What is RPE?

RPE stands for Rating of Perceived Exertion! And is a term used in exercise science, endurance and more recently resistance training forms of fitness. ⁣Throughout the Lyss Method, you will see RPE used in the workouts!

⁣Historically it’s been standardized to be used in research settings and is validated as a really useful tool for participants & people to use as a self intensity assessment.⁣

Here we are talking about the lifting specific scale and use! This ranges from 1-10 and is reflective of and/or often defined as number of RIR you have at the end of a lift.⁣

RIR stands for Reps in Reserve. Or a fancy way of saying “if I pushed my self to failure how many more reps away would that be”. ⁣

Despite what social media or bootcamp style classes may lead you to believe, gaining muscle and/or strength is NOT by doing only a ton of high rep, low weight, high intensity workouts. Muscle gain will be driven by: tension (weight) and total volume.

In most of our workouts, we will likely actually do our lifting sets of an RPE7-9 depending on experience, the phase or our goals. Meaning around 1-3 reps left.  You may often see the acronym RIR or ‘reps in reserve’. RPE8 is a good target.

Don’t confuse this for being easy though. An RPE 8 is actually really damn hard if you are doing it correctly.

I challenge + encourage you to test this out to show your self how much you’ve been holding back in the gym. Take a set to failure and see how far you get, then adjust your weight/reps accordingly next time!⁣

Still, confused by RPE? This may help! Especially for TLM clients who use 1/10RM or AMRAP testing to find out their current strength/performance levels (we also do this in TRAIN!).

Lastly, RPE is a tool that allows us to regulate our lifts which means it can be influenced by external factors. Meaning, we may not always go up in weight every week. We may be plateaued or drop-down then pick up. This is NORMAL, more normal than is talked about.

If you want to learn more about the science of lifting & using it in your own workouts checkout TRAIN. My lifting ebook that helps you understand fitness for once & actually make progress 🤟🏻 https://doclyssfitness.com/product/training-guide/

Hey, I'm Lyss!

I’m Exercise Physiologist, sports nutritionist, weight lifter, and ultra runner. I am here to bring science to your training in a no-nonsense way. I have helped thousands of women crush big lifting goals, cross race finish lines, and even do both. I’m here to help you do the same!

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Exercise Scientist, ultra runner, lifter, human.