Reactive Training Manual

In this article, I’m going to give you a quick breakdown of the lifting program I currently use in my training: The Reactive Training Manual by Michael Tuchscherer.



General Information About the Reactive Training Manual

The book outlines a gradually changing approach to training for powerlifting: From slightly complicated to very complicated. It was designed with intermediate to advanced lifters in mind and is specifically geared toward powerlifting. I personally believe it can be utilized for general recreational lifting as well with a few minor tweaks.

The primary focus of the book is to give you an introduction to calculated auto-regulation using rate of perceived exertion (RPE) as the basic foundation for this. RPE is a scale of 1-10 to rate the difficulty of a particular set. The rating system is then utilized to auto-regulate your training along with other methods discussed in the book.

A secondary – but still extremely important – aspect of training discussed in the Reactive Training Manual is block periodization. The book applies the concepts of traditional block periodization to powerlifting. At first, the blocks are very simple (intensity and volume blocks are used), but become more complicated and targeted toward specific qualities as time goes on and the athlete becomes more advanced.


A few other things discussed in the book: (This list is by no means complete. If I have sparked your interest, read the book.)

– How frequency, volume and intensity can be manipulated in a calculated fashion.

– How to manage fatigue with various methods.

– Setting goals and personal records.

– How to track progress properly.


How I Apply Reactive Training to My Workout Routine

I have started to utilize a lot of the methods discussed in Mike Tuchscherer’s book in my own training. My workout template is not exactly like the one described in the book, primarily due to the shoulder injury I’m still rehabbing from to get back to 100%, but I use the intensity and volume blocks, the RPE scale to auto-regulate my training, and also the basic approach to fatigue management explained in the book.

So far I really like it. With auto-regulation, you take what the training session gives you without feeling obligated to hit certain numbers. With most other lifting programs, you target percentages of your 1 repetition maximum or a training maximum and I have found this to have negative effects on how fatigue accumulates. Especially when you’re having an ‘off’ day and you feel like you need to hit the prescribed numbers, sometimes this can be overly taxing without much benefit at best… and lead to an injury at worst.


I hope this write-up gave you a rough idea of what the Reactive Training Manual is about. I’ll leave it up to you to figure out if it’s something you want to incorporate into your own training.