Mike Tuchscherer

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Update 923 (Reps in Reserve): Build Muscle Faster With This Tip From the First US Male Powerlifter to Win Gold at the World Games

Mike Tuchscherer

Mike Tuchscherer

Mike Tuchscherer is somewhat of a legend in powerlifting circles. In 2009, he became the first male in USA Powerlifting history to win a gold medal at the World Games. He’s also won 2 bronze and 3 silver medals, setting (drug-tested) squat and deadlift world records multiple times.

He has coached over a dozen competitors at the world championships, a score of national champions, and multiple world record holders.

In 2008, Mike Tuchscherer published the Reactive Training Manual. In this book, he laid out a new, unique approach to training. That approach has since stood the test of time. It’s helped Mike and his lifters break world records. It’s been adopted by other coaches. And it’s even been studied by exercise scientists (Hackett et al. 2012; Helms et al. 2016; Zourdos et al. 2016; Helms et al. 2017a; Helms et al. 2017b; Hackett et al. 2017; Helms 2017; Helms et al. 2018; Helms et al. 2018b).

The approach is based on “reps in reserve”, which is “basically a measure of difficulty for the previous set” (Tuchscherer, 2017).

To know how many reps you have in reserve, when you finish a set, ask yourself: “Could I have done more reps?”

  • If you could have done 1 more reps, your “reps in reserve” was 1
  • If you could have done 2 more reps, your “reps in reserve” was 2
  • If you could have done 3 more reps, your “reps in reserve” was 3
  • And so on…

By measuring reps in reserve, you can adjust your training based on how hard your sets were. For example, if you finish a set with 3 reps in reserve, you might consider your set was too easy. So, on your next set, you’ll add weight to the bar. In Mike’s words:

[It] allows us to auto-regulate the load. That is to say it lets the load adjust to fit your performance. If you’re getting stronger faster than we expected, we can take advantage of it by increasing the load. If you’re having a bad day, we can adjust the weights down to compensate.

There are many ways to apply reps in reserve, and the specifics can get quite complex. To simplify, Dr. Muscle now automates all of this for you. If your sets are easy and you have many reps in reserve, Dr. Muscle will push you harder. If your sets are hard and you have zero reps in reserve, Dr. Muscle won’t increase your weight at all.

This proven system has created world champions, and now it’s available to you with just a few taps. The update is in beta on Android and under review by Apple (give it 1-2 days).

Thanks for your support and patience as we improve the app. Really appreciate the help from forward-thinking lifters like yourself.

Carl Juneau, PhD

PS. New to Dr. Muscle? It’s a phone app that helps you build muscle faster by lifting weights using science and the best tricks of the world’s top trainers. Click here to sign up.

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