PDA

View Full Version : Using Perceived Exertion to Measure Metcon Improvement


Alex Bond
10-14-2009, 11:59 AM
So generally when measuring improvement in a metcon, most people consider one of three factors - the weight moved, the number of reps done, or the time it takes to do them. I was thinking of adding a 4th: how hard was it?

Here's where I'm coming from - I generally lift Mon-Tues-Wed-Fri and do a metcon on Saturday. I follow all the right rules with the metcon - short time period, use implements, low skill movements, etc. I really only do it to keep my conditioning at the level where I won't get embarrassed by getting gassed playing a game of frisbee with friends or walking quickly up stairs or whatever. Since my #1 priority with the metcon is to not interfere with my recovery over the weekend and to make exerting myself easier, I was thinking of measuring progress through perceived exertion.

Here's what I'm thinking: I choose three or so simple metcons: 10 rounds of 10 KB swings, 10 pushups type things. I set a target time for completion. Then, I complete the workout in the target time, with my goal being as "not out of breath" as possible - sort of like the Rating of Perceived Exertion scale sometimes used with aerobic exercise, and trying to minimize Perceived Exertion. It seems like if you do the same workout twice, and the second time it was easier, you got fitter in between.

Obviously, every so often the weight/reps/target time would have to be changed to make the workout more difficult, to drive adaption, but since I'm not trying to adapt a whole lot to the stresses of metcons, this wouldn't need to happen that often. It seems like this system might work well for someone whose conditioning goals are: don't let it get in the way of other training, and don't get out of breath jogging a block to catch a bus.

I was wondering what the forum's thoughts were on this.

Martin Bonn
10-14-2009, 02:13 PM
i think that s fine, but it s quite a subjective scale and much will depend on how you feel on the day. e.g. i m a bit ill atm (cold) and doing cleans with 80 felt hard tonight, usually, this is a warm up weight.
but in principle it s ok to measure like this, esp. since you are not after massively improving your metcon abilities.

Garrett Smith
10-14-2009, 04:25 PM
Another way of working it would be to set a RPE that you want to reach beforehand (like a 7 out of 10). Then your effort would self-regulate, your time workout to workout (assuming it had improved) would then be a reflection of a theoretically improved fitness level.

At the very least, you'll only use as much energy/effort as you want, which is very helpful for rationing out your energy for other training.

Steven Low
10-14-2009, 06:08 PM
I like Garrett's alternative better if you're going to do it that way.

Patrick Donnelly
10-15-2009, 10:13 PM
... and do a metcon on Saturday... I really only do it to keep my conditioning at the level where I won't get embarrassed by getting gassed playing a game of frisbee... Since my #1 priority with the metcon is to not interfere with my recovery over the weekend and to make exerting myself easier, I was thinking of measuring progress through perceived exertion...

Here's what I'm thinking: I choose three or so simple metcons: 10 rounds of 10 KB swings, 10 pushups type things. I set a target time for completion. Then...

If your goal with cardio is to simply not get winded walking the stairs, then do as much cardio as you need to walk the stairs without getting winded. Simple. You don't have to make progress beyond that - that's not a goal of yours. Creating three separate arbitrary workouts to measure progress in something you don't need or want to progress in seems rather silly. Generally, having much more than three goals in any given workout program is enough to distract a person from making any progress too, even when three of those goals are closely related.


If you must make things hard on yourself, Garrett has the right idea. The RPE is a good way to measure progress/intensity load, all other things being equal. With lifting, this is simple, since the only other factors to include really are the weight lifted and the number of reps. When you start doing this for cardio, there are too many factors to make RPE the deciding one. Better to make it one of the predetermined factors so you can test yourself while putting a cap on the intensity. No point in working yourself to exhaustion for the sake of testing that you have the cardiovascular ability to walk the stairs.

Dave Van Skike
10-15-2009, 10:22 PM
So generally when measuring improvement in a metcon, most people consider one of three factors - the weight moved, the number of reps done, or the time it takes to do them. I was thinking of adding a 4th: how hard was it?

Here's where I'm coming from - I generally lift Mon-Tues-Wed-Fri and do a metcon on Saturday. I follow all the right rules with the metcon - short time period, use implements, low skill movements, etc. I really only do it to keep my conditioning at the level where I won't get embarrassed by getting gassed playing a game of frisbee with friends or walking quickly up stairs or whatever. Since my #1 priority with the metcon is to not interfere with my recovery over the weekend and to make exerting myself easier, I was thinking of measuring progress through perceived exertion.

Here's what I'm thinking: I choose three or so simple metcons: 10 rounds of 10 KB swings, 10 pushups type things. I set a target time for completion. Then, I complete the workout in the target time, with my goal being as "not out of breath" as possible - sort of like the Rating of Perceived Exertion scale sometimes used with aerobic exercise, and trying to minimize Perceived Exertion. It seems like if you do the same workout twice, and the second time it was easier, you got fitter in between.

Obviously, every so often the weight/reps/target time would have to be changed to make the workout more difficult, to drive adaption, but since I'm not trying to adapt a whole lot to the stresses of metcons, this wouldn't need to happen that often. It seems like this system might work well for someone whose conditioning goals are: don't let it get in the way of other training, and don't get out of breath jogging a block to catch a bus.

I was wondering what the forum's thoughts were on this.


have you read mike tuscherer's book? I haven't but I understand he lays out a pretty good system for using RPE in program design.

Garrett Smith
10-16-2009, 05:12 AM
Or, you could just look up the AKC Fitness Program and get all of your cardio/capacity workouts in with kettlebells, maybe a little rowing.

That's what I'm going to be doing in my next phase...

Patrick Donnelly
10-16-2009, 08:11 AM
Or, you could just look up the AKC Fitness Program and get all of your cardio/capacity workouts in with kettlebells, maybe a little rowing.

That's what I'm going to be doing in my next phase...
That's overkill if your cardio goal is to just be able to play frisbee or walk the stairs.

(Not to say it is with you, but you're recommending it to Alex, with whom it is.)

Brandon Oto
10-17-2009, 04:01 PM
I always ranked my conditioning in my log with two numbers, from 0 to 10: Difficulty and Intensity.

Difficulty is how muscularly hard it was. Intensity is how metabolically hard.

A max press would be high for difficulty and low for intensity. A max 400m sprint would be high for intensity and low for difficulty.

Naturally numbers were pretty much always between, oh, 8 and 10, so you see a lot of 9.799 and shit like that. Whatever. The useful application is just to be able to compare.

I don't do this anymore, it's only especially helpful if you're doing a lot of metcon.