Rating of Perceived Exertion (RPE) Scales are commonly used for subjective measures of exercise intensity levels. They are used in research studies and training programs to describe the intensity of exercise. Presented here is a 10-Point Rating of Perceived Exertion Hand Scale (RPE-10) from 0 (nothing at all) and 10 (very very hard) that is simple to use and requires only the use of a series of hand signals. The hand signals are based on a Chinese one hand counting system.
Although this method is based on the traditional Borg RPE Scale between 1-10, like my RPE-5 hand scale it has not been scientifically validated. You should also look at the other traditional (and scientifically validated) RPE scale as developed by Borg: the RPE scale between 6-20.
My 10 Point Hand-Scale
You may ask why do we need another RPE scale when there are others that are well used and scientifically tested? This RPE scale was created for a bit of fun, but it also may serve a purpose, and has some advantages over the other scales, and may be useful to someone one day. For this RPE Scale, the subject just holds up the fingers of one hand to indicate the intensity level - from 1 to 10 (the similar RPE-5 I created only rates between 1 and 5).
The benefits of the RPE-10 scale:
- It is simple to use, and can be used without requiring a printout - all you need is a free hand.
- The 'thumbs up' sign (rating 1) is fairly universally used to indicate that you are doing OK
- Rating something on a scale of 1 to 10 is familiar to a lot of people.
- It is non-verbal, so is great for research where the subject is unable to talk such as when they are wearing a VO2 gas collection mask.
|1. Very light|
|2. Fairly light|
|4. Somewhat hard|
|7. Very hard|
|10. Very very hard (maximal)|
- As far as I know such a scale as the above RPE-10 Scale using hand signals has not been scientifically tested and validated. You should use with caution, particularly if it is for scientific research that is to be peer reviewed.
- There are several versions of the Chinese method of one-hand counting the number 10 - the clenched fist is sometimes used for zero, but was deemed to be the most suitable for this purpose. It would also be possible to use the deaf sign language hand signals for numbers. There are many versions of this used around the world.
- Let me know if you are to use this RPE method for research. See my other Sport Science research project ideas.
- This scale was created in March 2018. Copyright Rob Wood of Topend Sports.
- See more about using the RPE scales, and details of the other RPE Scales: my RPE 5-point hand scale, and the RPE Scale between 1-10 and the similar RPE scale 6-20.
- Rating-of-fatigue (ROF) — a scale to rate how fatigued someone is feeling.
- Reps in Reserve (RIR) — how many more strength lifts can you do?
- Other athlete questionnaires
- About the Likert Scale
- Other Sport Science research project ideas.