Coutts AJ1, Rampinini E2, Marcora SM3, Castagna C4, Impellizzeri FM2

1, School of Leisure, Sport and Tourism, University of Technology, Sydney, Australia;2, Human Performance Laboratory, Mapei Sport Research Center, Castellanza (VA), Italy;3, School of Sport, Health, and Exercise Sciences, University of Wales-Bangor,Bangor, United Kingdom;4, School of Sport and Exercise Sciences, Faculty of Medicine and Surgery, University of Rome Tor Vergata, Rome, Italy

The rating of perceived exertion (RPE) could be a practical measure of global exercise intensity in team sports. The purpose of this study was to examine the relationship between heart rate (%HRpeak) and blood lactate ([BLa]) measures of exercise intensity with each player’s RPE during soccer-specific aerobic exercises. Mean individual %HR(peak), ([BLa]) and RPE (Borg’s CR 10-scale) were recorded from 20 amateur soccer players from 67 soccer-specific small-sided games training sessions over an entire competitive season. The small-sided games were performed in three 4min bouts separated with 3min recovery on various sized pitches and involved 3-, 4-, 5-, or 6-players on each side. A stepwise linear multiple regression was used to determine a predictive equation to estimate global RPE for small-sided games from [BLa] and %HRpeak. Partial correlation coefficients were also calculated to assess the relationship between RPE, [BLa] and %HRpeak. Stepwise multiple regression analysis revealed that 43.1% of the adjusted variance in RPE could be explained by HR alone. The addition of [BLa] data to the prediction equation allowed for 57.8% of the adjusted variance in RPE to be predicted (Y=-9.49-0.152 %HRpeak+1.82 [BLa], p<0.001). These results show that the combination of [BLa] and %HRpeak measures during small-sided games is better related to RPE than either %HRpeak or [BLa] measures alone. These results provide further support the use of RPE as a measure of global exercise intensity in soccer.

J Sci Med Sport. 2009 Jan;12(1):79-84.