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  • Writer's pictureCody Wescott

The Role of RPE (Ratings of Perceived Exertion) in Taking Your Training to the Next Level

Updated: Aug 17, 2023

Embarking on a fitness journey is a personalized experience, one that involves understanding your body's response to training stimuli. While quantifiable metrics like heart rate and weight lifted are crucial, they don't always provide the full picture of your effort and capabilities. This is where Ratings of Perceived Exertion (RPE) come into play. In this article, we'll explore what RPE is, its significance in fitness training, and how it's becoming an integral part of programs like Cody Wescott Golf Fitness's upcoming cycle of the Lift Heavy, Swing Fast Program.


Defining Ratings of Perceived Exertion (RPE) RPE, or Ratings of Perceived Exertion, is a subjective measurement that gauges the intensity of your physical effort during exercise based on your own sensations. Developed by psychologist Gunnar Borg, RPE is often depicted on a numerical scale, such as the Borg CR10 scale, where individuals rate their effort from 0 (complete rest) to 10 (maximum effort). This assessment takes into account physical sensations, breathing rate, and overall perceived difficulty.

The Importance of RPE in Training

  1. Personalization and Individualization: Every person's physiological response to exercise is unique. Relying solely on preset metrics might not accurately represent your limits and potential. RPE offers a personalized way to monitor and adjust your workouts, ensuring that you're challenging yourself appropriately.

  2. Real-Time Feedback: Unlike rigid metrics, RPE provides immediate feedback as you exercise. This allows you to adapt on the spot – dialing up intensity when feeling strong, or scaling back if things feel too strenuous. It helps maintain the delicate balance between pushing your limits and preventing burnout or injury.

  3. Holistic Approach: RPE encourages you to listen to your body beyond just numbers. Are your muscles fatigued? Is your breathing elevated? These qualitative cues, integrated with RPE, offer a comprehensive understanding of how your body is responding, aiding in more informed decision-making during your training.

Applying RPE in Cody Wescott's Golf Fitness Strength Training Programs

Our programs are designed to help golfers enhance their performance on the course through specialized strength, mobility, and power training. Incorporating Ratings of Perceived Exertion (RPE) into our programs can take your training to the next level by optimizing effort and ensuring targeted results. Here's how RPE can be effectively integrated into your golf-focused strength training routine:


1. Customized Strength Training: In CWG Fitness programs, strength training is tailored to the specific needs of golfers. When performing exercises such as squats, deadlifts, and rotational movements, pay attention to your RPE. RPE targets are now prescribed in our workouts for you to gauge how hard to push and when. This way of measuring intensity should challenge your muscles without sacrificing proper form, aligning with the principle of functional strength that's crucial for a powerful golf swing.


2. Muscle Engagement and Control: RPE can guide you in activating the right muscles during each movement. For instance, during exercises that target the core and rotational muscles essential for an efficient swing, aim for an RPE of 8. This indicates that you're working at an intensity where you can feel those muscles engaging, leading to better control and coordination on the golf course.


3. Periodization and Progression: Just as your golf game evolves, so should your strength training. RPE can serve as a guide when adjusting the intensity of your workouts throughout different phases of your training program. During the strength-building phase, for example, if you strive for an RPE of 7-8 and gradually increase your resistance, ideally you should be able to maintain that RPE of 7-8 at a higher load.


4. Injury Prevention and Recovery: Listening to your body's RPE can prevent injuries and promote recovery. If an exercise feels too strenuous and your RPE rises to 9 or 10, consider scaling back to avoid straining muscles or joints. On the other hand, an RPE of 5-6 might be suitable for recovery workouts, where you focus on flexibility and range of motion, promoting overall joint health.


5. Integrating Cardiovascular Conditioning: Golf requires cardiovascular endurance for maintaining focus and performance throughout a round. If you are incorporating cardiovascular conditioning, such as jogging or cycling, we recommend to aim for an RPE of 5-6, allowing you to build endurance without excessive fatigue that could impact your strength training sessions.


Ratings of Perceived Exertion (RPE) are a valuable tool in CWG Fitness training programs. By using RPE to guide your efforts, you can tailor your workouts to the specific demands of golf, enhancing your functional strength, muscle engagement, and overall performance on the course. Whether you're working on swing-enhancing movements or building foundational strength, RPE ensures that your training aligns with your goals, optimizes results, and keeps you on the path to golfing success.


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