Dynamics of perceived exertion in constant-power cycling: Time- and workload-dependent thresholds

Natalia Balague, Robert Hristovski, Sergi GarcÄa, Cecilia Aguirre, Pablo Vazquez, Selen Razon, Gershon Tenenbaum

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Purpose: The purpose of this study was to test the dynamics of perceived exertion shifts (PES) as a function of time and workload during constant-power cycling. Method: Fifty-two participants assigned to 4 groups performed a cycling task at 4 different constant workloads corresponding to their individual rates of perceived exertion (RPEs = 13, 15, 17, and 19, respectively). PES ('increased'decreased perceptions) without magnitude were reported when they occurred. PES 'ncreased' percentages in different nonoverlapping temporal windows and for each workload were calculated to study the time- and workload-dependent relations, respectively. Results: A fluctuating PES dynamic characterized the cycling at RPE- 13 and RPE-15. In contrast, a nonfluctuating PES dynamic characterized the cycling at RPE- 17 and RPE-19. A time-dependent PES threshold, manifested as a switch from PES fluctuating to nonfluctuating dynamics, emerged in the RPE-15 condition near volitional exhaustion. A workload-dependent PES threshold occurred from RPE-15 to RPE-17. Conclusions: Time- and workload-dependent thresholds were revealed studying the PES dynamics in constant cycling. Monitoring PES can complement or provide an alternative to the use of physiological measures for an accurate control of training workloads.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)371-378
Number of pages8
JournalResearch Quarterly for Exercise and Sport
Issue number4
StatePublished - 2015
Externally publishedYes


  • Dynamical systems
  • Fluctuating dynamics
  • Perceived effort shifts
  • Voluntary exhaustion

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Physical Therapy, Sports Therapy and Rehabilitation
  • Orthopedics and Sports Medicine
  • Nephrology


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