Exercise intensity and validity of the ratings of perceived exertion (Borg and OMNI scales) in an indoor cycling session

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Jose M. Muyor

The purpose of the study was: 1) to determine the intensity of an indoor cycling session; 2) to know the correlation between the rating of perceived exertion (RPE) scales (Borg and OMNI) and % heart rate reserve (%HRR) with categories; and 3) to evaluate the validity of RPE scales (Borg and OMNI) with respect to the heart rate (HR) and %HRR. A total of fifty-three subjects, 25 males and 28 females (ages: 28.79 ± 6.04 years; body height: 1.71 ± 0.09 m; body mass: 69.59 ± 13.69 kg) were recruited from a private fitness club. All subjects performed the same predesigned indoor cycling session with a total duration of 50 minutes. During the experimental trial, the HR was recorded every 5 s. The Borg 6-20 RPE and OMNI 0-10 scales were used to assess perceived exertion in each phase. The average HR in the cardiovascular phase was 152.24 ± 14.11 b•min-1, the %HRR was 80.62 ± 7.10; and the overall RPE (Borg and OMNI scales) was 14.94 ± 1.11 and 7.18 ± 0.79 points, respectively. The correlation between an average HR and %HRR with Borg and OMNI scales was lower than r = 0.4 (p < 0.05). The correlation value between the Borg and the OMNI RPE scales was r = 0.82 (p < 0.001). It can be concluded that indoor cycling elicits effort of high intensity which could be inappropriate for some participants. The Borg and OMNI scales showed a low validity to quantify the intensity performed in indoor cycling sessions. It indicates the necessity to control the intensity of effort with other instruments to improve efficacy and decrease the risk of overload in this activity.
DOI: 10.2478/hukin-2013-0072
Key words
Spinning®, wellness, aerobic, effort, cardiovascular, fitness

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