Many of you are feeling the pain setting new 10 rep maxes in the main lifts this week. 10 rep maxes hold a special place in many peoples minds usually reserved for things like stepping on legos barefoot or a swift kick in the nether regions. While these reps are hard and certainly taxing, they stimulate growth or the raw increase in the number of muscle fibers available for use. These beautifully painful types of development are called hypertrophy. Hypertrophy is essential but has to be prescribed and dosed appropriately.

Over the next cycle we will be using an amazing method call the Autoregulatory Progressive Resistance Exercise (APRE) protocol. The research behind APRE was initiated decades ago and is the culmination of years of research reflection.

*You can find more about the history and research behind APRE as well as various established APRE protocols here.

The beauty of this program is that it pairs the continuity of a linear progression (making small improvements weekly) paired with a daily adjustment to get the most out of your training. These adjustments work not only for progression but for regression. What does this mean?

We’ve all been there, we limp into a training session with the weight of the world on our shoulders. You are low on sleep, under or poorly fed, and just worn out. The APRE protocol will allow you to adjust for that days energy levels in real-time to still achieve the most our of your training session.

This is not an excuse to let training or preparation fall by the way side, but it’s a realization that none of use here are professional athletes with the sole task of training in a given day. Again, the beauty of this program is that it applies to an elite athlete just as it does a regular Joe. The daily adjustments inside of the program push your limits, on that day, at that moment.

Below is how it will work:

You will only be performing 5 total sets. But each week you will be attempting to beat your previous 10, 6, or 3 rep max (these rep counts will adjust as the cycle progresses).


Table 1. The APRE Routines. Mann,B. THE APRE: The Scientifically Proven Fastest Way to Get Strong, 2nd edition


We will apply these rep schemes each week. The 4th working set has an adjusted weight addition or subtraction depending on how many reps you achieved in your “test” set (working set 3). Using the table below, which we will provide weekly, you will perform the 4th working set as prescribed in the table

Table 2. The APRE Adjustments. Mann,B. THE APRE: The Scientifically Proven Fastest Way to Get Strong, 2nd edition


You can see the variability dependent on your performance for that day. The number of reps completed in the third set determines the weight used in the fourth set, and the numbers of reps completed in the fourth set determines the amount of weight to be used in the third set the following week. You will use the second chart for all weight determinations.

Again, the purpose of the off-season is to get stronger, provide a wide base of endurance and continue on the road of movement perfection. The APRE works wonders but there will be ups and downs. There will be days you figuratively step on the lego, trip over your own feet, and no matter how bad you kick and scream you won’t PR… but that’s ok! In the end we are confident this auto regulatory program will provide you with the flexibility and measured stress to stimulate true adaptation and strength development.