The relationship between rating of perceived exertion and muscle activity during exhaustive constant-load cycling

E B Fontes, B P C Smirmaul, F Y Nakamura, G Pereira, A H Okano, L R Altimari, J L Dantas, A C de Moraes
International Journal of Sports Medicine 2010, 31 (10): 683-8
The aims of this study were to verify the relationship between rating of perceived exertion (RPE) and electromyography (EMG) increases during exhaustive constant-load cycling bouts and, to compare and to correlate the power outputs corresponding to perceived exertion threshold (PET) and neuromuscular fatigue threshold (NFT). 11 men completed 3-4 different exhaustive constant-load cycling bouts on a cycle ergometer, being RPE and EMG measured throughout the bouts. The linear regression of the RPEslope and EMGslope against the power output identified the PET and NFT intensity, respectively. There was a significant relationship between RPEslope and EMGslope (R(2)=0.69; P<0.01). However, the linearity of RPEslope (R(2)=0.93±0.07) was significantly higher (P<0.001) than EMGslope (R(2)=0.63±0.25). In addition, the RPEslope and EMGslope were related to time to exhaustion (r=-0.59 and r=-0.60; P<0.001). There was no significant difference (P=0.42) between PET (201.5±27.9W) and NFT (210.3±22.6W) and they were significantly correlated (r=0.78; P=0.005). Therefore, the RPE and EMG increases during exhaustive constant-load cycling bouts are related and, PET and NFT intensities are similar and closely associated.

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