Nov 8, 2017
Understanding APRE, Part 2
Dr. Bryan Mann

In a blog last week, we covered the basics of Autoregulatory Progressive Resistance Exercise (APRE), which you can read here. Now, let’s discuss how to implement it into a training regimen. The APRE is best started when athletes are coming off of a layoff because it’s a great way to ramp back up to previous levels. It allows each athlete to move at an individualized pace, not a prescribed pace that may be too fast or too slow.

The APRE is most effective when used in small blocks within a typical periodization plan. The periodization schemes using the APRE are actually quite simple. Most traditional programs involve a hypertrophy phase, a strength phase, and a strength/power phase. To convert this to APRE, simply replace all hypertrophy weeks with APRE 10, all strength weeks with APRE 6, and all strength/power weeks with APRE 3.

However, this is not the only way APRE can be implemented. Shorter programs aimed at building strength are also doable. I’ve had success using a five-week model before. Weeks one through three utilized APRE 6 and week four followed APRE 3. Then, we tested in week five to see our results.

In terms of what movements to use for APRE, it can be applied to any exercise that is important to a specific sport or activity. Yet, it’s not recommended to do more than one or two exercises per session or four to six total exercises per week using APRE. The reason is because this program takes a lot of time and energy to do. Completing too many exercises with APRE leads to overtraining in a very short amount of time, likely due to the intensity of the protocol.

Below is a sample three-week squat progression using the APRE protocol. For this example, the athlete is performing the APRE 6 with an initial estimated 6RM of 300 pounds.

Week 1

Set 1: 10 reps at 150 pounds

Set 2: 6 reps at 225 pounds

Set 3: Maximal reps at 300 pounds

We are in the first week of the block after a layoff, and we have chosen a light starting weight. As such, the athlete does 13 repetitions. After consulting the adjustment chart shown in Figure 2 of the main article, the load is increased 15 pounds.

Set 4: Maximal reps at 315 pounds

The athlete performs 13 repetitions. However, the last two repetitions use improper form, so they are disregarded, and we go off of 11 repetitions for the adjustment. Week two will use a RM of 325 pounds as a result of the set four performance.

Week 2

Set 1: 10 reps at 165 pounds

Set 2: 6 reps at 240 pounds

Set 3: Maximal reps at 325 pounds

The athlete does 13 repetitions at this load. Consulting the adjustment chart, an increase of 15 pounds is warranted.

Set 4: Maximal reps at 340 pounds

The athlete is in a rush and doesn’t rest long enough between sets. They only achieve five repetitions, indicating that this load should remain as the RM for the next week.

Week 3

Set 1: 10 reps at 170 pounds

Set 2: 6 reps at 255 pounds

Set 3: Maximal reps at 340 pounds

The athlete achieves 13 repetitions, but only 10 are good. Consulting the adjustment chart indicates a recommended load increase of 10 pounds.

Set 4: Maximal reps at 350 pounds

The athlete achieves six repetitions. Since this number is the goal of the APRE 6 protocol, this demonstrates that the athlete has reached a desired weight range to elicit adaptation.

Bryan Mann, PhD, CSCS, SCCC, is Assistant Professor of Physical Therapy, Director of Research for the Human Performance Institute, and Director of Applied Research for Strength and Conditioning at the University of Missouri.

Shop see all »

75 Applewood Drive, Suite A
P.O. Box 128
Sparta, MI 49345
website development by deyo designs
Interested in receiving the print or digital edition of Training & Conditioning?

Subscribe Today »

Be sure to check out our sister sites: