hear another side of the story. Thanks Jonnie. I was getting the same feeling while doing the Texas Method, being forced to do 5 sets of 5 often means the 3rd or 4th set are the best for me. Totally agree that a big PR could make all the training after suck.

  • What is the main reason for most studies (featured on this channel at least, or so it seems) having such a small sample size? Logistics? Funding? Lack of participants?

  • I appreciate the amount of time you spend on making sure your advice is crystal clear with no room for ambiguity, very well done. I also have the exact same reasons for running RPE. I do however run both auto regulation and percentage based as I find percentage based can lead to unreasonable expectations on occasion. 

  • Finally, a respected youtube powerlifter divulges that RPE isn’t for him. I’ve been trying to muster up the courage to incorporate RPE into my current program, but honestly, I’ve been hesitant to do it b/c I’m just not sure I’m ready to admit to myself just how much of a pussy I really am.

    There are days when EVERYTHING (including warmups) simply feels really goddamn hard, but historically, I just motor through them with the “mind over matter” mentality. You know, the philosophy that “your body will quit before your mind” mentality. Often times, I can psych myself up hard enough to hit decent numbers-despite the excessive fatigue/discomfort I may be feeling that day.

    Simply stated: If I incorporate RPE into my training, I fear I’ll experience substantial REGRESSION in my strength/performance, and I’m worried that it might take me ages (months?/years?) to get work back up to my current strength/performance levels.

  • I think that use of RPEs is similar with prescribe a range of reps for a specific percentage to a lifter. If the program says 90% for 1-3 reps (and you want to left a rep in the tank) a lifter may work up to 90×1, 90×2 or 90×3 dependent on how he feels (if it is a bad, moderate or good day). With the RPE, let’s say he must work up to a 2 [email protected] RPE. It will be around 87-93% depentent on the day. So it is a very simillar training effect imo. Those are both good ways to establisth a program. I think the worst case is to prescribe a specific PERCENTAGE AND REPS to a lifter (in one day he may not be able to perform it and in another day hea may leave 2-3 reps in the tank because the weight is easy). Sorry for my bad english!

  • Awesome video couldnt agree more. It is a similar reason why i like to either record my set or have my spotter count the reps in his head if my set is as many reps as possible. The last thing you want to be doing when going near failure is have to think about counting your reps

  • So is this mainly for heavy warmups? Seems like going to failure (that’s RPE 10 right?) makes more sense to me. Why leave an extra rep or two in the tank? I rest for 1-3 minutes do another set till failure and try to get 4 good heavy sets in around the 5 rep range and then drop some weight and do one or two more sets at the reduced weight but also to failure.

  • The motivation quote at thd beginning and the vans have disappeared, you need to get new shoes and draw something epic on them. We want the old Russell

  • Glad you went with this topic. I think the best thing about RPE IMO is that I have never gone to failure on a set in a long time trying to achieve the lower spectrum of a rep set, hence better recovery and more gainzzzz.

  • I was looking into your powerlifting program and it looks solid. I’ve been running the cube for a year now and am looking for a change. Unfortunately I work shift work in 7 day intervals and can only make it to the gym 4 days a week for lifting. Any suggestions on how to drop the fifth day in the first couple weeks of your program? Also is this good for meet prep? I’m hoping to enter my first meet this spring. Thanks.

  • I can’t go by RPE scale because my warm-ups and first set usually sucks and I’ll get 3 out of the 5 reps. Then my 2nd and 3rd set will be perfect. W0t

  • So what if you have squats. 5 x 5 @ 8. And you fatigue after the 3rd set and that 8 feels like a 9 or 10. I assume you drop the load to make it feel like an 8?

  • The amount of editing in this video…wow.

    Never used RPE. Only percentage based. BUT I always bumped my first heaviest set up in weight when I can squeeze out another rep. So it starts as percentage then moves up based on what I can actually do.

    I was only intermediate. I have an actual genetic mutation (a myotonic disorder)!that makes me a bit stronger than most women. Might be why I could progress as far as I could.

  • Well said! Also, beginners don’t even know what 9.5 feels like. It takes experience to know when you’re actually close to failure.

  • I agree completely. RPE is a great and fantastic tool, that should be used more so as a technique moreso then a complete training methodology. Not to mention, overreaching can be a great tool and is a reason why I use %’s over RPE. 

    That and alot of individuals have issues mastering a proper scale and being honest with themselves going too heavy/light.

  • Very similar opinion to you on this topic jonnie, I find i go in the gym and it always feels harder than it is when using an RPE scale, whereas if I have a set number for the day usually I can go in and hit it no matter how I’m feeling.

  • My personal bias would get in the way of rating how i rate my RPE. I’d rather follow a structured based program using a percentage of my 1RM.

  • Hey Jonnie, i want to starr your 6 week training cycle but my squat sucks comparing to my other lifts.
    370 deadlift
    230 squat
    220 bench
    My squat has sucked bc of my mobility issues which i’m working on and getting better. My reps on video don’t look too bad (running 5×5 on them right now). But they do seem kinda slow for the weight i’m using. My last few reps also look slightly like good mornings.
    I am doing squats with a wide stance as I don’t have the ankle flexibility to squat marrow just yet.
    Should I lay off your 6 week routine till my squat weight moves closer to my deadlift? I’m a 170 lbs manlet so kinda coming close to the intermediate range with the bench/dead. But my squat is crap atm.

  • So I have a question regarding the first topic: Let’s say i am performing a deadlift or a cable pulldown, which in my experience are both two of the cases in which you don’t feel a muscle fail, what you feel is like your whole body can’t perform another rep, counter to bicep curl for example, in which you clearly feel your bicep failing. So in this cases I am only getting the benefit if my body has a similar failing point than the muscle I am targeting or am I just having a breathing problem or I am resting enough or other issue that is making me feel like my body fails before a muscle?

  • If the biceps are seen to have more growth through pulldowns due to their biarticular setup and also their role in the movement being the limiting factor. Would it lend to believe then that with the shoulders being a smaller muscle group the triceps would be called upon more so with an OHP? Also with the triceps assisting in the OHP they would be extending upwards in an overhead position potentially capturing more of the heads of the triceps? Would this then lead to more development than with the bench press?

  • Bro this video was lit, I watched it in episodes though. Episode 3 was my favorite, the topic on muscle confusion was really helpful

  • I love this! So much knowledge and scientific-based information in one video on some of the, in my opinion, most interesting and unanswered areas within health and fitness atm. As always your content is worth so much Thank you for putting the effort into it and sharing it with us!

  • That first comment is so true, find what you enjoy and works well for you and do that because at the end of the day THAT’S what is most important. Great video JC.

  • Hi Jonnie nice video, I got my first deadlift only meet at 16 this Sunday.. Can u check my deadlifting out and give me some form advice/what to open with etc?

  • So you’re gonna tell a novice to do 3×5 at RPE 7. So he is supposed to pick a weight he COULD do for 3×8 and then do 3×5 with it? Do you honestly think a person without a decent amount of experience can do that?

  • I agree. I’ve had a lot of training sessions where I’m at 75% and I feel weak, but as I keep going up to 85% for example, it goes up smooth and feels even easier.

  •   Interesting points Johnnie.  I’m a fan of both methods (percentage based and reactive training) as they have both put a ton of weight on my total.  I took a good year off of utilizing RPE’s and stuck with some for of good ole linear periodization for a while.  Now I’m back to using RPE’s to prep for my next meet.

      I think RPE’s do indeed work for trainees who go into a session with the proper mind set.  I don’t find myself overanalyzing a previous set after it’s completion.  I think to myself before the set “I need to work up to an RPE 9.”  After a specific a set is done, I simply rate how difficult it was based of off how many reps I had left to complete.  It doesn’t cause any type of fatigue or psychological wear and tear.  I actually find it allows me to stay mentally strong after I have a garbage set.  

      For instance I may go in trying to hit a triple at and RPE of 9.  I go in and do it with 20 less pounds than a few weeks ago.  If the same situation happened on a percentage based program this would destroy me psychologically as I feel like my program has failed me (or vice versa? lol).  On an RPE based program I’d simply chalk that up to a poor training day and just move forward to the next set or next exercise.

      On the same token, you do have to be careful with your estimated 1rm’s created by the RPE/percentage scale.  For instance a few weeks ago I pulled 620×4 @ and RPE of 9.  According to the RTS scale a x4 @ 9 represents a weight that is 80% of my 1RM.  This gave me a projected max of 775, which is a full 100 pounds over my best actual 1RM.  Some trainees might look at this and allow the numbers to fuel their ego.  I fully understand that my 1RM is not 775 (I wish), I was still incredibly happy with that set, but I knew it was simply a stepping stone in the right direction.

      I think utilizing RPE’s are for people with some experience or people who are newer but have access to a coach to keep their mind on the straight and narrow.

  • Incredible video as always Jonnie. Love how you explain your opinion as just that, an opinion! Too many people believe their preferences as fact, and preach it as so. This not only causes other people to believe it as fact, it also forces that person to refuse all other possibilities. I’ve personally tried an RPE program (Izzy’s PNP), and though I made great progress on it, I just didn’t enjoy it as much as your percentage based programs. I have to agree with your reasoning, as I found myself stopping between reps and deciding how hard it is. I’m more of a get that weight lifted, think later kind of guy. Thanks again for this video, keep up the great content. PS. Release a hoodie please so I can give you more of my money

  • Jim. I’m driving right now and listening to you on my loudspeakers. I’m laughing as I think about trying to drop you at dance emoji while I’m going 60 miles an hour. LOL. Enjoy this one buddy.

  • This has helped me understand it so much, you and Brian Alsruhe give out some incredible free advice in your videos. Truly appreciate the effort.

  • An RPE based program is very flawed.  Someone could easily misjudge on how they are “feeling” no matter how experienced they are. E.g. “I’ve hit an RPE 9, I’m gonna cut it short” but really they are only at an 8, And vice versa. Ofcourse I’m generalizing, but that’s why I’ll never use it.

  • If giving someone leeway to tweak weights gets them under/over shooting signicantly and consistently to make the training effect intended differ from what’s realized, RPE is clearly not for them at that point in time. With big 2 issues being accuracy and the need to be honest and willing to stick to a plan, the 2nd depends on the individual, but I try to improve accuracy to a degree with a few things:

    1.) I nerd out and incorporate 3 pieces of information when rating.
    -How fast the reps felt, especially the last.
    -How fast the reps are on video (I know from memory roughly how fast some past lifts are for benchmarking).
    -How the set felt as a whole.

    I can somehow obsess over it and still get work done.

    2.) Understanding the dynamics (not just the speed) of your lift may help too. After all, while RPE is subjective, it tries to measure an objective quantity, which is how many reps you have left.

    Case in point, I generally suck at grinding. so relatively speaking if a set ‘feels slower’ than the last, I may raise the RPE by 1 rather than 0.5 if I’m good with slower lifts and grinds. In a more absolute sense if it’s slow the RPE won’t be low and if I smack into a sticking point it’ll be at least a 9.

    3.) Don’t forecast weights until as late as possible. Keep measuring during warm ups. Use work up sets to keep measuring. The closer you get to the intended RPE, the more accurately you may forecast how the performance may turn out and what you realize for your initial.

    Discussion can be extended much more, but we gotta stop at some point. If you’re on the fence, I think you should just see what works for you by TRYING AND DOING. I can find little to disagree with because I’m sure you’re correct in the expressing what may make or break using this for someone.

  • I use percentage based programs and if I notice im doing well I’d go for a volume PR or maybe even a 1RM. Your training routine should be a guide line to follow of which you can deviate. You shouldnt always stick to it. If while benching you do 6×6 225 lbs and its going good id put on 5 or 10 extra lbs on the last couple of sets or even replace all of them

  • I definitely wouldn’t be able to push myself with an RPE based program in comparison to a percentage based program. If I see to lift 85%x5 I’m more likely to hit it then if I just worked up to a 5RM based on feel.

  • But you can always do more reps if you wait X amount of seconds. For example, you’re at RPE 10 (can’t do any more) but you wait 10 seconds, then do another rep at RPE 10. So technically you’re training to failure over and over.

    Alternatively, you can always do another set, it would just take longer and longer to complete each one. You’d think this would be a very important, very basic, very essential concept. This has always confused me and no one seems to talk about it. How are you supposed to determine what weight you should be lifting? How are you supposed to determine what RPE 10 actually is given these circumstances?

  • But Allan… the video has to be at least 10:00… not 9:59… this 1 less second will anihilate all the income:)))) just joking… but this is actually a fact that it helps if your video is 10 minutes minimum… something with the algoritm going on

  • Everytime he says “Train Untammmmmmed” it reminds me of a Drill Instructor from a follow series at P.I., DI SSGT Tito. He was a freaking animal. Austrian. His eyes were half closed n shit and calm but intense as hell.

  • holy shit johnny, so many mistakes in the video summary! proof read that shit! good video and sorry if you’re dyslexic or something lol

  • 2019: A study shows that dumbbell rows doesn’t stimulate biceps as much as biceps curls.

    Me: “Mind -blown”! ��

    Why would they compare Dumbbell rolls to curls for biceps grow? It would have been a lot more useful to actually study something more controversial like chin ups versus barbel curls or dips and close grip bench press vs. skull crusher. Like if one is doing full body workout and can pick just one exercise for biceps/ triceps, would it be better to go with a close grip multi joint or an isolation move?

  • I’m a recreational lifter, so I went with the “Bulgarian Light” approach. I just film my sets and focus on pushing with maximal speed on every rep. I then watch the footage and use that to determine how much to jump. If anything, it causes me to really focus during my warm-ups, rather than going through the motions just to get to the planned weight.

  • Johnnie, do you ever experience asymmetric muscle activation problems? i.e. only one side of the body firing correctly. If so what do you do to combat it? Thankyou in advance. 

  • I have been trying to understand this RPE stuff pretty much all day now.  No luck.  I’ll stick with the Candito 6 week program.  *thumbs up*

  • You are so funny.
    I like watch your videos just because you explain everything so easy and in silly way ������
    You are genius (not literally, just like expression how much I like you) ��������������

  • I’m old enough to remember when intensity meant how hard you worked in the set. Whole thing sounds silly to me. Take a weight and do as may reps as you can. Once in awhile have a friend help you do a couple forced reps. It ain’t rocket science.

  • At the end of the day, whatever keeps you exercising.  For me, it changes all the time. Sometimes I like to push it to the limit every set with the goal of beating an old PR, and some days I can’t handle it mentally, and just try to get the work in with no goal. I haven’t seen much in the way of a system building my confidence up to break PR’s I otherwise wouldn’t; it either happens or it doesn’t regardless of what I want to happen.

  • I really liked this video. It’s interesting to see a variety of issues, sort of a “recap of recent events” type of thing. I say keep on doing this sort of format when new issues of MASS or similar things come out. It has me hearing about topics I might not normally watch a video on, like the alcohol one (since I don’t drink).

  • What warm up do you suggest before doing the 1 rep max to determine the subsequent sets? How to determine the weight for 1 rep max? Thanking in anticipation

  • I know professors who have taught for decades and can’t hold a candle to Jeff’s ability to explain and make fascinating the research behind exercise and nutritional sciences.

  • This video is great. I personally prefer this format, splitting up the subject matter isn’t needed. I really appreciate your channel. I’m a research coordinator (veterinary) and it’s so nice to see someone that cares about the lit. translating it to those that might not be so into it. I’m not a bodybuilder, I’m an equestrian, and your channel is helpful to me. Trainers have been feeding baking soda to horses for quite a few decades. Moderation is best, its used moderately because a little lactic acid is needed for growth and neuromuscular development. Thanks again.

  • The Body has 3 hunger signals
    Protein Solution Eat standard gram to body weight ratio.
    Nutrients Eat liver
    And Fats eat a Keto/Carnivore diet

    Weight loss achieved

  • Can you put these videos on your podcast? Really enjoying the ‘Stronger by Science’ which you reccomended and would love to listen to these too

  • Have you ever had pain in the hipflexors when squatting? If so, how did you deal with this problem? Flexibility? More mobilitywork and more glutework?

  • Great content as undergraduate Kinesiology student and collegiate powerlifter I can say with confidence that not only have you increased my ever growing interest in this field, but done so for my friends as well, and even aided in the growth of our knowledge pertaining to certain classes.

  • I still feel RPE leaves too much to guesswork. What I do is percentage-based based on a three-rep max that moves up once achieved. So for example if this week my 100% squat is set to 150kg, if I manage to do three reps, next week, I set the 100% to 155kg, and the whole program (based off 5/3/1) gets heavier. If I can’t get 3 reps, I keep that max until I can. Having said that, I’m still mostly an intermediate, but this is working for me, it’s systematic and spares me the guesswork.

  • What would you recommend for a brand new guys at the gym?

    I am about to join the gym in about 2 months once my work season slows down (Construction ).

    Im not trying to be a bodybuilder but I would like to put on some size and just beef myself up.

    What would be your “go to” workout? Ive heard stick with the full body workout ( squats, bench, deadlifts, etc) ant truth to this?

  • I asked it in a previous video but you didn’t reply so I’ll post again here.. Does Joey care that you pick and choose if you hit the required RPE’s or not? Or is getting roughly the right volume the main factor he is worrying about because it seems like you yolo whatever RPE you feel like hitting on the day regardless of what’s prescribed by your coach?

  • Ok. I kind of get it, but what is a.5 RPE? Does that mean an RPE 9.5 means I can do half a rep? What’s half a rep. I think if I did a RPE 10 I think I could also do half a rep.

  • Too many numbers for me. These rpe rir charts seem made up to me. They explain reps like backwards math. Oh u did one rep when the rir for that is 9 more…..uhhh yeah I know. They should add 10.5when you thought you could do another but that guy next to you helps you put the bar back and gives you a stern look for lifting too much without having a spotter.

  • I agree. I just started lifting maybe 3 months ago. Yesterday I was doing OHP. Thought it would be a shit workout as my first set of 110lb x 5 felt heavy. Then my second was lighter and by the third set it felt completely controlled. By the 5th I was like bitch please

  • Thanks Jim! I have been using RPE working with my trainer, even though I didn’t know I was doing it:) Thanks for the explanation.

  • I think some people over-rely on RPE & suffer because of it. I think the theory is sound but in practice it can result in people bein’ a lil bitch, in a sense. I’ve tried & completed the full 13 week smolov squat plan, and whilst I didn’t have a great meet after it, nor do I think it’s optimal for building strength, the one case to be made for it is that it teaches you EXACTLY how hard you can work. Many many days I came in, started squatting & genuinely didn’t think I’d make the next rep, let alone the rep after that, or even the following set or two, but lo & behold the reps were made, and badassery was felt. If i had relied on RPE to decide the weights, I would never have pushed myself to do any of those life-or-death reps, and my deadlift training is the same, where each rep makes me question the next. Simply, how you feel is a lie, and that’s why I don’t like RPE.

  • Jonnie you recommend not doing your 6 week program on a caloric deficit. Would you recommend an RPE program instead while cutting?

  • Apperal sorta tip I got my ct shirt last week and love it but even though I still got a small its weird fitting like the sleeves are to long so the no gun show happened bascailly what im trying to say is WE WANT A HOE REALLY CANDITO SHIRT!!!!

  • But isnt is way too vague and subjective? For example I had days when I felt down and I was convinced in my head that I cannot lift any more reps but my gym mate pressured me to do 3 extra reps and it still was not failing which means I still had at least 1 rep in tank. And on some day I felt so hyped up I was convinced I can not only lift 3 extra more reps, I KNEW I can do 3 while having miss universe sucking my dick…. and I failed doing even 1.

  • I have had many quick “girlie” screams when pushing weight I always thought they were in my head maybe not so much now that I saw you!!!

  • This is why I really like Wendler 531 w/Joker Sets, and FSL. Not only do you hit your required weight for the day, if you’re feeling good on a particular day you do Joker Sets and go for a new PR. Best of both Worlds.  Plus FSL multiple sets is also your Auto Regulation for that workout. 

  • i never really understood the need for rpe based programs. its just as easy to auto regulate with %s. i was going for a 3×5 squat yesterday but my bar speed was slow and it just wasnt gonna happen. i got 3 reps in the first set and i changed my goal to getting triples in the last two sets then i made up for the volume by doing two higher rep sets with a lighter weight. now im focused on eating well and getting enough sleep to attack the weight again at the end of the week.

    however, often times in the past, bar speed during warm ups was not indicative of my strength for the day. there is more to bar speed than how strong you are on the day. sometimes your mind just really gets into it as you progress with the warm ups and you end up smashing your working sets whereas with an rpe program you probably would have scaled back the intensity. you can always do fewer reps but i prefer to get under the weight the program calls for and see what happens. 

  • When you use rep rages (as in your example of 495×1-4), you’re actually using RPE. I think it’s important to notice that autoregulation comes in degrees. Izzy’s programs, for example, take advantage of this fact.

  • This video was fantastic, so much useful information. Thanks so much for sharing these articles & breaking all this down for us, Jeff. Really appreciated.

  • I really appreciate your disclosure of knowledge in your channel. As long as I don’t find any information in your videos about the weight indications in relation of sets but only RPE (which I personally find very abstract) I would like to ask you what approach you use in your programs and more in general your thoughts about it. It would be great also a video about this topic: in the standard REPSxSETS indication, what is the approach regarding the weight (or number of reps) between sets? To specify: let’s take a 10(reps)x4(sets) exercise, do you consider the weight to be constant between sets (and so the reps are going to decrease between sets if the weight is targeting the first set) or you are considering the reps count to be constant between sets (and so the weight is going to decrease between sets)?

    Sorry for the long question.

  • Great video!! My teacher randomly threw Borg scale (with little explanation) into the powerpoint despite in not being in the book. This video helped a lot.

  • I would love to see a long video on the processed vs. unprocessed foods study/maybe a YouTube review of other literature on the subject.

  • I got my percentage based strength programm of the big 3 lifts, and I always do that in the beginning. And if those reps didn’t feel strong or fast, I autoregulate after that. But I always want to follow my program. 

  • Would an RPE 10 mean the last rep was slow but still clean (no form breakdown) and you could not have done one more rep with good form?

  • Loved the in depth review, especially how accessible you presented it. I would love to see this become a regular feature on your channel, like a MASS monday (each month). Keep up the good work mate