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Regulating intensity using perceived exertion in spinal cord-injured participants

Victoria Goosey-Tolfrey, John Lenton, Jimmy Goddard, Victoria Oldfield, Keith Tolfrey, Roger Eston
Medicine and Science in Sports and Exercise 2010, 42 (3): 608-13
19952816

PURPOSE: To examine the validity of perception-based intensity regulation during handcycling exercise.

METHODS: Eight spinal cord-injured (T11 incomplete to T4 complete) participants completed an incremental exercise test followed by a (.)VO2peak test using a sports hand bike. Subsequently, two 20-min exercise tests were completed at an individualized power output (PO) at moderate and vigorous intensities (50% and 70% of (.)VO2peak, respectively). On a separate occasion, participants were instructed to produce and maintain a workload equivalent to the average RPE for the 20-min imposed condition in a counterbalanced order. The (.)VO2 and blood lactate concentration [BLa(-)] were measured every 10 min, and HR and PO were measured at 1-min intervals.

RESULTS: There were no differences in average (.)VO2, percent V O2peak, HR, PO, and [BLa(-)] between the imposed PO conditions and RPE-regulated trials of either exercise intensity. Although PO increased slightly during the moderate-intensity RPE-regulated trial (P < 0.04), it remained relatively constant in the vigorous RPE-regulated trial. However, there was a tendency for PO to be slightly higher (P = 0.07) in the vigorous RPE-regulated trial.

CONCLUSIONS: These data suggest that RPE is effective in controlling moderate and vigorous intensities throughout a 20-min handcycling exercise session for SCI participants.

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