LAGALLY, K. M., R. J. ROBERTSON, K. I. GALLAGHER, F. L. GOSS, J. M. JAKICIC, S. LEPHART, and B. GOODPASTER. Perceived exertion, electromyography, and blood lactate during acute bouts of resistance exercise. Med. Sci. Sports Exerc., Vol. 34, No. 3, pp. 552–559, 2002.
Purpose: This study examined ratings of perceived exertion (RPE) during resistance exercise in women. In addition, changes in blood lactic acid and biceps muscle activity assessed using electromyography (EMG) were investigated as potential mediators of RPE during resistance exercise.
Methods: Twenty female volunteers (age, 25 ± 4 yr) performed one set of biceps curl exercise at 30%, 60%, and 90% of their one-repetition maximum (1-RM). Total work was held constant by varying the number of repetitions during each of the three intensities. The three intensities were performed in random order. RPE responses were assessed for both the active muscle (RPE-AM) and the overall body (RPE-O) following each intensity. EMG data were collected from the biceps brachii muscle during each intensity. Blood samples were taken before and following the intensities and analyzed for blood lactic acid concentration.
Results: A two-factor repeated-measures ANOVA showed a significant RPE (region) × intensity interaction (P < 0.02). Both RPE-AM and RPE-O increased as the intensity of exercise increased. EMG activity increased significantly (P < 0.01) as the intensity of exercise increased. A two-factor repeated measures ANOVA performed on the blood lactate data showed a significant (P < 0.04) time × intensity interaction. Postexercise [Hla] was significantly greater (P < 0.01) at 90% 1-RM than at 30% 1-RM. No significant differences were found in [Hla] between 30% and 60% 1-RM, or between 60% and 90% 1-RM.
Conclusion: These results indicate that monitoring RPE may be a useful technique for regulating resistance exercise intensity. Moreover, blood lactate and activity of the involved muscle may mediate the relation between RPE and resistance exercise intensity.