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The RPE Scale designed for Climber's Strength Training

Here at The Climb Clinic, we often utilize the RPE (Rating of Perceived Exertion) Scale to make our workouts more effective and personalized [1,2]. This tool helps us gauge the intensity of our physical activities, whether it's climbing or strength training. No need for complicated measurements – the RPE Scale is all about tuning into our bodies and making informed decisions for better results.

The RPE scale runs from 0-10, and each number corresponds with a varying level of perceived exertion. An easy way to use our RPE scale is to think about how many more times you could replicate the same exercise prior to failure at the end of your set. Keep in mind this is subjective, and these numbers may vary depending on other factors like sleep, sickness, and/or accumulated fatigue.

Here's how you can use the RPE Scale to optimize your climbing and strength training sessions:

1. Understand the RPE Scale: It's simple; the scale ranges from 0 to 10, with each number representing a different level of perceived exertion. Zero means no effort at all, while 10 indicates giving it your absolute maximum.

2. Relate RPE to Replication Potential: As climbers and strength enthusiasts, we want to gauge our workouts by thinking about how many more times we could replicate a specific exercise before reaching failure. It helps us understand our limits and perceived exertion.

3. Consider Individual Factors: We know climbing and training performance can be affected by various factors like sleep quality, sickness, or accumulated fatigue. So, when using the RPE Scale, we take these elements into account for a more accurate assessment.

4. Monitor Progress: Relying on the RPE scale allows you to monitor your exercise intensity without the need for complex physiological measurements like heart rate or lactate threshold. Regularly track your RPE ratings to see how your perceived effort changes over time.

5. Enhance Response to Training: By listening to our bodies and adjusting our training intensity based on RPE, we can optimize our response to the training. This balanced approach keeps us motivated, reduces the risk of injuries, and fosters continuous improvement.

Incorporate the RPE Scale into your next climbing and strength training routine to make your workouts more effective and tailored to your individual needs. By understanding your perceived exertion levels and making necessary adjustments, you'll be able to train smarter, minimize the risk of injuries, and see significant progress in your climbing and strength performance. Remember, the key is finding that sweet spot between challenge and recovery to reach your fitness goals! If you have any questions or want help building your training plan with the RPE Scale, reach out to us by emailing!

The Rate of Perceived Exertion
The Climb Clinic scale for Rate of Perceived Exertion (RPE) to be used while strength training.

1. Lea, J.W. et al. (2022) ‘Convergent validity of ratings of perceived exertion during resistance exercise in healthy participants: A systematic review and meta-analysis’, Sports Medicine - Open, 8(1). doi:10.1186/s40798-021-00386-8.


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