INTRODUCTION: Adult OMNI Rate of Perceived Exertion (OMNI RPE) has been widely validated in laboratory settings with physiological variables across gender, race, adults, children and health status. However, comparative studies on adults with physiological variables in field settings are limited.
PURPOSE: To compare OMNI RPE with heart rate (HR) in Progressive Aerobic Cardiovascular Endurance Run (PACER) test for adults.
METHODS: Fifteen healthy male participants ((age: 23.47 ± 1.56 yrs, height: 1.73 ± 0.03 m, weight: 67.91 ± 5.8 kg, body fat percent (%BF): 13.6 ± 4.51%)) were recruited. It consisted of two sessions conducted at least 24 hours apart between each session. The first session involved an OMNI RPE familiarization session with standardized instructions and a discontinuous running submaximal graded exercise treadmill test (GXT). The GXT was conducted at a 4-minute per stage (run/rest) protocol and terminated with HR at 70% maximum HR (HRmax) (HRmax = 220 - age). It started at 6 km/h and increased 0.5 km/h per stage. HR and OMNI RPE values were recorded at the last minute per stage. The second session was a 20 m PACER test which terminated when participants failed to keep up with the pace twice or till volitional exhaustion. HR and OMNI RPE values were recorded at alternate stages. HR was measured with a HR transmitter in GXT and PACER test. Participants gestured their OMNI RPE score when asked “on a scale of 0 to 10, can you tell me how tired are you feeling overall” in GXT and PACER test.
RESULTS: A significant positive correlation was observed between average HR and OMNI RPE in the PACER test (HR: 173.29 ± 17.13beats•min-1, OMNI RPE: 5.34 ± 3.24, r = 0.90, p = 0.00) and GXT (HR: 134.67 ± 23.10beats•min-1, OMNI RPE: 3.92 ± 2.20, r = 0.81, p = 0.00). A significant linear regression analysis indicated that OMNI RPE responses distributed a positive linear function to HR in PACER test (R2 = 0.51, r = 0.71, p = 0.001, SEE: 16.36) and GXT (R2 = 0.65, r = 0.81, p = 0.000, SEE: 13.67).
CONCLUSIONS: Regression analysis indicated a positive linear relationship between OMNI RPE and HR during PACER test and GXT. OMNI RPE and HR results from GXT and PACER test were similar and increased progressively as exercise intensity increased. Thus, OMNI RPE can be used instead of using HR monitors to monitor HR in field exercises for self-regulation of exercise intensity.