Borg’s scales in strength training; from theory to practice in young and older adults
Applied Physiology, Nutrition, and Metabolism, 10.1139/h11-078
This study is the first to apply Borg’s psychophysical equation to measuring responses to strength training with weights machines. Theoretical constructs of Borg’s scales were assessed in younger and older adults to estimate the appropriate load and number of repetitions required to meet recommended practice guidelines. A younger group (YG; 20 males, 20 females; aged 19–38 years) and older group (OG; 13 males, 13 females; aged 50–75 years) participated in 3 experiments. Experiment 1: YG performed 2-repetitions of incremented loads during triceps–elbow extensions and knee extensions to level 7 on Borg’s CR10 Scale. Experiment 2: YG (n = 16) then performed 12-repetitions at the loads from experiement 1 that elicited CR10 ratings 1.5, 3.0, and 5.0. Experiment 3: OG performed 15-repetitions of “lat-pull” and leg press at 15-repetition maximum (RM) load. In experiments 2 and 3, CR10 or Borg RPE were measured every 2 repetitions. Experiment 1 revealed classic psychophysical response growth exponents between 1.1 and 1.8, which were greater in arms than legs (p < 0.001) and in females (p < 0.001). Theoretical estimates of 1RM were derived from the growth curves for the weights eliciting CR10 ratings of 1.5, 3, and 5. CR10 ratings of 3 to 6 fell within estimates of 40%–70% 1RM. Experiments 2 and 3 revealed, for constant load exercise “over time” (12 and 15 repetitions) from an initial CR10 rating of 4 to 6, a linear increase of 1 scale point for every 3 to 4 repetitions. In conclusion, Borg’s equation has been used to set theoretical estimates of a %1RM. Relevant to current practice guidelines was the ability to set appropriate loads in relation to performing recommended numbers of repetitions (e.g., if the CR10 rating is >6 after 2 repetitions, the weight is likely be too heavy to complete 12 to 15 repetitions).