Effect of Training Session Intensity Distribution on Session-RPE in Soccer Players

Fanchini, M., Ghielmetti, R., Coutts, A.J., Schena, F.

Purpose: The aims of this study were to examine the effect of different exercise intensity distributions within a training session on the session-RPE and to examine the timing of measure on the rating.

Methods: Nineteen junior players (age 16 ± 1 years, height 173 ± 5 cm, body mass 64 ± 6 kg) from a Swiss soccer team were involved in the study. Percentage of heart rate max (%HR) and rating of perceived exertion (RPE, Borg CR100©) were collected in four standardized training sessions (conditions). Total quality of recovery scale (TQR) and Visual Analogue Scale (VAS) for pain of lower limbs were used to control for the effect of pre-training fatigue. Every session consisted of three 20-min blocks of different intensities (i.e., low-moderate-high) performed in a random order. RPE was collected after every block (RPE5), immediately after the session (RPE-end), and 30 min after the session (RPE30).

Results: RPE5 of each block were different depending on the distribution sequence (p < 0.0001). RPE-end, TQR, and VAS values were not different between conditions (p = 0.57, p = 0.55, and p = 0.96, respectively). The %HR was significantly different between conditions (p = 0.008), with condition-3 higher than condition-2 (74.1 vs. 70.2%, p = 0.02). Edward’s training loads were not significantly different between conditions (p = 0.09). RPE30 was not different compared to RPE-end (p > 0.05).

Conclusions: The present results show that coaches can design training sessions without concern about the influence of the within-session distribution of exercise intensity on session-RPE and that RPE can be collected at the end of the session or 30 min later.

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