New Approach in Assessing Core Muscle Endurance Using Ratings of Perceived Exertion

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George, JD, Tolley, JR, Vehrs, PR, Reece, JD, Akay, MF, and Cambridge, EDJ. New approach in assessing core muscle endurance using ratings of perceived exertion. J Strength Cond Res 32(4): 1081–1088, 2018—This study sought to develop regression models to estimate maximal endurance time using data from 4 core muscle endurance tests. Eighty healthy university students (age: 22.7 ± 1.9 years) performed the plank, right side-bridge, left side-bridge, and back extension tests in a random order. Participants were instructed to hold each static position for a maximal endurance time, while maintaining proper form, and then rest for 5 minutes between tests. A test administrator recorded participants' ratings of perceived exertion (RPE; a modified 10-point scale) every 5 seconds. Based on regression analysis, the elapsed time to reach an RPE of 8 (RPE8) exhibited statistical significance (p < 0.0001) and the highest accuracy as compared with lower RPE values. The following univariate regression models were generated to estimate maximal endurance time across the 4 tests: plank (r = 0.94; standard error of estimate [SEE] = 17.6 seconds; n = 77) = 23.9 + (1.110 × RPE8); right side-bridge (r = 0.92; SEE = 11.4 seconds; n = 80) = 18.5 + (1.022 × RPE8); left side-bridge (r = 0.93; SEE = 10.8 seconds; n = 80) = 16.8 + (1.062 × RPE8); and back extension (r = 0.93; SEE = 14.2 seconds; n = 79) = 21.5 + (1.027 × RPE8). These results suggest that submaximal protocols based on elapsed time to reach RPE8 provide strength and conditioning professionals relatively accurate univariate regression equation estimates of maximal core muscle endurance time and offer a viable submaximal alternative to maximal capacity testing when time efficiency, participant safety, or certain educational objectives may be a priority.

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