RPE Meaning: Here’s What It Means and How To Use It

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If you’re a fitness fanatic, gym rat, or exercise guru, you’ve likely crossed paths with the acronym RPE before, but do you know what it means? Not to worry — The Word Counter is here to help!

In this post, we’re diving into the world of fitness to uncover all there is to know about RPE. So if you’ve ever wondered what this acronym stands for or how it’s used — keep reading. 

What Is the Definition of RPE?

RPE, or rather, rate of perceived exertion, is how hard youfeel your body is currently working. Essentially the intensity of your workout is subjectively gauged based on physical sensations you personally experience during your workout. 

RPE can be used for both cardio training and strength training — the RPE scale can even be implemented in training for muscular hypertrophy.

The RPE scale itself was originally developed by Swedish psychophysicist and psychologist Gunnar Borg — though this scale is now referred to as the Borg scale. 

The RPE Scale vs. the Borg RPE Scale: What’s the Difference?

There are currently two commonly used rating scales used to assess and measure RPE, the original RPE scale, now known as the Borg scale, which measures from 6 to 20, and the current RPE scale, which measures from 0 to 10.

It is important to always remember that there is a slight variation to both of these scales. To clear things up, we have broken them down below:

What Is the BORG RPE Scale?

The BORG RPE Scale follows a person’s heart rate more closely than the current RPE scale and is essentially built around that philosophy. This scale can be used to give you a pretty good idea of where your heart rate should be during each exercise. To use this scale efficiently, simply multiply your RPE by 10 to get your estimated heart rate. 

For example, if you’re jogging up the countryside and it feels as though you’re on a Borg scale of 12, your rate should be 120 bpm or beats per minute.

Below we have broken down the Borg RPE scale by exertion felt to clear up any confusion:

  • RPE 6 — Absolutely no exertion; for instance, seated meditation

  • RPE 7 — Significantly light; for example, a gentle yoga workout

  • RPE 9 — Pretty light; think taking a walk at a comfortable and slow pace

  • RPE 11 — Light effort; for instance, dumbbell lifts and medium weightlifting exercises

  • RPE 13 — Somewhat hard; think kettlebell swings and similar exercises

  • RPE 15 — Hard effort; running around the track is a good exercise here

  • RPE 17 — Very hard effort; for instance, heavy weights and deadlift

  • RPE 19 — Extreme effort; HIIT or High-Intensity Interval Training is a good example here

  • RPE 20 — A short burst of maximum physical activity; a good example of this would be sprints 

What Is the RPE Scale?

This scale is typically used for those aiming to measure the intensity of their lifts and, in turn, base their training day around. This scale focuses more on a feeling of breathlessness than actual heart rate, as opposed to the Borg Scale. Below we have broken down the RPE scale:

  • RPE of 4 or below — These exercises will focus more on the development of a person’s form and/or be used for recovery and mobility training

  • RPE 5 — Typically more of a warm-up session than a workout

  • RPE 6 — These exercises are usually done in reps of +/- 8 (dependent upon a person’s training and speed goals); the weight used is typically aimed at the individual being able to move quickly

  • RPE 7 — Ideally, these exercises hit a rep count of 5-7 and have weight you can move with power behind it
  • RPE 8 — Most hit a stride of 2 to 4 reps as they begin to really hit their stride
  • RPE 9 — With these exercises, you’ve almost hit a wall, but you know you have another rep or two in the tank; a good example here is running for an extending period of time

  • RPE 10 — In the words of Marvel’s Deadpool, “Maximum Effort!” These exercises demand a short burst of activity that one can’t maintain for long; for example, sprints would be an ideal activity here. 

What Are Translations of Rate Perceived Exertion? 

Now that you understand what RPE means and all about using RPE, let’s learn how to say our word of the day in a different language!

Translations of rate perceivedexertion includes:

  • Afrikaans — Gegradeerde waargenomen inspanning
  • Arabic — تصنيف المجهود المدرك
  • Bulgarian — Номинално възприемано твърдение
  • Chinese (simplified) — 额定感知劳累
  • Croatian — Ocijenjeni percipirani napor
  • Czech — Hodnocená vnímaná námaha
  • Danish — Bedømt opfattet anstrengelse
  • Dutch — Nominale waargenomen inspanning
  • American English — Rated Perceived Exertion
  • Finnish — Arvioitu koettu rasitus
  • French — Évaluation de l’effort perçu
  • German — Bewertete wahrgenommene Anstrengung
  • Greek — Αξιολογημένη αντιληπτή άσκηση
  • Italian — Sforzo percepito nominale
  • Japanese — 定格知覚運動
  • British English — Rated Perceived Exertion
  • Korean — 정격 인식 된 운동
  • Norwegian — Vurdert oppfattet anstrengelse
  • Polish — Oceniony wysiłek odczuwalny
  • Portuguese — Esforço percebido avaliado 
  • Russian — Оценка воспринимаемого напряжения
  • Spanish — Esfuerzo percibido nominal
  • Swedish — Betygsatt upplevd ansträngning
  • Thai — จัดอันดับการออกแรงรับรู้
  • Turkish — Derecelendirilmiş Algılanan Efor
  • Ukrainian — Оцінені сприйняті навантаження
  • Vietnamese — Nỗ lực nhận thức được xếp hạng


The RPE scale — or the rate of perceived exertion scale — is used to measure the intensity of your exercises using a score of either 6-20 (Borg scale) or 1-10 (current RPE scale).

We hope you enjoyed learning about RPE. If you would like to enhance your everyday vocabulary with more interesting terms, we invite you to explore our website where you’ll discover grammar tools, useful tips, and a number of informative blogs. 

Whether you’re hoping to expand your spoken vocabulary or simply looking to make sense of a confusing term, you can always count on us to have just what you need. 


Perceived Exertion (Borg Rating of Perceived Exertion Scale) | Physical Activity | CDC

Rating of perceived exertion: Borg scales | Heart Online

Borg Scale – RPE | TREK