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Precision, Accuracy, and Performance Outcomes of Perceived Exertion vs. Heart Rate Guided Run-training

Johnson, Evan C.; Pryor, Riana R.; Casa, Douglas J.; Ellis, Lindsay A.; Maresh, Carl M.; Pescatello, Linda S.; Ganio, Matthew S.; Lee, Elaine C.; Armstrong, Lawrence E.

The Journal of Strength & Conditioning Research: March 2017 - Volume 31 - Issue 3 - p 630–637
doi: 10.1519/JSC.0000000000001541
Original Research
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Johnson, EC, Pryor, RR, Casa, DJ, Ellis, LA, Maresh, CM, Pescatello, LS, Ganio, MS, Lee, EC, and Armstrong, LE. Precision, accuracy, and performance outcomes of perceived exertion vs. heart rate guided run-training. J Strength Cond Res 31(3): 630–637, 2017—The purpose of this investigation was to compare run-prescription by heart rate (HR) vs. rating of perceived exertion (RPE) during 6 weeks to determine which is superior for consistent achievement of target intensities and improved performance. Forty untrained men participated in this laboratory-controlled and field-controlled trial. Participants were divided into heart rate (HRTG) and rating of perceived exertion training groups (RPETG). All underwent maximal-graded exercise testing and a 12-minute run test before and after training. Intensity was prescribed as either a target HR or RPE that corresponded to 4 relative intensity levels: 45, 60, 75, and 90% V[Combining Dot Above]O2 reserve (V[Combining Dot Above]O2R). Mean exercise intensity over the 6 weeks did not differ between HRTG (65.6 ± 7.2%HRR) and RPETG (61.9 ± 9.0%HRR). V[Combining Dot Above]O2max (+4.1 ± 2.5 ml·kg−1·min−1) and 12 minutes run distance (+240.1 ± 150.1 m) improved similarly in HRTG and RPETG (p > 0.05). HRTG displayed lower coefficients of variation (CV) (5.9 ± 4.1%, 3.3 ± 3.8%, and 3.0 ± 2.2%) and %error (4.1 ± 4.7%, 2.3 ± 4.1% and 2.6 ± 3.2%) at 45, 60, and 75% V[Combining Dot Above]O2R compared with RPETG (CV 11.1 ± 5.0%, 7.7 ± 4.1% and 5.6 ± 3.2%; all p < 0.005) %error (15.7 ± 9.2%, 10.6 ± 9.2% and 6.7 ± 3.2%; all p < 0.001), respectively. Overall, HR-prescribed and RPE-prescribed run-training resulted in similar exercise intensity and performance outcomes over 6 weeks. Differences in the CV and %error suggest use of HR monitoring for individuals that are new to running as it improves precision and accuracy but does not increase performance improvements across 6 weeks.

1Human Integrated Physiology Laboratory, University of Wyoming, Laramie, Wyoming;

2Human Performance Laboratory, University of Connecticut, Storrs, Connecticut;

3Department of Kinesiology, California State University Fresno, Fresno, California;

4School of Health and Exercise Sciences, University of British Columbia, Onkanagan, British Columbia;

5Department of Human Sciences, The Ohio State University, Columbus, Ohio; and

6Human Performance Laboratory, University of Arkansas, Fayetteville, Arkansas

Address correspondence to Evan C. Johnson, evan.johnson@uwyo.edu.

Copyright © 2017 by the National Strength & Conditioning Association.