Can you resend my download link for the books?
Enter the email address you used at checkout to get fresh download links here.
(This might be your Paypal or Stripe checkout address.)
Please be sure to check your spam folder after.
If you have any issues, please email: firstname.lastname@example.org and put “Can’t redownload” in the subject line.
I purchased the first editions but didn't receive the second edition update. How do I get that?
Just use the link above.
Note: On the 30th of December 2018, we gave away the new editions early as a special thank you to our 14,000+ first edition set buyers.
This applies only to the 95% of people who bought the 2-book set as part of our initial “free lifetime updates” offer. Those who bought just one book will need to purchase the second editions. There is no upgrade offer.
Where can I purchase physical copies?
English language physical copies are available on Amazon in the following country stores: USA, Canada, UK, Germany, France, Spain, Italy, and Japan.
Note: If you click and find that it’s not available in your country it may be possible to go to one of those local country sites to order. (Apologies for any inconvenience. These are all the stores we were able to make them available in.)
Can I get a discount on the physical copies if I purchased digital copies?
No, we are not able to give discounts to those that have digital copies, nor vice versa.
Who are the books written for?
These books have been written with physique athletes, strength athletes, and those that coach them, primarily in mind. However, the majority of our readers are just regular people, but serious recreational trainees. If you are a novice looking for a comprehensive approach to muscle gain and or fat loss and have some basic information to start, you’ll be good with these. But if you don’t know how to perform basic exercises, and aren’t totally clear on what macros are or have any idea of how to match them to foods, then this won’t be for you just yet.
Does the training book contain sample training programs?
Absolutely. We have six programs for novice, intermediate, and advanced-level bodybuilders and strength-focused athletes. You will see the principles in action and get started quickly.
Does the nutrition book contain any actual example macro plans of real competitors? What about meal plans?
We don’t have a specific athlete’s example of a full prep (for privacy), but we have example calculations based on real people that we’ve worked with. You’ll see many pictures of these individuals throughout the book’s chapters. We’re very proud of them.
What do you mean by, “free future versions, forever”?
Every time we write a new edition of the books, you will receive fresh download links. The 14,000 people that bought the first editions received these second editions 10 days prior to general release on the 25th of December as a Christmas surprise.
Note: this offer only applies to those that buy the digital pair set. Those who buy just the one book will need to purchase any future editions. There is no upgrade offer and this cannot cover any physical editions.
Why offer the money-back guarantee, isn’t that a little unusual for a book?
It is unusual, but here’s the deal: the overwhelming majority of people are decent and honest and don’t abuse offers like this. While we’re confident that you’ll enjoy and get an immense amount of value out of these books, we know that they are not cheap and we want you to feel confident in your purchase. So, if you read them and don’t feel that you got your money’s worth, let us know within 30 days and we’ll give you a full refund.
Are the books fully referenced?
Yes. There are 158 unique references in the training book and 301 unique references in the nutrition book, listed at the end of each of the chapters.
How do these books build on your 2013 and 2015 Youtube video series?
Great question. Consider those videos the cliff notes and highlight-reel version of these books, without the most recent research that has come out since they were originally recorded. So while the books cover the same broad principles as the videos, they go into far greater levels of detail and cover more context and nuance. The books are around 300 pages each.
What's new in the second editions?
The books are heavily updated and there is around 50% more content. We have a couple of pages dedicated to outlining the changes and new content in detail, but I’ll briefly outline what is new.
New Content in the Training Book:
- A “Quick Start” guide to program building,
- How to address weak points,
- The flowchart for when to adjust volume includes other considerations related to recovery, stimulus, and adaptation.
- Volume counting has been simplified, no longer quantified by repetitions per body part, but rather sets per muscle group or movement pattern.
- A flowchart to help you determine when a deload is needed.
- How to gauge progress without testing strength.
- A discussion of blood flow restriction training.
- Setting initial volume by experience level.
- Pairings for rep ranges and proximity to failure with different classes of exercises
- How to modify training while cutting,
- How to incorporate autoregulation,
- Which progression models to pair with different exercises at various stages of your lifting career,
- How to organize a training split.
New Content in the Nutrition Book:
- How to determine whether you should ‘bulk’ or ‘cut’.
- A chapter on making adjustments and measuring progress,
- Ketogenic diets,
- The ins and outs of peak week for physique competitors, and making weight (and changing weight classes) for strength athletes,
- Recovery diet guidelines for physique athletes post-competition,
- A deeper discussion around finding maintenance,
- Energy availability, with signs and symptoms to be wary of,
- Whether tracking caloric intake is necessary initially,
- How to set protein if your body fat is very high,
- A visual chart to help you determine hydration levels,
- Protein digestion as it relates to protein timing,
- Updated supplement recommendations including a new “A, B, C” tiered ranking system,
- Extensive additions on the potential psychological pitfalls of relying too much on external nutrition cues (tracking nutrition and bodyweight) and how to use qualitative approaches guided by satiety, hunger, and habit based methods to avoid them.
Are they available on Kindle?
There will not be Kindle editions. The graphs and training program tables do not lend themselves well to the format.
Are the books available in other languages?
Spanish digital editions (2nd editions) were released May 2019 with physical versions available in Amazon.es from September 2019.
Italian physical versions (2nd editions) were released November 2019.
Portuguese second editions are in the works. First editions are no longer on sale.
Japanese, and Chinese (simplified and traditional) versions are in the works. (Translators have been found and contracts signed.)
We will email our list when we have more details. To get on that list, sign up to Andy’s newsletter by entering your name into the box here.
If you think you might be interested in translation in another language, please see here.
What’s the reason for the change of the training programs from the first to the second editions?
The weight of the evidence suggests 10–20 hard sets per muscle/group or movement is an appropriate volume to prescribe when no foreknowledge of individual needs/tolerance/genetics exist.
Previously, the first edition programs were based on a 12-year old systematic review (Wernbom 2007) that looked at reps per body part, per week vs. the current meta-analyses we have today, based on ‘hard sets’ per body part/movement per week. Thus, in the present programs, there were instances where we decided to reduce the volume as the first edition programs had volume that was too high based on current evidence.
We have brought volume in line such that the novice programs provide a number of sets per movement/muscle group towards the low end of 10-20, intermediate towards the middle, and advanced towards the upper end.
This may or may not be less volume than what you are already doing, what you like to do, what ‘feels’ right or compared to other popular programs or what your favorite athlete or influencer does or suggests. But, unless you are an experienced lifter who knows from well-recorded observations over years what your specific volume needs are, I’d advise at least trying to progress using similar volumes to what we recommend first, before deciding it’s too low.
If you don’t make progress and it’s too easy… fantastic, just do more volume and now you know more about your body’s needs. But in my experience as a coach, it’s just as likely (if not more likely) that you could progress just as well, if not faster, with a lower volume. If that ends up being what happens for you, you also just learned something very valuable; and when you do stall moving forward, you know you’ll easily be able to handle a volume increase to keep progress going as it was an amount you used to (unnecessarily) perform.
Where can I leave feedback?
We value and welcome feedback as that will help us make future editions better. Andy has created a feedback form here.
We believe it’s important to treat everyone fairly. Knowing that answering reader questions would be unsustainable given our other professional commitments, but wanting to help as much as we could, we decided to answer reader questions for 6 months so that we could leave a legacy of answers for our readers.
We have agreed as authors to direct any questions we have about the books here. We aren’t available in email support to answer specific nutrition or training questions.
If you don’t find your answer below, it’s likely because we don’t recommend it or discussing it is outside our scope of expertise.
Thank you for understanding.
Chaz on July 10, 2019 at 2:45 pm
When supplementing with creatine monohydrate, after muscles are fully saturated, would taking a 3-5g dose only after workouts be enough to maintain full saturation? Or would it be advised to continue taking 3-5g every day?
I’ve heard Dr. Helms state that he only doses on workout days alone, so I thought I would clarify on here. Thanks!
Andy Morgan on July 11, 2019 at 7:50 am
Our recommendation is to dose 0.02 g/lb (0.04 g/kg) every day to reach and sustain elevated creatine levels. Any time of day is fine, doesn’t have to be timed with workouts.
John on July 10, 2019 at 1:34 pm
I am curious about the Full body workouts 5-6 days a week that you show us in the frequency table.
When you are aiming for 10 sets / week / muscle group, and do 6 full body workouts per week, you will be spreading the 10 sets across all days and do 1-2 sets per muscle. Is 1 set per day enough?
I understand that at the end of the week, the volume will be the same, however I can’t help but thinking that something like 1 set over 6 days might not be as effective as 3 sets over 2 days for one muscle group.
Is there something to it? Or does it really not matter as long as recovery is good?
Andy Morgan on July 11, 2019 at 7:46 am
I’d agree with you, I don’t think 1 set over 6 days would be as effective as 2 over 3 days or 3 sets over two days. Thus, if you’re a novice lifter (progressing on just 10 sets per week per muscle group) then I don’t think a 6-day routine with the full-body each day is especially suited.
Omar on July 9, 2019 at 11:14 pm
Will the training pyramid help me in programming workout routines to gain strength and muscle for Brazilian jiu jitsu as I compete in it
Andy Morgan on July 11, 2019 at 7:42 am
Yes. The principles are universal.
Jay on July 1, 2019 at 9:22 pm
Just wondering when on a bulking phase and you don’t hit your macros for a orticukar day. Should you then add the extra on to the next day?
How does this work when you don’t hit calories per day on a bulk?
Andy Morgan on July 6, 2019 at 3:07 am
Hi Jay, I wouldn’t, no. Your body won’t be able to use it. Just aim to get more consistent over time.
If you’re chronically under, you won’t grow as planned. The odd day being under isn’t a big deal in the grand scheme of things.
Robin on July 1, 2019 at 3:49 pm
If I buy the books on Amazon am i able to download the E-books for future updates?
Andy Morgan on July 6, 2019 at 3:04 am
No, you’ll need to choose.
Belinda Joy Wilson on July 1, 2019 at 6:30 am
What currency is the website to purchase?
Andy Morgan on July 6, 2019 at 3:03 am
The price is listed in USD.
Vince on June 25, 2019 at 3:21 pm
My question refers to the argument against intentionally pausing at a given point in the motion to improve a sticky point (on page 159).
In my understanding, the book says that a pause does exactly the opposite – the lifter would develop less force when she pauses.
In my opinion, this statement is correct for the first half of the procedure (for the deceleration phase).
However to be moved, the weight has to be accelaratet again after it was stopped. More force is needed for this acceleration compared to a normal repetition if im correct?
(More compared to when the weight is moved through the sticky point at a pretty constant speed).
Do i miss a point here?
Thank you very much for offering such a great support beyond the pure book offering.
Andy Morgan on July 15, 2019 at 1:13 am
Hi Vince, thank you for your patience.
From Eric: “If you want to train to reinitiate the bar moving again at the sticking point, I’d do it with a focus on specificity, and just set pins in the sticking region and then just do the lift from there, like a pin press or squat or block pull.”
Kris on June 3, 2019 at 4:35 am
Question about the Hypertrophy Frequency Matrix for Choosing Splits:
How is Legs/Push/Pull/Full Body a training split with a frequency of 3 for the lats and the biceps?
Lats and biceps are trained only during the Pull and Full Body. Therefore the training frequency is 2.
How is Legs/Push/Pull/Lower/Upper a training split with a frequency of 3 for the lats and the biceps? They are trained only during the Pull and Full Body which is again a frequency of 2.
Am I missing something?
Andy Morgan on June 7, 2019 at 1:00 am
Hi Kris, I think you may have misread the table:
How is Legs/Push/Pull/Full Body a training split with a frequency of 3 for the lats and the biceps?
– There are two full body days: “Legs/Push/Pull/Full/Full“.
How is Legs/Push/Pull/Lower/Upper a training split with a frequency of 3 for the lats and the biceps?
– It’s not, this is in the twice a week frequency column.
Kristiyan Atanasov on June 7, 2019 at 6:02 am
And one more question: what’s the difference between lower session and legs session?
Andy Morgan on July 6, 2019 at 2:58 am
I think we categorized the deadlift as being part of a lower session.
Kristiyan Atanasov on June 21, 2019 at 10:58 am
Well, then the table in my book is wrong! How come?
Could anything else in my book be wrong?
Andy Morgan on July 6, 2019 at 3:02 am
Hi Kristiyan, sorry for the delay in replying. Wasn’t getting notifications for some reason and I just saw this.
Ah, I see the issue now. We made a few small edits in the first weeks after the launch of the second editions based on feedback. You can see a list here. If you’d like the most up to date version please email support (address on this page and in the inside cover of the book) we’ll get that sorted for you.
Vijay on May 30, 2019 at 6:54 am
I’m trying to find my be maintenance calories initially . I’ve gone through a dieting phase and weight has increased by 0.8 kg one day, dropped by 0.8 the next and now increased again by that amount on the third day.
I then read on https://rippedbody.com/finding-calorie-maintenance/ where you say to add back in the calorie deficit based on average weekly weight loss. This was 1.5lbs a week. Equating to me adding 750 calories back in my diet.
I was previous on 150g carbs, 200g protein and 40g fat.
I’m confused now because the calories from the calculation used to work out maintenance using the formula in the ebook is different to when I worked it out using through the rippedbody article.
Just to recap – pre dieting calories 150g carbs. Protein 170 g Fat 40g =1640
Maintenance calories according to formula in nutrition pyramids – 2180. Current body weight approx 57.3kg . Activity multiplier 1.8
calories to add back in using the how much weight loss according on ripped body – 1.5lbs * 500 calories = 750 calories
750 + 1640 (dieting calories) = 2390
Also concerned how much weight is fluctuations; granted it’s been 3 days of assessment and not the advised two/three week period
Appreciate the advice
Andy Morgan on May 31, 2019 at 2:34 am
The maintenance calculation in the book is for people looking to estimate it without any prior data.
You have data, so the article on my site is more relevant in this case. And yes, your weight will fluctuate. Take the average over each week and then compare weeks as I said in the article.
Pete on May 16, 2019 at 10:55 pm
Thank you so much for the amazing books! I wish I had them when I started training decades ago! I noticed the supplement section made no mention of products such as curcumin, glucosamine + chondroitin, ashwaganda. I don’t think the book is meant to be an exhaustive review of supplements but I’m wondering what your opinion is on those products because if there’s no real benefit, I’ll stop wasting my money. Thank you so much
Andy Morgan on May 22, 2019 at 8:46 am
Hi Pete, quite right. We chose to focus on those supplements with a clear benefit (to physique and strength athletes) and briefly list some popular things with no (or little) benefit.
It can’t be considered an exhaustive list as there is too much nuance involved. But for anything you’re wondering out, check out Examine.com. The site is excellent.
Peter Thielen on May 16, 2019 at 12:54 pm
I have a question about page 47 in the strength and muscle pyramid book.
Which way of calculating volume should I use when looking at the starting recommendation in the top of the page.
Because right after a definition is given of sets x reps x load, which makes the calculation weird when the recommendation says: do 2/3 or 3/4 this rep range and the rest in the other (s).
Or am I overthinking this?
ps. I was forced to write this 6 times, because the content gets cleared when an error occurs. Which, you can imagine, is quite annoying. I was eventually forced to use a different tool to write this out…
Andy Morgan on May 22, 2019 at 8:47 am
Hi Peter! Number of sets.
I’ll get a developer to look at the comment issue. Thank you for mentioning it.
Cesare on May 14, 2019 at 11:24 am
hello, I’m writing to you from Italy and, although my English isn’t perfect, I tried to read the book and it’s the best book I’ve read about training (and I’ve read enough about it). I have a question. In the book it is said that when we stall, if we have considered having a good sleep, good nutrition etc .. and we don’t need a deload, it could mean that we need more volume. My question is, do we need more volume or do we need to change the type of progression? or both? Consider a simple linear progression, based on the minimum recommended volume (10 sets per week). Sooner or later we will no longer be able to increase the load, then? change progression? or do I add volume? or both?
Thanks and best regards
Andy Morgan on May 22, 2019 at 8:40 am
Hi Cesare, thank you for the question and for your patience.
Change the type of progression first (How to Keep Progressing as a Novice and Intermediate Trainee) before moving onto considering volume increases (How to Break Training Plateaus).
Santiago on May 9, 2019 at 6:21 pm
Hi Team3DJ. I have a question about the benefits those who buy the nutrition / training ebook bundle have for other languages. I’m planning on buying the English versions, but I’d also love to have the Spanish version available. As far as I know, there will be some benefits to access the other language variants for those who purchased the bundle. What does that mean? Will they be free, or offered with a special discount?
I hope I’ve made myself clear
Andy Morgan on May 12, 2019 at 11:06 pm
For the launch period of the Spanish editions of the books (the first week of May), we negotiated a 50%-off deal with our Spanish translators to offer people who purchased the English language books and wanted to purchase the Spanish ones. We sent an email about this to buyers, and I imagine this is what you are talking about because we have not made this announcement public elsewhere.
We are not able to extend this deadline, nor offer it to people who wish to buy the books in both languages forward of this date.
Other languages, as they become available, will need to be negotiated individually at the time of signing contracts with the translators/promotors/publishers in their respective countries.
So, the choice is between English and Spanish, the former via this site, the latter via the Spanish one in the link above.
Andrew on May 9, 2019 at 11:00 am
I’ve been lifting for a few months and I’m into strength training and powerlifting, so I want to expand my knowledge about it to make my training more efficient, and I was looking at the muscle and strength pyramid books, and I want to know if these books are the right ones to me and to my level? Basically what I want to learn is to write efficient programs to myself, long term programs through all cycles arriving to a meet prep, choose the right accessories to get stronger at the 3 main lifts, and other things I need to know about powerlifting training, periodization… and of course nutrition, when to cut when to bulk… Now I’m kinda familiar with the basics, I know about RPE scale, basics of volume, intensity, basic programming…etc.
So I’d like to hear from you! What to expect from the books and will they be the right ones for my level so I can boost my workouts and my nutrition?
Thanks in advance.
Andy Morgan on May 12, 2019 at 11:08 pm
Yes. 100%, no doubt. But don’t take my word for it, check out the reader testimonials.
Mohamad on May 6, 2019 at 10:53 pm
Hello guys! Thank you for these amazing books. I have a question regarding mini cuts. With a large deficit (900 KCal) reps are dropping. Should we still try to progress using wave loading or should we try to maintain reps, sets and loads as those of the first week of a mesocycle (meaning highest end of rep range and keeping same nb of sets during the whole mini cut).
Andy Morgan on May 9, 2019 at 6:20 am
There’s no “should” here, but the higher the deficit and the longer your training experience, the harder you can expect progress during a cut of any kind to be. Mini cuts are no exception.
connor lively on May 5, 2019 at 8:01 pm
hello these books are truly amazing, but do you mind diving into a bit more depth about the multipliers for activity?
Andy Morgan on May 5, 2019 at 10:57 pm
You’re concerned that the descriptions aren’t sufficient enough for you to choose between them and you’re worried about getting it ‘wrong’, right?
This may seem counter-intuitive but don’t worry about it. Go with what your gut says after reading through the descriptions. If you think you’re halfway between two, split the difference. The calculations are an estimation using equations which give estimations. The key is to track things and adjust based on how you progress. You’ll see we have an adjustments section later in the book.
Shaneeta on May 2, 2019 at 8:22 pm
I really want to read the strength and nutrition pyramid books. How’s do I go about buying the link to the second edition in pdf?
Andy Morgan on May 5, 2019 at 10:59 pm
Go to the homepage and click the big green button that says BUY BOTH NOW.
Tim on May 1, 2019 at 5:27 pm
In the sample programs, the periodization for advanced lifters (with accumulation and intensification blocks) is far more complex than for intermediate ones. But the section on programming says it’s not clear which periodization schemes are actually better. And the flow chart on progressing mainly looks at manipulating volume as opposed to periodization.
So is it really beneficial for an advanced lifter to use more complex periodization and incorporate these extra blocks, etc? Or could you make similar progress with the simpler 3 weeks on, 1 week deload intermediate model while increasing volume when appropriate?
Andy Morgan on May 5, 2019 at 11:01 pm
There will be a point where it likely is, yes. But only use as much complication as is needed.
Seb on April 23, 2019 at 8:33 am
I have 2 years of consistent training experience, but no knowledge at all on programming. Is this the right book for me to learn how to program for myself?
Andy Morgan on April 23, 2019 at 10:21 pm
Yup. This was written for guys like yourself, Seb.
Javier on April 23, 2019 at 4:06 am
i bought your 2 books if series The Muscle & Strength Pyramid, Andrés are really incredible. what a good work. thanks.
I have a very specific question that i could not answer myself after the reading. I’m preparing my debut as a natural bodybuilder just in 4 weeks. I’m going well but I need to be in a category with a low weight. Now i’m almost there, just half kilograme to get. My doubt is concerning the day before the show as it’s the weigh-in. it’s supposed that day i’m loading carbs (front loading), but the weigh-in is at 17:00pm. How can i manage this un order to avoid excess the weight???. Thanks in advance.
Best regards from Spain,
Eric Helms on April 25, 2019 at 5:39 am
Javier, my advice would be load carbs as normal but I’d cut your water the day of the weigh in, as in don’t drink fluids until after you weigh in, as water balance is much more quickly corrected than being glycogen depleted. You’ll typically wake up at least 1% lighter than you go to sleep, so weigh in on Thursday night, if you are 1-2% over your target you’ll be able to make weight from not drinking water the next day, as you breathe out moisture and lose weight, especially if you focus on energy dense carb sources that don’t weigh very much. Then, as soon as you make weight, you can make up the water you would have consumed and catch up and hydrate. Also, I’d do 60% of your carb load after weigh ins so the total weight of food is less leading into your weigh in. Good luck! – Eric
Roman on April 18, 2019 at 3:54 am
1) How would you do intensification block in garage gym, where there is limited set of weights available? Or would you recommend double progression in this case? Squat, for example.
2) Any adjustments for biological age over 40/50? Like longer warmups or smaller RPE?
Andy Morgan on April 23, 2019 at 3:20 am
1. I’d invest in more incremental weights. Lighter weights like this are not expensive, you’d be unwise to let an easily-fixable equipment limitation like dictate your programming.
2. You starting weight training at 45 will have a lower recovery capacity than if you had started at 20, which means the volume you can handle initially will be lower. You’re also more likely to have picked up an injury or ROM limitation which will affect/inform exercise selection, however, there is a large difference between individuals so there are no sweeping recommendations on changes to make — all the same principles still apply.
So for example:
a) If you need longer warm-ups than average, sure, do that. The advice to everyone is to do as much as they need to get warm, ready and mobile without getting so tired it affects their working sets.
b) If you struggle to recover initially then you can lower the RPE.
But these aren’t age specific things, they are individual specific. Make sense?
Adam Barlow on April 15, 2019 at 12:48 pm
Hi guys, first off a massive thank you for publishing these books and providing them at such a fantastic value. They are the real hidden gem of the fitness/weightlifting world!
My question is regarding reduction of volume. I have been training intelligently for over 5 years and I’m at the stage where many of my working sets for a muscle group exceed 25, and some even 30. Having read the training book, I realise that that this is excessive when 10-20 sets would be sufficient stimulus. I am not, however, having any issues with recovery and progression, and have not, up to this point, ever felt the need to reduce volume. Nevertheless, as you can imagine my workouts are rather long and I would like them to be much shorter.
Therefore how could I reduce volume (in terms of reducing number of sets) without experiencing any negative effects from a reduction in volume e.g. weight gain from reduction in energy expenditure? I already train at a high intensity so I was unsure whether reducing sets and increasing intensity would help, and having read your section on rest periods, am also unsure whether reducing rest periods would be a suitable solution.
Many thanks and hope that all makes sense. Best wishes, Adam.
Andy Morgan on April 15, 2019 at 4:30 pm
Hi Adam, thanks for the question.
Basically, we don’t know. Given that you’re recovering and progressing fine, this might well simply be what you need at this point. However, you can try reducing volume (~20% perhaps) see if you still recover and progress.
Adam on April 15, 2019 at 6:09 pm
Great, thanks for taking the time to respond Andy 🙂 much appreciated
Tommy on April 11, 2019 at 4:14 pm
Sorry, but I didn’t clearly understand the weight gain recommendations for bulking. For example; ~0.5kg of muscle = 3500 calories – so theoretically if I wanted to gain 0.5kg of muscle per month I would eat 3500/30= 116 cal surplus every day (and this already accounts for fat gain so my scale weight should be going up by 1kg per month and half of it will be muscle – the 0.5kg) or I need to bump it up to 7000/30=233 cal surplus every day and I will gain 1 kg of total weight while half of it will be muscle. – I am very confused right now on which one is the real option.
Andy Morgan on April 11, 2019 at 7:29 pm
The adaptive component of metabolism can’t be predicted and calculated. Experience tells me it’s more likely to be close to the latter. Go with that calculation and then adjust based on outcome.
Tommy on April 12, 2019 at 1:54 pm
Thank you very much, Andy – It seems like the recommendation in the book is closer to the lean gains approach but from your articles, I would choose the lean bulk approach with the 1:1 ratio. That’s why I was confused…
Andy Morgan on April 15, 2019 at 4:33 pm
Yup. You’re right. The former is how Eric does it the later is how I do it — slightly more aggressive (fat gain) but easier to track and therefore easier to manage, easier to stay motivated for also. That’s my personal preference as a coach, I’m not saying there’s anything wrong with the former.
Brian Phillips on April 8, 2019 at 10:35 pm
Much love for the programs. I am using the intermediate bodybuilding template. I do not have access to a leg press. I wish to substitute barbell back squats. The rep range is 6-8 and 1st set RPE 8. Does this mean I will be at 75%-80% 1RM to use for the weights? I’m not sure what weight to use. Also, can I split the standing/seated calf raise sets so and do half of them on each lower day? Right now it is 5 sets seated one day, 5 sets standing on the other day. Can I just do 3 sets standing, 2 sets seated on each lower day? I wish to get more calf volume.
Andy Morgan on April 9, 2019 at 4:05 pm
1. Roughly. Just feel it out then adjust next session.
Brian Phillips on April 10, 2019 at 9:54 pm
Thanks for the response. I also have to replace leg extensions, as I don’t have this machine. Can I do bulgarian split squats? The rep range is 8-12 at 8 RPE for 1st set. I am having a hard time finding a scalable isolation exercise to replace leg extensions. Any recommendations on a good exercise to use? If it helps I am doing Back squat, barbell hip thrust, hamstring raises, standing calves, and sitting calves on the same day as the leg extensions calls for. 🙂
Andy Morgan on April 11, 2019 at 4:11 pm
A little hard to replace as everything will generally get the hamstring to an extent as well. You could do the BSS. Step ups onto a box, reverse lunges keeping your weight on that front leg as much as possible, are other options too.
Chris on April 17, 2019 at 12:10 am
Is the nutrition book designed to be used with a specific training approach? I want to get as lean as possible while training for the goals laid out in Pavel’s “Simple & Sinister” kettlebell manual. Would love to be able to implement Eric’s dietary recommendations.
Andy Morgan on April 23, 2019 at 3:10 am
Yes, absolutely, though I can’t speak for whether that program will provide enough stimulation to maintain muscle mass for you.
Ronny Rydgren on April 4, 2019 at 9:57 am
Any update about papperback/ hard cover avaible anytime soon?
Andy Morgan on April 4, 2019 at 7:14 pm
Yes. It’s available now. Links in the Q&A section at the top of the page.
Alex on March 25, 2019 at 4:15 pm
I’m curious to what Eric’s thoughts are on the idea that basing protein needs on bodyweight will underestimate needs for smaller individuals. I saw an article on Greg Nuckols’ site, written by Jorn Trommelen, that recommends EVERYBODY aim for 160g protein per day for maximum results, as there is research showing that protein needs may be similar for everyone regardless of bodyweight (research by Macnaughton I think). Taking me as an example, I weigh 143 lbs so if I were to use the upper end of the recommended range from the book — 1.0g per pound when gaining — then I would still be below the recommended 160g, thereby potentially leaving gains on the table.
Eric Helms on March 28, 2019 at 11:37 pm
Alex, there really is very little research looking at this, and Jorn’s recommendation is based off a single analysis that wasn’t longitudinal but acute and mechanistic. On the other hand, there are literally decades of longitudinal studies on associations between intakes related to bodyweight, and the most recently published meta analysis (Morton 2018) found a relationship where 1.6-2.2g/kg (mean and upper end of the confidence limit) was associated with the greatest gains in strength and hypertrophy among a couple thousand folks from studies published. Theoretically to me it also doesn’t make a ton of sense, as leucine has to act as a trigger at the cite of each cell’s nucleus, so it would make sense that both leucine and total protein would scale with body mass to some degree as the larger you are, the more you have. So no, there is no good data to suggest you will under consume protein regardless of bodyweight if you eating 0.7-1g/lb like the book recommends.
Alex on March 29, 2019 at 10:52 am
Thanks for clearing that up, Eric. And also thank you for writing these books, they really are fantastic.
Paola sala on March 21, 2019 at 7:23 pm
The books are only in english language?
Andy Morgan on March 22, 2019 at 7:08 am
Not currently. Thank you for asking, Paola. I have just added a section to the FAQ above with more info.
Jeffrey Jones on March 20, 2019 at 9:24 am
There is a table on page 138. What does “vv” stand for regarding bench? Thanks.
Andy Morgan on March 21, 2019 at 4:14 am
This was a typo we caught after publication. You can see the changes in the update log.
Jose on March 19, 2019 at 10:12 pm
you say that strength standards don’t determine when you are beginner or intermediate. Is it really possible that I am an “intermediate” when I only bench 67.5kg for 3 reps at 143lbs bodyweight? I mean, there are beginners who bench more than that after a few months, and I’ve been lifting for over 1.5 years. I can’t do linear progression, I can only grind out maybe a rep here or there each week. Maybe i just have truly awful genetics for bench pressing?
Andy Morgan on March 21, 2019 at 4:27 am
This could be the case, yes.
Whether someone is “truly” an intermediate depends on the way you wish to define it — there are many ways. But before asking yourself how to define it, it’s best to consider why you want to define it.
We have chosen to define novice, intermediate, and advanced by ‘ability to progress’ for the practical purpose of helping people determine which progression model they should use given their situation.
There is no further attempt at a judgment on this because biology is messy and drawing categories at distinct points is difficult, somewhat arbitrary, and pointless without instructional reason. After all, everyone wants to get bigger, stronger and/or leaner.
Brett Smith on March 19, 2019 at 1:09 am
I’m following the sample novice bodybuilding routine. My question is my sleep is less than optimal SOME days due to my little ones waking up in the middle of the night.
Would you suggest cutting back the volume by a set or 2 for this program? or just running the program every other day to where the total volume for each muscle is hit around 1.5x a week versus 2x a week?
Thanks a lot. Love both books!
Andy Morgan on March 19, 2019 at 10:45 am
Either of those adjustments are sensible but I’d try it as is first and see how you do. You might be completely fine.
Lukas on March 14, 2019 at 10:53 am
Question about training book in the sample programs section.
I really like to train 6 days/week but in the book there are no 6 days programs until the advanced state and the split is upper/lower/upper/lower/upper/lower.
Is there any chance you guys will add some leg/push/pull/leg/push/pull workout for intermediates/advanced?
Secondly, If you won’t add it, if I design one following the guidelines inside the book can you please review it?
Andy Morgan on March 15, 2019 at 3:18 am
1. We won’t. The point of the sample programs is to show sample interpretations of the principles we have covered in the books. The idea isn’t to cover every iteration, that wouldn’t be possible.
2. It’s perfectly possible to split the volume across six days. The ‘Quickstart Guide to Building Training Programs’ chapter will show you how. But no, we cannot offer to review it.
Kristiyan Atanasov on March 13, 2019 at 8:08 am
Question about Intermediate Trainee Compound Movement Progression:
We have the following scenario for Back Squat – 3 sets of 6-8 reps
In the real world clients often don’t perform like this
Session Load Reps
1 100 lbs 8,8,8
2 115 lbs 7,7,7
3 120 lbs 6,6,6
It’s more like this
Session Load Reps
1 100 lbs 8,6,5
2 115 lbs 7,5,5
3 120 lbs 6,4,3
If the client does that…
1. Would you increase the load from 100 to 115 despite the fact that the client has not hit 8,8,8?
2. Would you still increase the load from 115 to 120 lbs despite the fact that the client has not hit 7 reps?
Thank you in advance!
Andy Morgan on March 14, 2019 at 7:23 am
The first thing to do is check the ‘first set RPE’ is being followed, because if it is, they shouldn’t have a problem completing all the reps. They may have difficulties for subsequent sets, in which case I would not make the increase unless it was just very clearly “one of those bad sessions” that happen from time to time, like when sleep has been off, we’ve been stressed, etc.
Yonatan on March 12, 2019 at 10:50 am
First of all, thanks for the books. They’re so helpful.
Quick question: I’ve just finished a mini-cut which lasted six weeks and would like to start a gaining phase. Do I simply go back to the energy intake which I found effective prior to the cut or should I increase calorie intake more gradually?
Andy Morgan on March 13, 2019 at 12:34 am
I’d do it in two phases. Move to calculated maintenance, wait a couple of weeks and then add in your calorie surplus.
Jeff Jones on March 11, 2019 at 9:18 am
I’m aware of overlap and how it can get muddy regarding the total number of sets per muscle group.
Using the example of the lat pulldown, it was mentioned how the pecs are stretched in the overhead position and how they contribute to shoulder extension. Yet, when counting volume for lat pulldowns, chest is not mentioned or counted in further examples. Why is this?
Andy Morgan on March 12, 2019 at 12:32 am
The pecs are used, but not to the extent where we can consider them worth counting toward our arbitrary cut off for volume counting. However, this is worth considering if you find yourself excessively sore or failing to recover.
Jeff Jones on March 12, 2019 at 7:43 am
My comment keeps being deleted.
So at what point do we count or omit volume for a muscle group?
Andy Morgan on March 13, 2019 at 12:33 am
My comment keeps being deleted.
– Comments need to be approved my Eric or I before they appear. They aren’t deleted, but I do shorten parts of people’s comments for other readers when I can do so without the meaning being lost.
So at what point do we count or omit volume for a muscle group?
There is a table in the section where you pulled the comment about the pecs being used in the lat pulldown. Page 84. If you re-read that section, including the two pages after it, I think this will help.
Alex on May 22, 2019 at 5:13 am
Quick question on RPE and progressive overload. I am currently following the intermediate bodybuilding progression scheme. During my first mesocycle, I successfully hit the 8 RPE recommendation on the first set of all exercises. After a deload, I increased the weight on all my compounds but now my first set RPE is 9 and I’m hitting failure sooner even by my second set. I know progressive overload via increasing weight is key, but I’m worried about hitting failure too frequently and overtraining.
Should I continue pushing to hit the prescribed reps with the increased weight disregarding RPE for the sake of progressive overload? Or do I scale back the weight, even repeating the weights and reps from last cycle in order to stick to the 8 RPE and avoid overreaching/overtraining?
Thanks in advance
Andy Morgan on May 22, 2019 at 8:50 am
Hi Alex, I answered this same comment on my site yesterday for you here.
Alex on March 11, 2019 at 7:50 am
NA = Not Available? What does this exactly mean?
Andy Morgan on March 12, 2019 at 12:34 am
Fabian on March 8, 2019 at 1:20 am
Andy, how the info on the book differ from your website? I’ll re read the same if I buy the books? I’m asking cuz it seems that both nutrition info are based a pyramid model. Thanks!
Andy Morgan on March 10, 2019 at 11:53 pm
The level of depth.
Chris Zaczeniuk on March 7, 2019 at 2:29 am
I have the strength book and have a question and idk if it’ll make sense or not lol, so I’m doing a meet and I’m using the intermediate powerlifting sample and it’s 8 weeks out, so I’m gonna do a 3 week accumulation block then a 3 week intensification block then the deload and taper, but I read that when you use that program to do it as 4 weeks and change the last 2 days of each weeks reps from 3-5 to 1-3. Would I still change them to 1-3 or keep them as 3-5 if I’m doing it for longer than 4 weeks? Sorry if that’s confusing. Or if it makes more sense, what would be the best way to use the intermediate powerlifting sample program 8 weeks out from a meet? Well technically this Saturday it will be 7 weeks out. Thank you!!
Eric Helms on March 13, 2019 at 4:31 am
Chris, you could run a 3 week accumulation block, 1 week deload, then 3 week intensification block then a taper week and use 1-3 reps as indicated. If you are actually 7 vs 8 weeks out, you could omit the deload. Good luck with your meet!
Gary Wilford on March 6, 2019 at 9:52 pm
Regarding exercise selection for Hypertrophy. Would you recommend always leaving a compound movement such as squat out of practice for a few months while you just work on a leg press for instance? 3-5 reps beginning of the week. 8-12 end of the week. Then swap it out for squats after 4 months or so.
Or do you believe keeping a complex movement pattern such as the squat a must have in your programme all the time?
Andy Morgan on March 10, 2019 at 11:50 pm
Squatting for the non-powerlifter is certainly not a ‘must’. However, it’s a great exercise so don’t remove it without reason. As for varying the exercise selection like that, there might be a benefit but this could be negated by the ‘loss’ of technical ability in the lift meaning you could have a period of undertraining when you put it back in your routine. Arguably better to use a squat variation* than remove it completely.
*High bar, low bar, front squats, Zercher squats, box squats.
Tim on March 6, 2019 at 8:11 pm
Hi there, hope I’m not taking too many liberties by asking two questions!
1) Let’s say I have split my training into 4 days/week. Is there much of a difference between training 4 days in a row (ie monday through thurs, then fri-sunday rest) versus spacing the training out more evenly?
2) I find even a one month cut fairly intimidating. Would there be much downside if my cuts were more frequent, but just 1-2 weeks in duration while maintaining around the 4:1 bulk:cut ratio? I’m not competing or anything so I don’t need to perfectly optimize for fat loss. I feel this would make my life better as long as I’m not sacrificing too much.
Andy Morgan on March 10, 2019 at 11:44 pm
1. Yes. To adapt (grow and get stronger) you need the training stimulus and the recovery time. If you bunch things together you’ll compromise recovery and then compromise your training sessions.
2. Yes. It would be a mistake to interrupt your programming so often with a cut. You need a caloric surplus to grow.
Rio on March 5, 2019 at 10:54 am
im A bit disheartened with the rates of weight gain given in the book.
I’ve heard that roughly half of weight gained is muscle when bulking. Lets say a novice starts bulking at 120lbs and gains at a rate of 0.015% body weight per month, and they are in the novice stage for 4 months. That’s 7.2 lbs gained in those 4 months, of which roughly 3.6 is muscle. Then they bulk at the intermediate rate of 0.01% per month for the remaining 8 months of the year, gaining an extra 10lbs, of which 5lbs is muscle. So by the end of their first year, they’ve only gained 8.6lbs of muscle, and it gets much slower after this first year.
Is the reality really this grim? Before I read this book I thought you could gain about 20lbs of muscle in your first year (Lyle McDonald figures)
Andy Morgan on March 10, 2019 at 11:40 pm
Other than the percentages being two decimal places off, your math is correct. I think the assumptions underlying the math are a little pessimistic though [1, 2] and you underestimate how much of a difference 10 lbs of muscle mass will make to your physique .
1. Newbie gains will likely be longer than 4 months.
2. A 50–50 ratio of fat–muscle will likely be a little more skewed toward muscle when gaining weight at this conservative rate.
3. Next time you’re in the supermarket, go to the meat section and have a look at what 10–12 lbs of lean meat looks like. Imagine this strapped to your body. This will be a very big difference in a year on your frame.
You can choose to be more aggressive with your rate of weight gain, you may exceed the numbers we have put in the book (we’re talking about averages; some people do better than others), but you might just gain an unnecessary amount of fat.
Jack on March 5, 2019 at 7:46 am
Are there sample full body 3x a week routines for advanced lifters in this book?
If so how many?
Andy Morgan on March 10, 2019 at 11:27 pm
There are not. An advanced lifter is likely going to need more training volume to progress than three days will allow them to fit it in.
Gary Wilford on March 1, 2019 at 8:43 am
With the intermediate bodybuilding progression, the sample programme says to ‘start with an RPE of 8’. Reps 6-4.
I thought the goal of the intermediate programme was to keep the same reps for each set. e.g wk1: 8,8,8.
If you were to do your first set of 8 at RPE:8, wouldn’t your next set of 8 be close to 9?
The recommendations for RPE on squat are 5-8RPE if I, remember correctly. I would have thought you would need your first set at an RPE of 5, so as you perform the same amount of reps each time you accumulate fatigue and get closer to your higher RPE.
Andy Morgan on March 4, 2019 at 2:14 am
Yes, the RPE will rise. It’s just first set RPE we’re noting and with more sets, generally, the starting RPE is lower to take this into account.
Gary Wilford on March 1, 2019 at 7:49 am
I have recently purchased your books and absolutely love them.
I’m just your average gym rat who wants to put on muscle effectively without burning out or doing junk volume, as I used too.
This book along with listening to you on the revive stronger podcasts has been fantastic, and a new wealth of knowledge for me.
I do have a question however regarding the intermediate training for hypertrophy in the books.
The intermediate bodybuilding sample programme on page 264 shows a squat variant at the 3-5 rep range with the 1st set at a RPE of 8
But the ‘intermediate compound movement progression’ chart on page 110 shows that each session, one would aim to hit the same reps for every set on a given training session.
wk 1: 8,8,8
wk 2: 7,7,7
wk 3: 6,6,6
However, the RPE recommendations for lower free weight exercises start at 5 and end at 8.
So if you’re the recommendation in the sampling programme is to hit an RPE 8 on the first set, I don’t understand how you could hit the same rep range again without going over 8?. You would accumulate fatigue and end up being at roughly 9 for your second set. My understanding through the book was that if you were to do hypothetically 4 sets of squats. That you would aim to hit the RPE of 5 (the lower end) on your first set, so that when you continue to do the remaining sets, you would further accumulate fatigue at the same rep range and get closer to the higher RPE’s every time, 6,7 and then 8.
I feel as no-one else has mentioned this, that I’m asking something stupid here that I’ve just completely missed something.
If you could clarify this, I will finally feel like I hold the key to creating an amazing hypertrophy plan for myself, but at the moment I feel confused and stuck.
I hope to hear back from you soon.
Eric Helms on March 1, 2019 at 8:43 am
Gary, great question, and the answer is that I think you’re looking at the sample program, and the recommendations as though they are rules vs principles and guidelines. The quick start guide gives some good guidelines for different RPE and rep range and movement combinations, and the sample programs are also examples of how to follow these guidelines. The most important thing on a free weight compound lift that is of high difficulty and generates high fatigue, and is higher risk, is to make sure you are staying submaximal in your efforts and not going to failure. Resting an adequate length of time, and hitting an 8 RPE on your initial set should accomplish that, however, as it says if you end up getting too close to failure on your last set, simply reduce the RPE (by starting lighter) on your first set.
Chaz on February 28, 2019 at 3:15 am
I had a question about further reading. I’ve just finished Rippetoe’s Practical Programming, and while I loved it’s approach to programming, there’s no doubt that it’s “strength” and “powerlifting” centric, while I’m looking more for a hypertrophy approach. Is there any reading (books would be wonderful because they’re so comprehensive!) that you’d recommend for programming exclusively for hypertrophy? The more comprehensive the better.
Again, great work on the new books!
Eric Helms on March 1, 2019 at 8:44 am
Thanks Chaz! I would check out some of the work by RP (renaissance periodization) and also Greg Nuckols.
Chaz on March 3, 2019 at 10:40 pm
Thank you for the reply Dr. Helms. This may be a no-brainer, but do you recommend Greg’s The Art & Science of Lifting, or do you think it contains too much overlap with the Muscle and Strength Training Pyramids?
Andy Morgan on March 4, 2019 at 2:12 am
It’s Monday so it’s my turn to answer comments so I hope you don’t mind me jumping in here.
Overlap is inevitable as we’re talking about the fundamental principles of training. However, it’s very useful personally to see how someone with a mind as brilliant as Greg’s explains these principles. I think Greg’s books would make great additions to any person’s library on this topic.
Chaz on March 18, 2019 at 2:12 am
Eric & Andy,
What about text books? Greg recommends text books such as Science & Practice of Strength Training (Zatsiorsky, Vladimir M) and Physiology of Sport and Exercise (Kenney, W Larry). Do you all recommend anything similar to have in your ever-growing lifting library?
Andy Morgan on March 19, 2019 at 10:46 am
I have a list of resources I recommend for people here.
Sean on February 22, 2019 at 10:36 pm
On page 212 of the Training book, it’s stated to use the smallest loading increment possible to “extend progression.” This principle has always confused me.
If you add 2.5 pounds to the bar, but you *could* add 5 pounds just fine, why wouldn’t you add 5 pounds?
In general, what is the physiological premise for purposefully progressing slower than you could at any given time?
Thanks for any clarification!
Eric Helms on March 1, 2019 at 8:47 am
Sean, because at beginner and intermediate stages, ensuring excellent technique is of primary importance, and the mentality of progressing as fast as possible, rather than steadily, ends up resulting in slower progress as form suffers, and potential injury occurs. I’ve seen it time, and time, and time, and time, and time, and time again, that by simply not being as patient, early stage lifters end up taking steps backward.
Not to mention, if overload is occurring with submaximal loads, that’s great, you don’t need to red-line it to progress, and that might benefit you in terms of the total workload you do in the broader perspective of meso and macrocycles.
Abdullah Zaid on February 22, 2019 at 3:25 pm
Hi team! After reading the Nutrition ebook , i need a clarification for something. I have been trainning since late of 2010 (8.5 years of trainning and i have been yo yo diet for almost since i started trainning. Never followed progression overload with intent. I am 5’6 and my stage condition is when i weigh btw 120-125lbs. That means i lack alot of muscles for my height. But Now i am smarter and i want to stop this yo yo cycle. I will start my first real off season with the bulk nutrition and trainning guids on your ebooks. My Question is am i considerd a begginner or intermediate based on info I provided? I need an answer to set my appropiate monthly gainning rate.
Also on the deload week of my mesocycle should i still be on surplus or better to be on maintance on that week( same also for the volume maintaince mesocycle)? Thanka guys!
Eric Helms on March 1, 2019 at 8:49 am
Hey Abdullah, deloads don’t change your nutrition, and you determine your level: novice, intermediate, or advanced, based on how quickly you are able to progress.
Erik on February 21, 2019 at 4:52 am
Wanted to start off by saying I just finished the training book and it has helped me piece together so much of the programming puzzle that I’ve been struggling to put together. Quick question: I noticed in the advanced powerlifting sample program (p.265) the total number of sets per movement actually increases from the accumulation block to the intensity block (18 sets-23 sets). However, I was under the impression that during the accumulation block, total number of sets gradually increased week to week and then dropped back down to a set amount during the intensity block (i.e dropping from 22-14 sets from block to block). The sample program seems to be the contrary. If you could clear this up for me it would be greatly appreciated, thanks.
Eric Helms on February 21, 2019 at 6:38 am
Great question, and here’s where there is some nuance. Specifically, on page 230 and 231 the full breakdown of the advanced powerlifting program is listed. You’ll notice there are 27 sets of accessory work in the accumulation block, and this gets cut drastically to 12 in the intensification block. However, there are also 27 sets of accessory work in the accumulation block, but this goes up to 36 in the intensification block. Total sets of all exercises, regardless of type, drops slightly, from 54 to 48. So volume does go down by total sets of all exercises, it only goes up for main lifts as specificity increases. You’ll also notice that the total reps on main lifts goes down a lot too as the number of sets where you perform 7 reps per set or more goes from 12 to 7 on the main lifts. So you are doing more sets on the main lifts to compensate for the reduction in repetitions per set, again as specificity increases. This in total, will also result in lower total volume load globally.
Remember, counting sets in the 6-20 rep range probably is a useful metric for the hypertrophic stimulus, but strength is a little more complicated than that in reality, and beyond the stimulus, the stress induced also changes as volume and load change.
Finally, the examples in earlier chapters are just that, examples of how you can set things up…not the only way you can do them. I purposely designed the sample programs to differ from the earlier samples so you can see multiple ways to do the same thing.
Hope this helps, Eric
Nick on February 17, 2019 at 7:56 pm
I have a quick question on Linear Periodization described in the training book. Based on what I’ve read so far it’s pretty straightforward. Each week you go down a rep and go up some weight. But it doesn’t say anywhere what happens if I have failed to do all reps with that weight this week. Should I continue the wave (down rep – up weight)? Should I do the same rep-weight next week? Should I deload and start from the beginning?
Andy Morgan on February 21, 2019 at 5:08 am
Do as many reps as you can, assume it was just an off session, continue with the next stage of the progression. Off days happen to us all, no biggie.
Chris on February 13, 2019 at 9:24 am
Seeing as it’s easy to gain back lost muscle due to cell nuclei, why not dreamer bulk to a very high weight to maximize the muscle you have, cut down(even if you lose some muscle it’s ok) all the way to a single digit, then lean bulk back up. This way you have the cell nuclei of the muscle gained already which will make it easy to gain back, and this time by lean bulking you’ll minimize fat gains to almost none with lean gains?
Am i theoretically wrong?
Andy Morgan on February 15, 2019 at 6:25 am
Pushing body fat above 20% come increased health risks, plus, putting on a lot of weight can potentially have a long-term impact on hunger signaling, making sustaining a lower level of body fat permanently harder.
Giovanni on February 11, 2019 at 1:22 am
I am an italian PhD student in Nutrition. I would buy the nutrition book, will I find bibliographic references in the text?
Andy Morgan on February 14, 2019 at 12:35 am
Hi Giovanni. A ‘bibliography’, technically, means a list of the books we have referred to. We didn’t refer to books, but specific papers within scientific journals. There are 301 unique references in the nutrition book, listed at the end of each of the chapters.
Mike on February 10, 2019 at 7:34 pm
Hi team! Awesome job with the new editions and sorry for my english.
I’ve read some post that say that deadlifts and squats increase waist proportions in women, and other posts say that they doesn’t.
The training pyramid book talks about exercise selection but it’s more on the performance and efficiency of training rather than choosing exercises on aesthetics.
What’s your opinion (or what the research says if any)? Does deadlifts and squats increase waist size thus affecting their general look?
I tried to search for “waist” but it doesn’t found anything relatable.
Andy Morgan on February 14, 2019 at 12:32 am
Thank you for the question. Think of it like this:
The “waist” is a set of muscles — the lower back, the obliques, and the abs. If you train these, they get bigger, very gradually, over time. Squats and deadlifts will train this region indirectly, as will any exercise where there is spinal loading. If you don’t want this to happen, you could choose your exercises to avoid this, but you need to be careful to not compromise overall training quality.
Note my wording there, “very gradually”. For the majority of people, this is something they worry about unduly.
Thomas on February 10, 2019 at 12:17 am
just wondering if its okay to use double progression on compounds like squat, bench and deadlift? For some reason i really struggle with wave loading, like i can do the first cycle fine but i always end up failing at some point on the second cycle.
Andy Morgan on February 14, 2019 at 12:24 am
You certainly could, but there may be another issue causing that. Have a read through the checklist we have here.
Amir on February 7, 2019 at 10:21 am
1. The volume flow chart doesn’t indicate when you need to change method of progression. How do you know when you need to change from novice to intermediate progression rather than just adding volume and sticking with novice progression?
2. In the novice bodybuilding program section it says
“If you then stall once again, use the same progression pattern, but start increasing the load only half as much week to week as you were previously.”
So if you stall again, then you deload by 10% again, and work your way back up but just in smaller increments?
– deload 10%
-deload 10% again and work back up in smaller increments
Andy Morgan on February 14, 2019 at 12:23 am
2) Yes, exactly.
1) I have my own thoughts but would like to tag Eric in to answer this one so I can hear them also.
Eric Helms on February 21, 2019 at 6:42 am
1) good question Amir, I’d say when you are stalled on the majority of your lifts, it’s time to try a progression model that allows for less rapid progress as you’re likely no longer at that level anymore, good luck with training!
Chris on February 6, 2019 at 11:37 pm
Do you find that doing max reps until a target rpe for a given amount of sets with a selected load is easier to control progressive overload on than a first set rpe? Itd be easier to overshoot/undershoot a first set rpe if you are fatigued/feeling good, as opposed to having no rep target, no?
Andy Morgan on February 7, 2019 at 4:42 am
You could, yes, but it’s simple enough to just adjust the load if your first set is over or under. And with experience, you’ll know from your warm-up sets whether that’s likely to be the case.
Smith on February 6, 2019 at 5:51 am
What are your thoughts on deloading a specific body part rather than collectively when needed? So for example, your legs feel fatigued, so you do the Deload protocol for the lower body days, but keep the volume/intensity as regular for the upper body days.
Andy Morgan on February 7, 2019 at 4:37 am
Sure, you can try this. Sometimes the fatigue is specific to a body part, sometimes it’s system wide.
Chris on February 5, 2019 at 11:26 pm
How come there is a first set target rpe for intermediates but a rpe range for advanced? Wouldn’t having a range mean having to adjust load set to set more often?
Andy Morgan on February 7, 2019 at 4:36 am
Fatigue management is more of a concern for the advanced trainee, who has higher training volumes.
Nicolas on February 5, 2019 at 11:01 pm
i’ll be concise
If we measure volume in sets because same sets produce same hypertrophy even when reps are way different (like 3 -10) does 4×1 RPE 8 produce the same hypertrophy as 4×12 RPE 8 ? is there a bottom line of reps we have do or time we have to spend under tension to maximally develope muscles? why i haven’t read anything about the 40-70 reps x muscle x session?
Andy Morgan on February 7, 2019 at 4:27 am
1. “why i haven’t read anything about the 40-70 reps x muscle x session?”
This was in the first edition, we removed it from the second because peter studies now exist.
Previously, the first edition book programs were based on a 12-year old systematic review (Wernbom 2007) that looked at reps per body part, per week. The current meta-analyses we have are based on ‘hard sets’ per body part/movement per week.
2. “If we measure volume in sets because same sets produce same hypertrophy even when reps are way different…”
“Number of sets” is a way of counting volume, but other factors are still important, rep ranges being one.
Have another read of the summary recommendations for the percentage of sets performed in different rep ranges for hypertrophy in the VIF chapter. Then have another look within the chapter where we explain the recommendations.
3. is there a bottom line of reps we have do or time we have to spend under tension to maximally develope muscles?
Please have a read of ‘Time Under Tension’ section of Level 6 on page 192.
I deleted your other two comments. I’ll post the reason in full here for you and others reading.
Two days ago you posted a long comment with ten(!) separate questions. I deleted it and asked you to refer to the comment rule 3, which says: “Write clearly and concisely. Have respect for the time of other readers. Long-winded questions will be deleted. If you cannot write concisely, it is not within the scope of the comments.”
Your response to this has been to just split your long comment into three separate comments with this, the first and briefest of those three. This is not fair use and I have deleted the other two.
Of the three questions you have asked in this first comment, two of the three are directly addressed in the text. I understand that this may be a language issue, but we can’t be here to clear up multiple misunderstandings due to language ability — it’s beyond what is sustainable. Moreover, if we are here to unconditionally answer, you’ll come to rely on us and won’t learn.
Have another read of the text. Once you’ve understood and absorbed it, feel free to ask questions again. We won’t answer until then.
Nicolas on February 5, 2019 at 1:12 am
First of all sorry for my english, i’m italian
I’ve just finished reading your training pyramind V2 and ,due to the critical thinking that i have developed, i have some topics that i would like to discuss
[Deleted. See comment rule 3 on length.]
Chris on February 4, 2019 at 7:06 am
Quote from the book:
“If you were to do 3 sets of bench with your 8RM load, and on your first set you maxed out and went to failure getting 8 reps, you would probably drop down to 6 on your second set, and then possibly 5 reps on your third. This will be 19 reps total.
However, if you were to stop and just do 7 reps on the first set, you may be able to maintain 7 reps for the next two sets as well. This will be 21 reps total.
In this way, it’s easy to see that we can hurt the amount of volume that we can do by going to failure too frequently.“
Question.. I thought volume is measured by number of hard sets. So why does it matter if in the above example you did 21 reps instead of 19? You still did 3 hard sets.
Eric Helms on February 5, 2019 at 5:54 am
Chris, excellent question and that’s a savvy catch of you. Couple things to consider here, for one a set “counts fully” towards hypertrophy if the set lasts long enough, and has a high level of effort, and doesn’t have a ridiculously low load (say below 30-40% 1RM). A good rule of thumb is that adequately hard sets in the 6-20 rep range can be reasonably assumed to have a similar effect. Within session, if your reps start to fall off so much that you’re completing less than this range (as in the example), you’re losing some volume.
But probably more important, is the issue of failure session to session. Couple studies I’d want to direct you to (ideally you read the full texts, but I understand that’s a lot of reading, the abstracts of these will get the principal conclusions across):
The above collectively indicate that hypertrophy and strength/power adaptations are the same or worse when training to failure, or that acute volume performance on repeated sets is lower, or that muscle damage remains elevated for longer following training that is to failure. That said, obviously in a vacuum, within a single set you will get a greater stimulus for hypertrophy if a set is taken to failure as you’ll do more reps with a given load and more reps at a higher level of motor unit activation and tension, as the reps slow while you are maximally contracting against the load.
The important question is how does this affects central fatigue and muscle damage? Failure seems to cause more central fatigue, which can lower voluntary activation on subsequent sets and exercises within session, and excessive muscle damage can delay hypertrophy and may prevent damaged fibers from being exposed to an effective stimulus in subsequent training. Essentially, how close to failure you go to within session, and during a specific phase, depends on your goals and individual recuperative capabilities. If the interaction of failure, session volume, total weekly volume, and frequency per body part is out of balance due to failure, it may lower your total volume or frequency over time.
So, being tactical and thinking conceptually about when failure might aid or hinder you is important. Obviously going to failure on 3 sets of squats, even with a spotter, could result in poorer performance in the rest of a leg session, and lingering fatigue that negatively effects performance a few days later when you attempt another leg day.
Furthermore, in a recent study I did where one group trained to a 5-6 RPE on bench and squats compared to another that progressed from a 5 to a 9 RPE over 8 weeks found no significant differences between groups in hypertrophy of the pecs or quads, and both groups grew significantly compared to baseline, so the actual importance of failure for hypertrophy needs to be evaluated more.
Hopefully this helps!
Lui Hung on February 4, 2019 at 5:32 am
I am currently reading the second edition of the training book and i cannot figure out how you got 12 sets for biceps and triceps on page 93? I count 19 sets for tricep and 18 for bicep from page 92. I counted all primary and secondary muscle groups from the exercises as per table on page 84. What am i missing?
Eric Helms on February 5, 2019 at 5:58 am
Nothing! This is actually a typo, apologies and thank you for catching it! This was actually a typo from an earlier iteration when I was thinking of not counting exercises in which a muscle group was “secondary”.
Jeffrey Jones on March 20, 2019 at 9:30 am
Ah, this answers my question from above . I knew this didn’t add up correctly!
Adam on February 4, 2019 at 2:42 am
What is the consensus on locking out your joints (e.g., elbows/knees) during exercises? Is it safe and healthy? Are there times not to do it? Or, is locking out simply considered full range of motion?
Andy Morgan on February 5, 2019 at 1:28 am
Totally fine for the majority of people the majority of the time. Don’t bang out light sets with so much force at the lockout that it jars the joints. If you’re hyper-flexible, it’s prudent to not bend backward but stop when the load is supported vertically by aligned bone structure and not further.
Daniel on February 4, 2019 at 1:25 am
What is the recommended deload protocol for rest-pause and drop sets? Thanks!
Andy Morgan on February 5, 2019 at 1:24 am
We don’t have a set of rules for these, but same principles apply: when you’re deloading, you want to do less.
Gary on February 2, 2019 at 1:27 pm
What should I do if I was in an overtrained state? The training book doesn’t mention what to do if overtraining. I wasn’t getting any pumps,joint pain, involuntary muscle contractions,muscle spasms, no appetite etc… I practically took off from the gym for a while and increased my calories but nothing has gotten better. Just looking for some guidance. Thank you.
Andy Morgan on February 5, 2019 at 1:06 am
Up until I read “no appetite”, lighter workouts for a period or some more time off, was my initial thought. But when you couple that with no appetite, that could be an unrelated medical issue. Consider seeing a doctor.
Gary on February 5, 2019 at 10:09 am
Appetite was the wrong word. I meant to say I have no hunger cues. But I will take your advice and stay out of gym until side effects go away. I just don’t know how long it’ll take before I feel good again. Thanks
Alex on February 1, 2019 at 9:44 am
Hi Guys. Sorry for wall of text below, but I’m desperately frustrated
[“Wall” Deleted. See comment rule 3 on length.]
Andy Morgan on February 5, 2019 at 1:08 am
Please see comment rule 3.
Semar Augusto on January 31, 2019 at 5:27 pm
I loved the books and the email course. I got so much value from it.
I’ve got two questions about training
Just for context, I consider myself to be an Intermediate trainee and I’ve been running the intermediate bodybuilding template for half a mesocycle now (about 3 years in the gym and only 1 year of “intelligent” programming)
1 – I have hyper extending knees. No problems for leg training in general but back extensions are really uncomfortable. I’ve been thinking about switching the exercise for below the knee rack pulls. Not because I love the exercise or anything, just because I couldn’t think of a better substitution. What do you think of this change? Do you have another suggestion?
2 – Suppose I start the week feeling like I would have decent training. However, after a fatiguing session like a leg day, my performance dropped and I realized that I actually was overreaching and in need of a deload. In terms of autoregulating the deload, do you think I should drop the volume in the middle of the week or wait until the end to begin an actual deload?
Andy Morgan on February 5, 2019 at 1:12 am
1. Mine do this too. I just have to contract hard to keep them from doing it. If that’s not possible, barbell good mornings for more of a lower back focus; cable pull-throughs or hip thrusts for more of a glute focus.
2. Sure, your body doesn’t recognize things as split into separate weeks.
Salvatore on January 31, 2019 at 4:30 pm
My question is about lifting tempo, in particular for someone (novice bodybuilder) who in eccentric phase doesn’t feel the “muscle action” as mentioned in book and using a slower eccentric ( 3-4 seconds) It helps him to feel the muscle action. Does this make sense doing a faster eccentric than 3-4 seconds to not sacrifice volume and load, but not feeling the muscle action? In this case is more important “feeling the muscle action” or volume and load?
Andy Morgan on February 5, 2019 at 1:15 am
Purposefully delaying the eccentric action to focus on feeling at the start, unless that directly helps with form, will likely just hold back progress. Focus on form, the feeling will come with time.
Chaz on January 30, 2019 at 12:38 am
Hi team, it’s me again,
I have two questions:
1. I have a client that happens to have quite poor balance. They cannot keep balanced on most single legged exercises, such as Bulgarian split squat, step up, single-legged squat, etc. Even with bodyweight, low loads, or minimizing the balance time, they simply cannot perform these exercises. This trainee is new, so I imagine overall progression may help, but how can I help this trainee’s balance, overall? Are there any particular exercises or special considerations?
2. That same client has very long femurs and a short torso (this may be related to the above question?). This issue is stated in the book as a particular biomechanical issue, however, it’s not entirely clear what the “optimal” exercise alternatives would be for a trainee of this kind. Could you walk me through exercise selection (and more, perhaps?) for an individual such as this? Also note that, since this is the same client, single-legged work is difficult to program.
This client is a doozy!
Thanks again for all the great work,
Andy Morgan on January 31, 2019 at 1:30 am
Balance is a skill that will improve over time. Start the easier (but similar) movements that stretch them but they are able to do with effort (lower the load, shorten the range of motion) so that they build confidence. If they can’t do even a small step up on one foot with their body weight, they probably need to be referred to a physical therapist.
Chaz on February 1, 2019 at 10:42 pm
Thank you for your reply, Andy!
The client is a female, so perhaps that is why she cannot do a step up with body weight alone. For now, she has been doing box squats with weight at a very high height (i.e., roughly at the waist). Do you recommend any particular exercise(s) that may initiate the start of increased balance?
Andy Morgan on February 5, 2019 at 1:07 am
She can do a step up if you use a smaller step, Chaz.
Kristiyan Atanasov on January 23, 2019 at 12:58 pm
Great work guys! You really did an awesome job updating the books!
Question about the block periodization:
[Accumulation block] – you say that we should start with 2x/week training frequency in week 1, however the sample advanced bodybuilding program has a frequency of 3x/week in Week 1.
For example for the quads we’ve got:
Day 1: Sq variant, SL variant
Day 3: LP variant, Leg Ext
Day 5: Sq variant
My math just doesn’t add up.
I know that we shouldn’t blindly follow the sample programs and I’d rather focus on the advice from p. 134 but I’d really appreciate your feedback on this!
Eric Helms on January 29, 2019 at 11:10 pm
Kris, the examples of a block periodized progression in the progression chapter, and the advanced program aren’t the same. They are both iterations of different ways you can set up a program. If you read the last paragraph about the advanced bodybuilding program in the sample chapter guide, I believe it’s page 235 off the top of my head, it discusses the differences between the quick start guide and level 3 examples specifically. That should clear things up for you 🙂
David Gilleland on January 23, 2019 at 4:03 am
How do we find the sample programs through the Gravitus app?
Eric Helms on January 29, 2019 at 11:12 pm
David, currently we are in the beta testing stage, and we’ve only done a trial run of the first edition novice bodybuilding program. This year we’ll be launching all 6 second edition programs and I’ll make announcements on my IG @helms3dmj and via our 3DMJ newsletter and Pyramids email list when we do. Hope you are enjoying Gravitus!
Chaz on January 23, 2019 at 12:11 am
First of all, thank you all for the amazing effort that you put into these new editions. The added content is highly useful, especially the quick start guide that are very practical for everyday use. Love it.
I had just a few questions regarding Women’s fitness needs:
1. Do you recommend any special considerations for women who are exercising during the cycle? For example, I’ve noticed that the women I train simply cannot do as much load and volume during this time. I’ve mostly used deloads during this time as a consequence, but I’m not sure if that’s helpful for them.
2. Regarding progressive load patterns, do women have any specific needs? Most of my clients plateau quite quickly with linear load increases, so perhaps using more intermediate or advanced styles of progression may be more useful?
Thanks again for the new editions. You all rock!
Andy Morgan on January 23, 2019 at 2:53 am
Hi Chaz, I’ll have to let Eric answer this as I don’t work with women. He’s due to check in with the comments on Monday.
Eric Helms on January 29, 2019 at 11:01 pm
Thanks for the questions:
1) Women are (should be if they are pre-menopausal and not taking certain types of contraceptives) always cycling, so they are always “during” the cycle if you will. A good read I would recommend is this one by my colleague Greg Nuckols https://www.strongerbyscience.com/menstrual-cycle-contraceptives-complete-guide-athletes/ that will help you understand the cycle and what points might affect training and nutrition variables.
2) Almost all of the differences in load progression would be related to the absolute loads being smaller. For example, a woman of average weight might be progressing towards a 50kg bench press as an intermediate or late stage novice, and adding 2.5kg to that is a 5% increase. A man of an average weight might be progressing towards a 100kg bench press as an intermediate or late stage novice, and adding 2.5kg to that is a 2.5% increase. But, proportionally, women progress as fast (if not faster) than men in strength when looking at the literature (another great one by Greg on that https://www.strongerbyscience.com/strength-training-women/), so just make sure to account for appropriate relative increases in load vs absolute.
Chaz on January 30, 2019 at 12:20 am
Thank you for clearing that up, and thank you for the great resources.
abdulrahman on January 22, 2019 at 10:59 am
if progression is stalled while using intermediate progression, shall i add more volume (sets) or switch to advanced progression?
Andy Morgan on January 23, 2019 at 2:49 am
Hi Abdul, either of those things could be right, however, there are a few things you should check first. Have a look at our, “when unsure how to progress flowchart” on page 122. I made an article on this topic from the book’s content if you find it useful and would like to share it with friends. How to Break Training Plateaus
Mike on January 17, 2019 at 2:59 pm
Did the book exist in french language ?
Andy Morgan on January 17, 2019 at 9:10 pm
Hi Mike, there are no foreign language editions currently available, no plans for a French edition.
Tim on May 8, 2016 at 4:32 am
Okay, just went through the excellent nutrition book now and have a nutrition question:
Is there any value to adding occasional cutting phases for someone looking to bulk without getting fat?
Seems like for your average lifter, cutting is just so much more efficient (.5%-1% BW/week, holy mackerel) that you could cut down BF % significantly in just a month before resuming the slow grind toward bulking.
Andy Morgan on May 9, 2016 at 4:16 am
Tim, thanks for the question. Sure, you can use that strategy, but be careful not to have bulking periods so short that you don’t make any meaningful progress. This article of mine may be worth your time:
rob on May 7, 2016 at 8:06 pm
in regards to approaching near failure for hypertrophy and I suppose it makes logical sense since its all on a continuum and suppose it comes down to most optimal approach. can it be argued or at least make logical sense to apply for training that from a hypertrophy perspective many say training with an 8.5-9 Rpe makes the most sense. However, if one is using a weight over 70% of their 1RM and is training at much lower Rpe ~6-8 and is applying progressive tension overload and is increasing weight over time while also accumulating vol(sets X reps) wont hypertrophy be basically the same without having to go to close to failure and the weight is heavy enough to begin with to accommodate adaptions. In the training book it is advised for hypertrophy to use a 5-8.5 rpe over the course of the sets as RPE will rise, however 5 is extremly light.However, if its at or above 70% it is techincally “heavy enough” therefore cant less reps be done that arent so close to failure? thus accumulatig volume and adding tension progressively just at the lower RPE? The person will also get the benefit of great fatigue management as training to failure truly smokes many. is this less then an optimal approach since the weight is “heavy enough” just not doing the max reps for that weight sticking with the much lower rpe?
Eric Helms on May 9, 2016 at 4:38 am
The main reason there are some 5 RPE values listed for hypertrophy work is because how quickly fatigue mounts in some people is different than others. Depends on how conditioned you are. Your perspective on hypertrophy being about accumulating volume that is heavy enough is useful. The primary goal is to ensure that you don’t miss reps and secondarily that subsequent training isn’t hindered by excessive fatigue and that you are not going against the purpose of the micro/mesocycle. So for example in an intro week or an accumulation block early in the year you’d probably want to see last RPE on high volume days not go over 8.5. However in an intensity block 9 or the occasional 9.5 might be warranted.
Joe on May 7, 2016 at 7:26 pm
Hey Eric and Andy, I loved the nutrition book, my question is what body fat range should I juggle my lean mass phases and cuts to build muscle while still looking lean and like I actually work out? Even better is there a way I can maintain my preferred level of body fat (10%) while gaining muscle (even if it’s at a slower rate)? The most difficult part of bodybuilding for me is that it seems like its a 2 steps forward and 1 step back process in where you have to go through gaining phases of looking progressively worse, feeling less confident, and looking like you don’t workout to put on muscle and then go through a dieting phase to get lean and feel good again and look a little bit better. It seems like bodybuilding has you spending more time looking worse and feeling less confident in your physique than it does making you look better and feeling more confident about your physique, which isn’t the reason we bodybuild to look and feel better and increase our confidence. The “look worse now to briefly look better in the future” is the biggest psychological roadblock for me personally.
Andy Morgan on May 9, 2016 at 4:14 am
Joe, thanks for the question. 10-15% for physique focussed people, slightly higher for power athletes. In my opinion, in general, not negating personal preference.
Justin on May 7, 2016 at 5:05 am
Hi Eric! Is it possible to order the training book only? I am much more interested in training than nutrition (blasphemy!!). Thanks!
Andy Morgan on May 9, 2016 at 4:13 am
Yes, keep scrolling down the sales page and you’ll see that option.
Tim on May 6, 2016 at 6:14 am
Thanks so much for the terrific training book, guys. I purchased it for the sample program (the fish) and now find myself designing my own program (fishing for my own damn self!).
1) Eric wrote above that he typically rotates accessory exercises every 8 weeks. Is there any benefit for a bodybuilder in rotating the big lifts as well?
2) For a 7-8 RPE exercise (non-deload/accumulation etc week): I understand a 7-8 RPE guideline is for the first set, and with a constant weight the final set should end up around 9ish RPE. What if I aim for 8-9 RPE on my first set and then increase or decrease the weight each set to remain around 8-9 RPE across all sets? I think Cressey recommends something like this.
Andy Morgan on May 9, 2016 at 4:11 am
Tim, thank you for the questions.
1. Rotate for the same reasons if you feel it necessary.
2. Sure, that’s another legitimate way of going about things. You may find that the cumulative fatigue effects become more of an issue that way however given that you’re always training to a higher RPE.
Oliver on May 4, 2016 at 9:07 am
Is there a rule of thumb how the maintenance goes down with every kg/pound bw that we lose in a diet?
Andy Morgan on May 9, 2016 at 4:09 am
Oliver, thanks for the question. Unfortunately no, adaptations vary. Tracking and adjusting based on progress is paramount. Did you see the Diet Adjustments Mastery course that we put up covering that for our readers yet? You can find it here.
Matt on May 4, 2016 at 1:13 am
Hey Eric and Andy, I love the nutrition book and it allowed me to get to 8% body fat for the first time in my life and it was easier than I thought. My question is if I can gain muscle eating at maintenance calories and focusing on progressing in gym? I know the rate of weight gain is for maximal muscle growth with minimal fat storage but if it’s possible to gain muscle, albeit at a slower pace, without body fat by eating at maintenance I’d like to pursue that route if it actually works.
Andy Morgan on May 9, 2016 at 4:07 am
Hi Matt, thanks for the question. Not to any significant degree no. Your body fat is already exceptionally low and we can’t make something from nothing.
Greg on May 3, 2016 at 11:54 pm
Hey Eric and Andy, if I plateau on the intermediate program at the highest volume but I’m currently cutting, should I switch to an advanced program or continue the intermediate program until I’m done with the cut and plateau when I’m not in a calorie deficit? I know I can make gains on a cut but I didn’t know if plateauing during a cut means I’ve gotten the most out of the that program and should move on too advanced or if I’m plateaued bc I’m dieting.
Andy Morgan on May 9, 2016 at 4:05 am
Hi Greg. Don’t “switch” routines, adjust what you are currently with based on the principles you’ve learned. If you’re currently recovering fine, keep with it. If not, consider reducing volume.
javier on May 3, 2016 at 11:49 pm
Thank you for these wonderful resources!
I had one question: Could I do 3×6-8 for all of the compounds in the intermed. routine instead of what is prescribed? I can’t lift in low repetition ranges due to a medical condition. The volume is worked out to be nearly identical.
Andy Morgan on May 9, 2016 at 4:04 am
Hi Javier. Yes certainly.
Oliver on May 3, 2016 at 10:17 am
In the chapter “Issues With Both Low And High Intensity Training”, we learn’t that with the same volume both rep ranges (high/low) get the same hypertrophie. Then there is this sentence which confuses me. “For light loading, it
forces you to go near to failure, turning each session into a potential puke party, just to
get on nearly (but not quite) equal footing as moderate or heavy loading.” If you train at RPE 5-6 with high volume (for instance 3×10 with 60% of your max), won’t you get enough stimulus because the load is “to light” and you fall out of that 1-15RM? That means, we have to train at higher intensetys/RPEs in the higher rep ranges. Like RPE 7-9 on 3×10? This question is applied to the first compound movment on a hypertrophie day, not on any backoff sets or second exercises.
Andy Morgan on May 9, 2016 at 4:04 am
Hi Oliver, thanks for the question. Another way of writing that would be to say, “Light loads require comparably more effort and pain to get not-quite as good a result as moderate to heavy loading. This in reference to loads where more than 15+ reps will need to be performed.
Alexander on May 3, 2016 at 4:37 am
Could I use the Leg/Push/Pull part of the intermediate template and run it as a 4 day per week rotating split? It would be hitting each muscle group once every fifth day.
Week 1: Legs/Push/Off/Pull/Legs/Off/Off
Week 2: Push/Pull/Off/Legs/Push/Off/Off
Week 3: Pull/Legs/Off/Push/Pull/Off/Off
Week 3’s last three workouts would follow the deload plan.
Andy Morgan on May 9, 2016 at 3:59 am
Marco on May 3, 2016 at 2:29 am
First of all, the books are awesome!! 🙂
I had a shouder surgery (3 moths without training) how do I approach the comeback, I was an intermediate, do I follow the intermediate routines or because I am detrained the lower volume on the beginners routines are better? Sorry for the english
Eric Helms on May 3, 2016 at 2:59 am
First, consult your doctor to see what they recommend. However, any time you can progress faster, it is advisable to do so. So in a general sense, when one is detrained, start with the beginner progression until you can no longer progress at that rate, then move to intermediate.
Marco on May 3, 2016 at 3:18 am
Thanks for the reply Eric! I really learned a lot from your videos and books, not just about training but how to think (critical thinking!), hope your Phd is going great! Greetings from South America! 🙂
Eric Helms on May 9, 2016 at 4:39 am
You are very welcome and thank you!
Justin on May 3, 2016 at 2:08 am
Hey guys, on page 155 of the training book, just wondering if the recommendation of Sq variant and DL variant on day 1 are listed to use both on the same day or choose one of the exercises and alternate/rotate them every week? And would there be a similar trend on the other days?
Eric Helms on May 3, 2016 at 2:58 am
The programs are to be done as listed. In any case where alternating is supposed to happen it would be marked as such.
Neil on May 2, 2016 at 11:27 pm
I was wondering the way that the intermediate bodybuilding is set up in the fact that it has legs on Monday and Wednesday, wouldn’t this affect leg recovery if you are still a bit sore on your Wednesday workout?
would training Mon.- Fri. (the way the program is set up) be any different then training mon., tues, rest, thurs, fri, sat, rest, rest?
Thanks again, i really liked the books and it is awesome to finally see my progression in the gym , this way of training is a lot more enjoyable then spending hours and hours and hour sin the gym, when the same amount of work can be done in 1-1.5
Thanks again, i really enjoyed the books
Eric Helms on May 3, 2016 at 2:56 am
Neil, you’re welcome and glad to hear you are progressing!
To answer your question, the book does not have the schedule for the intermediate program set up as Monday-Friday, it has days listed as Day 1, 2, 3, 4 and 5. That is the order the workouts are performed, not the weekly schedule. Feel free to do 2 on, 1 off, 3 on, 1 off. We leave this open as everyone has different schedules.
Andre on May 2, 2016 at 10:32 pm
There are mixed views online as to whether to count them or more specifically, whether to count them as 4 calories per gram.
This mixed viewpoint is what led me to ask the question here.
Do you not have any scientific information on this matter?
Eric Helms on May 3, 2016 at 2:52 am
Andre, I wouldn’t say there are mixed views. Simply put amino acids are the building blocks of protein, thus a gram of amino acids has the same energetic value as a gram of protein. Some regulatory bodies don’t “count” the calories in amino acids because they aren’t whole proteins but this is related to regulatory wording rather than actual energy content.
Andre on May 2, 2016 at 1:51 am
Do the calories in BCAA count as 4 calories per gram?
20 grams of BCAA = 80 Calories?
Andy Morgan on May 2, 2016 at 10:21 pm
Pete on May 1, 2016 at 11:39 pm
If one were training for Men’s Physique specifically, could I follow the Intermediate example program as Upper/Lower/Off/Push/Pull/Off/Off? I do not want to overdevelop my legs.
Andy Morgan on May 2, 2016 at 10:20 pm
Hi Pete, if your legs being too big is an issue then you could do that, yes.
Jared on May 1, 2016 at 12:20 am
Hey Eric and Andy, the book mentions nutrient timing as being down to personal preference assuming overall macros for the day are hit. Does this apply to fasted training as well? Specifically I prefer intermittent fasting where I skip breakfast and have 2 meals, one moderate sized at lunch and one feast at dinner, this allows me to keep within my calorie budget in the easiest most enjoyable way but it’s most convenient to train first thing in the morning. Will it cause negative effects to train fasted around 7 am and have my first meal at 11-noon? (Assuming I hit my macros for the day)
Andy Morgan on May 2, 2016 at 8:18 am
Hi Jared. Sure, feel free to do that, just have some BCAAs before and after your training. I have a guide to meal timing only site here.
David on April 30, 2016 at 2:28 pm
Hey Eric and Andy, I recently lost 25 pounds of fat using the nutrition book, so first I want to say thank you for producing such a great book. I’m looking to put on more muscle, my question is whether it’s possible to keep from regaining lost weight while eating enough to building muscle. I know that the body fights to maintain a range of fat mass and because I’m below my body’s range that eating in a calorie surplus to build muscle will just cause me to return to my previous body fat levels. I’m wondering how to maintain my fat loss while making progress in the gym or if I’m going to have to settle with keeping calories low to maintain my lower weight and just train to maintain my current muscle mass. Will following the recommended rate of weight gain in the book also work for me who is below their body fat set point and stores fat super easy?
Andy Morgan on May 2, 2016 at 7:25 am
Hi David, thanks for the compliments and question.
“I know that the body fights to maintain a range of fat mass and because I’m below my body’s range that eating in a calorie surplus to build muscle will just cause me to return to my previous body fat levels”
This assumption is incorrect. Have a controlled calorie surplus when you bulk, train hard and the majority of it should be muscle.
This article of mine may help:
• How To Adjust Your Diet To Successfully Bulk
Alex on April 30, 2016 at 12:10 pm
My question is related to “Fat Distribution” :
When the body gains weight/fat after a few days or even a day in a large/er caloric intake/surplus. Say a birthday occasion or weekend away etc.
I notice that the stomach/abs area (being the vital area for men to hold fat) is the first place it tends to show up and appear fluffy, and un-defined. I understand that much of this can be due to initial water retention, however is it possible or true that once back in a controlled/recent surplus state that the fat can/will re-distribute to other areas or will it stay right around the stomach/abs until lost again by entering an extend deficit/fat loss phase ?
I ask because many times I have been in this situation and even by taking away calories form other days in the week to balance the total weekly/monthly energy intake there is the initial fat/weight gain around the abdomen and of course this is not desirable as I aim to gain muscle with minimal fat gain (and require to be “in condition” year round) without having to re enter a period of fat loss/deficit and halt any progress.
Thank You in Advance 🙂
Andy Morgan on May 2, 2016 at 7:24 am
Hi Alex, in men, fat loss generally comes from the top down, with the visceral fat (organ fat) being the first to go. When you regain it, the order is simply reversed. We cannot control it.
rob on April 29, 2016 at 10:43 pm
as far as deloads are concered will one still experience the benefits of supercompensation if they enter a deload week at the begging of a moderately aggressive fat loss phase or mini cut. If so will supercompensation be less optimal or less expressed if in a deficit?
Andy Morgan on May 2, 2016 at 7:10 am
Hi Rob. A calorie deficit is a recovery deficit. A severe calorie deficit is a severe recovery deficit. You can expect your progress to be affected accordingly. Advice: Take your deload as normal when in a calorie deficit, don’t worry about supercompensation theory, don’t set aggressive deficits.
Chris on April 29, 2016 at 6:30 pm
What would be the proper nutrition be for cardio fist thing in the morning ? Some people have to do it this way due to their schedules. What would you do for HIIT and LISS, Does it matter or would it be beneficial to have some protein and a carb before and after? I’m talking 10 minutes after waking up.
Andy Morgan on May 2, 2016 at 7:09 am
Hi Chris. There’s no need to have a pre or post cardio nutrition strategy, this only concerns endurance athletes.
Nick on April 28, 2016 at 7:39 pm
After reading through the books, I want to change my Push, Pull, Legs routine to the intermediate bodybuilding routine as I have been, generally-speaking, plateaued for the last year. My only concern with doing this is that by switching programs (and using the general guidelines for volume) there will be a fairly significant decrease in volume from what I am currently with PPL. I understand that volume will increase over time with the new program but will decreasing volume somewhat significantly by switching programs have a negative effect? Thanks, in advance, for any input you can provide.
Andy Morgan on May 2, 2016 at 7:07 am
“Will decreasing volume somewhat significantly by switching programs have a negative effect?
– Yes, work to match volume when you create your new split based on what you have currently been doing/benefiting from.
Bert on April 27, 2016 at 3:12 pm
Hi, Im not sure if youre still answering questions since I haven’t seen any new ones recently (Yes, I keep my eye on all the questions that come up!).
I have a question with regards to RPE. I understand that this is to be used to gage the intensity of the first set of each exercise, and I appreciate that the sample programs includes these for all exercises in each routine. Does RPE only apply to the first cycle of starting out a routine? Because as you apply more plates with each cycle, the workout becomes more intense, meaning you cant maintain that same level of RPE while applying progressive overload.
Andy Morgan on April 27, 2016 at 4:18 pm
Hi Bert. Yes, once a week from me, once from Eric, until we reach 1000.
Does RPE only apply to the first cycle of starting out a routine? Because as you apply more plates with each cycle, the workout becomes more intense, meaning you cant maintain that same level of RPE while applying progressive overload.
Your body will adapt, so the RPE should be around the same level for each cycle. If it isn’t then you may have too much volume overall and may want to cut back (or you might need to consider the advanced progression options). Unless you’ve been lifting many years very seriously though then the latter probably doesn’t apply and it’s just an overall volume workload issue.
Pete on April 27, 2016 at 3:12 pm
I really like the setup of the Upper/Lower hypertrophy example on page 57. Would there be any negatives to doing that instead of the intermediate bodybuilding sample program?
Andy Morgan on April 27, 2016 at 4:15 pm
Pete, thanks for the question. I’ll leave you some questions to ponder. Why do you like that more? What are the differences? Based on what you have read, why do you feel we have those differences? What may you therefore miss out on? How important are those differences in the grand order of things when you consider the pyramid of importance as a whole?
No need to answer here, but I think that’ll help.
James on April 27, 2016 at 6:45 am
Hey guys is it disadvantageous to put 2 deload trainings (in my case legs and push) into one training when a schedule does not allow to train the 5 days a week? I refer to the intermediate program. Or would that accumulate too much fatigue?
Thanks in advance 🙂
Andy Morgan on April 27, 2016 at 4:13 pm
Hi James. If you’re doing the intermediate program you’ll be using the intermediate progression pattern so your deloads will all occur on the same week.
Const on April 26, 2016 at 7:13 pm
1. I finished reading the nutrition book yesterday and really liked it! Im 16 years old and around 13% bodyfat, sadly I couldnt find an answer in the book on wether I should cut or bulk at that body fat percentage. Ive already maxed my linear gains and my strength levels are intermediate. I am not sure if cutting would be an good idea at my age.
2. Is there any advice in both books that I cant/shouldnt use at my age?
Thanks for taking the time to answer!
Andy Morgan on April 27, 2016 at 4:12 pm
Hi Const, thanks for the questions.
1. Unless you’d describe yourself as fat, given your age thee answer is probably bulk. Make the most of your potential to grow quickly at this point in your lift.
2. None that I can think of in particular.
Matthew on April 25, 2016 at 8:06 am
Does this program tell me how many reps I should go into the gym and hit?
Andy Morgan on April 27, 2016 at 4:09 pm
Hi Matthew. Yes. It’ll also explain why, and how you can tailor programs to yourself over time.
Dan on April 24, 2016 at 4:10 pm
hey guys, just a quick question. My forearms are very small compared to the rest of my upper body. There’s a lot of information out there saying 1) you can’t really grow your forearms much, 2) they need to be trained more frequently (i.e. adding a couple forearm exercises at the end of each workout), 3) rep ranges need to be higher, etc. Anyway, I’ve learned that I can trust you guys and not much else that is on the internet so I was hoping you could touch on good forearm growth strategies.
Great job on the books, read both all the way through and still go back and read pieces from time to time to make sure I don’t develop any bad habits.
Andy Morgan on April 27, 2016 at 4:08 pm
Dan, thanks for the compliments and question. Take a look at people that can lift a lot of weight. Pretty big forearms generally, right? Just focus on getting stronger and growth will come as a natural consequence, nearly always. Forearms are muscles like any other in the body, they don’t need special treatment (rep ranges, frequency, etc.) as per your second and third points.
Primoz B on April 23, 2016 at 2:04 pm
I have a question, since there’s nothing mentioned in the book. What is all the fuss about dairy products during the cut.? Should I remove them from my diet? I eat plenty of low fat Greek yogurt and I was wondering, if it’s possible, that it is causing water retention.
Andy Morgan on April 27, 2016 at 4:03 pm
Hi Primoz. It’s a myth, this is what we didn’t mention it. It might be fun to create a page of myth busting though all listed up for the second edition.
Abby on April 22, 2016 at 7:26 pm
Is it possible to start gaining weight while cutting if calorie restriction and cardio exceed the recommended requirements? Not done on purpose, but I’ve been cutting for 6 weeks now and the past 2 weeks I have gained, but calories are at a more aggressive rate and I just realized I was doing way too much cardio. Thanks!
Andy Morgan on April 27, 2016 at 4:01 pm
Hi Abby. If you’re in a calorie deficit, you won’t be gaining weight over time. However, temporary fluctuations in water weight (or water retention) can mask fat loss. This can happen when we’re stressed (training is a stress also), and it will happen across your monthly cycle. It’s the latter point which is probably the issue. Make sure you’re comparing point for point in your menstrual cycle only.
Ryan on April 22, 2016 at 6:00 am
The exercise book mentions that If an injury prevents you from performing a barbell deadlift variant of any type, a hip hinge variant can be used in its place. What about trap bar deadlifts? I didn’t see them mentioned here or in the book and wondered if they could be used in place of barbell variations or if they have any place in a bodybuilding program?
Andy Morgan on April 27, 2016 at 3:58 pm
Hi Ryan, thanks for the question. Sure, absolutely. Think about it: You get to lift a big ass weight, through a good range of motion. This is good.
rob on April 21, 2016 at 4:20 am
Eric theirs something i seemed confused on. This may sound a bit confusing but not quite sure how to word it. In terms of isolation exercises many refer to them as doing them after compound work and “just getting them in for additional volume” with really no progression plan in place for them. Ive even seen videos of Coach Brad Loomis referring to them in the same way as instead of focusing so much on progressing them we just “get them in for more volume”. I understand its more practical to expect much slower progress but approaching isolation exercises as just getting them in aren’t they basically doing pointless volume or not so much as volumes just a matter of reps at a heavy enough load? i guess what im trying to figure out is can a lagging body part really just be brought up by doing isolation exercises without progression built into them so long as we do enough reps at a heavy enough load and accumulate lots of volume of reps and load with the 8-15 range then really build our progression with the compounds as its more practical? I see many take this approach as they “just do” isolation work to accumulate volume and will muscle growth really just take place even if a double progression etc is not built in and we just accumulate sets/ reps with heavy enough loads?
Andy Morgan on April 27, 2016 at 3:48 pm
Hi Rob, let me take this one.
Yes, that can work, but it may not always work because you may fail to progressively overload without realizing it. So, use of a progression system is a back up to ensure you are.
Think about squatting or any of the compound movements. You can progress by “just doing more” and not really worrying about a progression system for a time right? But the stall becomes more pronounced. This is what most people do when they get in the gym but don’t know what they’re doing.
Michal on April 20, 2016 at 6:19 pm
in the books it says (novice progression):
“..if you go two weeks in a row and do not get your target repetitions, decrease the load
by 10% the next week on the same day. Then, the week after return to the load you were
previously stalled with (see page 39 for example). if you then stall once again, use the
same progression pattern, but start increasing the load only half as much week to week
as you were previously.” – Does that mean that after your first load decrease you also halve the load increasing?
“..repeat the process of increasing, maintaining, or decreasing load based on whether
you get all the reps, don’t get all the reps for one session, or don’t get all the reps for
two sessions in a row, respectively. if you have to decrease load once more, it is now
time to move on to an intermediate approach to training and progression.” – Does that mean that if you decrease load twice IN A ROW (load, same load, decrease, same load, decrease, same load, increase?) , you switch to intermediate approach at that exercise?
Sorry if that sounds confusing.
Andy Morgan on April 27, 2016 at 3:44 pm
Hi Michael, thanks for the questions.
1. To explain by way of example, it means that if you’ve been increasing your squats by 10 lbs each session, and you can no longer do that, then you’ll have a deload for a session to try and fix it. When you stall for a second time using 10 lb increments, you then switch to 5 lb increases.
2. No, it just means when you have to decrease the load for a third time we’d suggest you move onto intermediate progression. Just a guideline though, not a rule.
Hope that helps.
Joe on April 19, 2016 at 9:17 pm
I have two questions
1) In the book when you talk about how the difference in energy expenditure from non-training days to training days is quite small, you say “Meanwhile, if you hadn’t gone to the gym and for that same hour and a half you sat on the couch you would have burned 100- 150 calories”. I’m really confused, how would you burn 100-150 calories just sat on a couch?
2) If you are in a lean gaining phase, if you “borrowed” calories from your workout days and put them into your weekend calories (when you are not training), then surely this would negatively impact body composition over time? Wouldn’t having more calories on workout days have benefits due to nutrient partitioning?
Andy Morgan on April 27, 2016 at 3:38 pm
Hi Joe, thanks for the questions.
1. Just by being alive we burn calories is the point we’re making. If you have a look at the calorie calculations section you’ll see this noted as BMR.
2. It has the potential to do so by impacting recovery ability. / Possibly, but there’s not enough formal research to say so.
David on April 19, 2016 at 5:55 pm
Hey Eric and Andy, do you recommend setting the upper and lower levels body fat for which to juggle our bulks and cuts to remain in based on personal preference. Basically if when I’m bulking and I don’t like what I see in the mirror at around 12% body fat is it good to switch to a cutting phase till I’m back down to 8-9% and just juggle bulks and cuts to remain in the 8-12% range where I feel good about how I look. Basically just stay bulk/cut within the body fat ranges you personally prefer even if the gaining phases are shorter?
Andy Morgan on April 27, 2016 at 3:34 pm
Hi David. As a rough guideline, bulk till around 15-17%, cut till under 10%. Keeping your range so narrow could cripple you making meaningful chunks progress (and assessing that progress objectively).
Jone on April 19, 2016 at 5:23 am
Hi Eric & Andy. I was wondering if I can use double progression om compound movements? Or can I only use it on isolation movements only?
Andy Morgan on April 27, 2016 at 3:31 pm
Hi Jone. Yes. Please control+f this and you’ll see fuller answers in the comments so far.
Alex on April 19, 2016 at 1:13 am
Great work on the books!
If I wanted, could I combine the Push and Pull workouts in the Intermediate bodybuilding routine to make it a 4 day split?
Andy Morgan on April 19, 2016 at 4:43 am
Sure. You’ll need to try that and see how it affects performance and recovery, and you may be better splitting things more evenly across your week.
Tom on April 18, 2016 at 12:24 pm
How much cardio would you recommend as the maximum while in a gaining phase? The cardio would be done just for general health benefits. Thanks!
Andy Morgan on April 19, 2016 at 4:42 am
Hi Tom, thanks for the question. Consider ‘the maximum’ to be the point where the recovery from it affects your training progress.
Lake on April 16, 2016 at 7:01 pm
Hey Eric and Andy, I’m naturally kind of a chubby guy (my body prefers to be around 15%) but I used the nutrition book to get leaner than I’ve ever been (8-9% currently) and frankly in a much easier and more enjoyable fashion than any other approach I’ve tried, so thank you up front. My question is if I’ll be able to maintain this level of leaness when I transition into a lean mass phase and gaining at the rate you suggest or because I’m below my body’s set point will I have to accept gaining the fat back too make any gains in muscle. Ideally I’d like to stay in the 8-12% body fat range while gradually building mass at the rate you suggest but I don’t know if it’s realistic given my genetic predisposition to a higher body fat to expect to remain lean even when following your guidelines on rate of weight gain. Basically should I expect to remain lean year round following the books advise?
Andy Morgan on April 19, 2016 at 4:40 am
Hi Lake. Some fat gain when bulking is inevitable to make clear progress. I’ve written an article exploring different methods of bulking and their fat gain rates that you may find useful here:
• How To Adjust Your Diet To Successfully Bulk
Moe on April 16, 2016 at 12:12 am
Hey, i asked a few questions a while back and you guys really helped me figure out my maintenance and surplus calories to the most precise # possible. Thank you for that! I just need help with cutting information. I couldnt find it clear how to START my cutting process. I began by 250cals below maintenance now if i go by the book and start at 5%bw loss and slowly progress to 1%bw loss? Or is it the other way around? So do i start with 1 cardio session a week and work my way up to the 1% or do i start with like 7 cardio sessions and work my way down to 5%. I dont understand this and if i could get a clarification that would be greatly appreciated. Thank you all for what youve done!
Andy Morgan on April 19, 2016 at 4:38 am
Hi Moe, have another read of the calorie setting chapter, it’s covered there.
Terrence on April 13, 2016 at 2:50 am
Hey Eric and Andy, once I’m satisfied with my overall development would you recommend eating at the advanced lifter rate of weight gain to bring up weak points and stay lean? Basically use the rate of weight gain protocol for advanced lifters as a sort of “maintenance mode”
Eric Helms on April 15, 2016 at 8:40 pm
We recommend the guidelines for gaining for advanced lifters for muscle gain in highly experienced individuals. If you want to just maintain then eat at maintenance.
Blake on April 13, 2016 at 12:49 am
Hey Andy and Eric, I greatly enjoy the nutrition book and it has helped me reach lower body fat levels easier than I ever have before. My 2 questions are
1)how much fat gain is reasonable to expect when gaining weight at the rate you recommend for your training experience
2) how long should that gaining phase last before transitioning to fat loss?
Eric Helms on April 15, 2016 at 8:43 pm
So glad to hear it!
1) impossible to say quantitatively due to individual differences and because the effectiveness of training has a huge impact on this.
2) again depends on the individual, what they are comfortable with starting body fat and how much fat they gain in the process. A minimum ratio of 4 to 1 for time spent in a surplus vs deficit is something I generally recommend to prevent people from constantly trying to cut.
Xaiver on April 13, 2016 at 12:17 am
Hey Eric and Andy, I loved the nutrition book, my question is that I’ve been lifting weights for more than 3 years but have been off and on with my nutrition(trying and failing to lose fat and get abs lol) would I be considered an advanced weightlifter because I very been consistently lifting 3-5 days per week and challenging my muscles very hard (didn’t track workouts just used weights that caused me to fail within the 6-12 rep range, weight lifted to stay in that rep range naturally went up over time)
Eric Helms on April 15, 2016 at 8:45 pm
Probably not to be honest if you haven’t had much structured direction to your training.
Karlie on April 13, 2016 at 12:05 am
Hello there. I emailed this but thought maybe a comment was a better idea. I purchased this guide not realising that it isn’t really aimed at overweight people.
Is the amount of protein suggested the only thing to alter? Should I still be adding in a refeed day if I am overweight (35-40%bf female)?
I’m hoping I can still get use out of the two guides. Thanks so much
Eric Helms on April 15, 2016 at 8:47 pm
A once per week refeed is still appropriate for psychological reasons for most people. Additionally you can target a faster ratw of weight loss initially. Say 1.5% of bw per week. As you get leaner and in the high 20’s of bodyfat percentage you then should shift to slower loss rates and consider using refeeds as prescribed in the book as you get leaner. Good luck!
william on April 12, 2016 at 6:10 am
first i would like to say thanks for making these books, great job! and secondly I noticed that the advanced bodybuilding program only has around 112 reps for back per week, why is this? i thought there might be some overlap with deadlifts but if I’m not doing deadlifts should i add some more sets or reps in so i can get it closer to the 200 reps per week?
Eric Helms on April 15, 2016 at 8:54 pm
The reps include the volume from deadlifts. And I don’t know how to answer your question “why is this?” You could ask that question about the number of reps for any body part in any of the 6 sample programs. Feel free to train as you see fit if you think the sample programs are not set up the way you want to train.
Mark on April 12, 2016 at 3:03 am
Hey Eric and Andy, I greatly appreciate your nutrition book, it has helped me immensely. My question is when to switch from a lean gaining phase to a cutting phase? The book didn’t talk about how and when to juggle your lean gaining and cutting phases. It did mention mini cuts for advanced lifters but didn’t say how to implement them. Should I lean gain until I notice my abs fainting and then mini cut and repeat?
Just confused on juggling the 2 phases to remain as lean as I can through my bodybuilding journey.
Eric Helms on April 15, 2016 at 8:55 pm
Mark I answered this a moment ago in a previous question. Use ctrl f and search for 4 to 1 ratio.
James on April 12, 2016 at 2:49 am
Hey Eric, what’s the ratio of fat to muscle gain one should expect when following your rate of weight gain recommendations? Also I’ve heard the term “gaintaining” used in some videos but never talked about in the book or videos about what it is and how to implement it, is it just the rate of weight gain you recommend for advanced lifters?
Eric Helms on April 15, 2016 at 8:56 pm
James I’ve answered this question previously in the comments here please use the ctrl f function to search the page
Michael on April 12, 2016 at 12:12 am
Most credible resources recommend avoiding exceeding 15-20% as nutrient partitioning begins to worsen compared to leaner body fat percentages. For skinny fat individuals, Eric mentioned in this FAQ to perform a bulk until a good base of muscle is built, then a cut.
Is it more optimal to cut or bulk if the individual is skinny fat at 20% body fat and low LBM/FFMI, if their goal is to maximize strength?
As far as I know, the issue with cutting here is that there will be little benefit on the low LBM, the issue with bulking is a worsened nutrient partitioning and recomping yields slow results outside of newbies.
Thanks a ton, and thanks a ton for the great work with the muscle and strength pyramids. They are by far my favourite resource now on training and nutrition and have helped me a lot.
Eric Helms on April 15, 2016 at 8:58 pm
If you are on the border of bodyfat levels of bulking or cutting just choose whichever you’d like to pursue and do it effectively.
Andy Morgan on April 19, 2016 at 4:35 am
Hi Michael, thanks for the question.
It all depends on how skinny the skinny fat person really is. For some there is no real point in cutting. I haven’t been able to draw clear line in the sand on it.
Bert on April 11, 2016 at 4:57 pm
My 2nd time around reading the training pyramid book. P. 37, “… do enough volume to progress and only to increase it when progress has plateaued.” Is this statement referring to a more dramatic increase in volume by adding sets or reps, as opposed sticking with the same routine with gradual increase applied by progressive overload?
Eric Helms on April 15, 2016 at 8:59 pm
It’s referring to adding reps or sets or days of additional training not increasing weight on the bar.
Andy Morgan on April 19, 2016 at 4:32 am
Hi Bert, thanks for the question. Yes. When you’re are to make gradual increases in load, then you’re progressing anyway.
Scott on April 11, 2016 at 5:36 am
This relates to Johns question: Are the wave loading and isolation progression schemes performed twice a week( two sessions)? Or once a week? If once a week, what is done for the same exercise on the other session? I’m somewhat confused. I’m assuming it is one session because page 68 states the fourth workout is a deload day. Thank you for clarifying
Eric Helms on April 15, 2016 at 9:02 pm
Treat each day independently from other days even if the exercise is the same for progression. Deload are for entire weeks.
Adam on April 11, 2016 at 2:59 am
1.I realized in the training book when talking about progression, Eric explains the main type of progression (for the 6-8 range for example) would be get 100lb for 10, next week 105lb for 9, 110lb for 8 then deload and start over at depending on the person but most likely at 105lb for 10…my question is if that is considered linear progression, would it also accomplish the same thing if someone were to start at 110lb for 8 reps, then the next week do 110 for 8, then 110 for 9, and so on until they reached 10 reps and then added weigh and dropped the reps down to 8 and continued in this manner.
2. If that progression is just as good and accomplishes the same results, how would someone deload using that style of progression?
Eric Helms on April 15, 2016 at 9:03 pm
You are describing double progression. Which is covered in the book.
william pirrie on April 10, 2016 at 6:07 am
First i just want to say thanks for making these books, it has really helped me!
And my question is that i noticed in the advanced bodybuilding program there are roughly 110 reps for back per week, and i thought there would be an overlap if i was doing deadlifts which would mean that the total 110 would be higher but im not, i swapped them for a RDL. and i know that the 70-210 are just guidlines but i feel i would need a slightly higher stimulis for back growth seeing how i was doing roughly 250-300 reps per week, so i was thinking of adding some more volume in to my program maybe getting my total weekly back volume to around 200 reps. So i was just wondering whats your take on this? and if i were to add more reps, how should i go about doing it? so just add sets or an exercise?
Eric Helms on April 15, 2016 at 9:06 pm
The reps for back includes deadlifts and this is not the place for individual programming questions. Just because you used to do a lot of volume for your back doesn’t mean you need that much to progress and yes 70 to 210 is just a guideline and these are just sample programs.
Tom on April 10, 2016 at 3:20 am
In the intermediate bodybuilding routine, could I just follow the double progression model for every exercise including compounds? I would only add weight once I hit the top of the rep range with all sets. Deloads would still be every 4 weeks with 2 sets of the minimum reps in the rep range (same as in the double progression example in the book)
Andy Morgan on April 11, 2016 at 3:02 am
Hi Tom, thanks for the question.
You certainly could, but as a general rule you want to use the progression system that allows for the fastest progress you can adapt to.
Scott on April 9, 2016 at 4:40 pm
Does the purchase of the Ebooks include both versions(apple and windows) or is it only one format?
Andy Morgan on April 11, 2016 at 3:01 am
Hi Scott. The books are PDFs so they will work on both.
Jonathan on April 9, 2016 at 9:55 am
Theme: Physique maintenance
Let’s say I’ve attained my goals, and I want to maintain my physique:
1) How do I manipulate volume, intensity and frequency for such?
2) How do I manipulate energy balance and macro-nutrient targets (mainly protein) for such?
-Protein is very very expensive where I live, however, I can comfortably hit roughly 0.5g/lb of body weight daily. My question is this:
3) If one cannot hit the range of protein recommended in the book:
-Does it mean that one cannot built muscle and increase strength?
-Is it that one can, but at a slower rate?
-Is it that one can at a slower rate but will eventually hit a ceiling?
-Finally, if the answer is yes one can, but at a slower rate, is there an intake threshold below which progress is impossible and as such training is essentially a waste of time/futile, but above which progress can be made? What would that threshold be?
Andy Morgan on April 11, 2016 at 3:01 am
Hi Jonathan, thank you for the questions.
1. By this, assuming you mean, “How do I find the minimum level of training I can do and still maintain my physique?” – then it just comes down to trial and error. Reduce VIF while measuring yourself and keeping your diet constant to gauge whether you are progressing, regressing or maintaining. Two articles over on my site that may be useful:
• How To Track Your Progress Like A Pro, To Ensure Body Composition Goal Success
• Stress: In The Gym, Out of The Gym, and How it Affects Your Program and Progress
2. If you mean to ask what the minimal amount of protein you can get away with eating is, then that’s trial and error also.
3. The third option. The bigger you get, the more you need just to maintain. On a related note, whey protein, though a big up-front cost, is generally the cheapest way to get protein per gram, chicken breast can be close second. Though this depends on the country, generally this is how is it for the developed economies.
4. This hasn’t been studied that I know of. There will be individual differences anyway so personal experimentation is key.
Jonathan on April 11, 2016 at 11:26 am
Thanks for the reply. I have been experimenting (not for long though) with regard to sufficient protein. I have been making progress in my compound movements, but at the back of my mind I wonder if its just improved neural efficiency as opposed to muscle hypertrophy. I guess I will have to continue for a period of months and see what happens, because I presume at some point muscle will be needed as opposed to merely neural adaptations.
1) Any further thoughts on this, or am I thinking correctly?
The reason I asked about volume is because earlier I saw Eric recommend maintaining volume when cutting, then only as the cut advances, reducing it a bit. However, I’ve seen others like Lyle Mcdonald recommend doing 1/3 the volume with greater intensity more like a strength routine, also for cutting. So I presumed that the protocols that work for cutting should work for maintenance.
Per your recommendation, I will use trial and error, and if I see my intensity and volume improving or staying the same, then I know I’m doing well. If it is regressing, I will cut the volume.
2) Is that about right?
I do purchase whey, but its expensive. What I pay for 5lbs of a well known brand of protein, with that same money (the US equivalent), I would have been able to purchase the 10lb if I were in the US. Food is expensive as well.
Thanks again for the responses, and more importantly for these books. There is so much conflicting information out there and no context as to order of importance, and for the longest while I just wished someone could hand me a blueprint that if I followed could get me to my goals without all the information overload. These books are exactly that. I feel like I could stop researching training and nutrition information so often, and now actually direct my energies to right training and right eating. Thank you.
Andy Morgan on April 19, 2016 at 4:30 am
1. You’re thinking correctly.
– Sure, I live in Japan. Expensive here too.
– Most welcome Jonathan!
Jonathan on April 11, 2016 at 11:48 am
So I responded before I checked out your links. After checking them out I know what to look for in terms of tracking progress.
Andy Morgan on April 19, 2016 at 4:30 am
Ok good to hear.
jason on April 8, 2016 at 6:38 pm
Is there a certain proportion of your daily protein intake that should come from complete protein sources? I find that the trace amounts of protein in carb sources can add up quite quickly, and was wondering if this is a problem.
thanks in advance
Andy Morgan on April 11, 2016 at 2:46 am
Hi Jason, thanks for the question. As long as your diet is varied it won’t be a problem as the foods will all complement and “complete” each other, if that makes sense. Kind of like buying 50 children’s jigsaw puzzles of the same type, each with one piece missing, you’ll be able to make complete sets.
Alex on April 7, 2016 at 9:27 pm
Oh and one more question:
Is there any benefit (when lean gaining) to picking a specific number of fat grams in the 20-30% range? For instance, what is the benefit of aiming for, say, 25% of calories from fat, as opposed to just trying to stay in the 20-30% range?
Eric Helms on April 7, 2016 at 10:37 pm
Alex, in the offseason, I like to use the analogy that you are walking on a wide foot path, version during a hardcore cut or contest prep you’re tightrope walking. You have much more flexibility in your macros targets for what will produce optimal results when your bodyfat and glycogen levels are higher and I think a variety of intakes can work just fine. So, to answer your question directly, if your protein and calories remain consistent but your fat macros (and subsequently your carb macros) fluctuate within a 20-30% range on a day to day basis, there is no absolutely no downside to that.
Alex on April 7, 2016 at 9:24 pm
Hi Andy and Eric,
First just want to say the books are exactly what I have been looking for as a recreational lifter. There is so much broscience out there that it got so frustrating trying to separate fact from fiction, but your books contained absolutely everything I was searching for. Thanks so much for sharing your knowledge.
My question is regarding protein intake. In the books, Eric recommends 0.8-1.0g/lb when in a lean gaining phase, but in the video series he recommended up to 1.2g/lb when gaining, Also, Lyle McDonald recommends taking protein up to 1.5g/lb when gaining muscle. Is there any chance of protein above 1.0g/lb providing small benefits?
Also how important is maximising muscle protein synthesis? I’ve read that consuming about 2.5g leucine in about 4 protein rich meals spread roughly 4 hours apart is “optimal” for building muscle, but this isn’t discussed much in the book. I have no issue spreading my protein intake throughout the day, but aiming for specific numbers for leucine etc may get a bit stressful.
Eric Helms on April 7, 2016 at 10:40 pm
Alex you’re very welcome, and if I thought a very specific intake of protein outside of the ranges I provide would help, of course I’d recommend them. Anywhere in the range of .8-1.3g/lbs is appropriate for almost everyone. I make the additional recommednation of using the lower end for gaining, the upper end for dieting as this may help with satiety, energy expenditure, mood state, and potentially performance and body comp over the long term course of a diet. As far as MPS, this takes care of itself if you eat within this range and consume an appropriate number of meals per day (per the books recommendations) and split your protein roughly between meals.
Ronnie Courville on April 6, 2016 at 8:57 pm
I am interested in buying the nutrition pyramid ebook. Once we purchase the ebook, are we able to print out the pdf? I would much rather have a hard copy to read.
Andy Morgan on April 7, 2016 at 7:51 am
Hi Ronnie, we haven’t set any restrictions in the PDF on printing it if that’s what you mean. We’ve had quite a few people tell us that this is what they have done, binding them.
Kristiyan Atanasov on April 6, 2016 at 10:50 am
A quick question: I am currently on a muscle gain diet and I am reading the book about nutrition. I would like to calculate my maintenance calories using this method: Finding Maintenance By Tracking Weight & Food Intake Over Two Weeks. How am I supposed to track this as I am already manipulating my diet which would result in chage of bodyweight (I am on muscle gain diet)?
Please advise me on how I should eat during the next 2 weeks so that the results from this method would be accurate. I mean should I keep my muscle gain diet or should I change something and if yes – what?
Thanks in advance. 🙂
Andy Morgan on April 7, 2016 at 9:29 am
Track your intake over two weeks.
Note your average weight gain over the two weeks per week.
Multiply that by 3500 to find the number of calories you are currently over each week.
Subtract that from your weekly calorie intake total, divide by seven.
That is your approximate maintenance calorie intake.
Kristiyan Atanasov on April 7, 2016 at 2:50 pm
Thanks for the clarification! Should I multiply 3500 by the average weight gain in kg or in lbs? (I am from Europe)
Andy Morgan on April 8, 2016 at 5:07 am
3500 for lbs, 7200 for kilograms. Sorry for the lack of clarity. You’ll probably recognize these numbers now from the Energy Balance layer of the Nutrition Pyramid.
Billy on April 6, 2016 at 9:01 am
My question is, if I change exercises each mesocycle would this be optimal? For e.g flat bench, incline dumbbell month 1
Incline bench flat dumbbell month 2. I’ve always stuck to the same exercises and focused on getting stronger but a comment by Mike Isratel mentioned that you can get blunted affects with exposure to the same stimulation.
Andy Morgan on April 7, 2016 at 9:26 am
Hii Billy, thanks for the question.
There’s a balance to be had. Sticking rigidly to the same exercises all your training career isn’t going to be optimal. Having too much variation in your training program won’t either, as you’ll lack the specificity needed to get good, and the objectivity needed to assess whether you’re progressing (tracking will become troublesome, as will comparisons). You can and probably should vary your exercises/your variants of the main lifts, but unless what you’re doing isn’t working, I wouldn’t do so within a mesocycle.
Thomas on April 6, 2016 at 6:27 am
Whenever I try to type in a percentage in “fat intake” (I might try “40”, “40%” etc.) I just get an error message. What am I doing wrong?
Freddy on April 5, 2016 at 8:34 pm
I have two questions (sorry if they’ve been asked before):
1. On page 54 it says “Volume shouldn’t increase session to session, week to week, or even month to month!”
I am very confused by this statement.
Why should volume not increase? I thought progressive overload is important and that it will inevitably increase volume!?
Adding one rep to a set or one pound would already increase volume or am I misunderstanding something?
2. On page 48 it says “Some people discuss frequency as if it’s a stimulus in and of itself, but it’s not. Frequency is a way to organize your training […]”
Does that mean I could train my lower body on one day and train it the next again because the placement of the 2nd lower body doesn’t matter? Because of the fatigue from the first lower body day my performance would decrease and that would decrease volume on the second day.. so I guess the placement in a week of training is important.
Andy Morgan on April 7, 2016 at 9:23 am
Hi Freddy, thanks for the questions.
1. This needs to be written to be clearer. Volume will increase over the course of a training career as you progress, however it won’t necessarily increase from session to session, week to week, or month to month, because you’ll have elements of periodization in your programming.
2. That’s right. I think you answered your own question there. 🙂
Freddy on April 7, 2016 at 9:04 pm
Thanks for the reply, Andy!
Regarding the 2nd question:
I still don’t fully understand how frequency is not a stimulus.
From what I’ve understood a 2-3x/week frequency is a necessity because as we advance in our training careers the volume per session increases to a point where it can’t be completed in one workout. That’s why we train muscle groups multiple times per week.
But if frequency is not a stimulus would a full body program 4x per week with low volume on all days yield the same results as an upper lower program (volume matched)?
Eric Helms on April 7, 2016 at 10:41 pm
You exactly explained how frequency is not a stimulus…rather, it is an organizational tool to use once volume per session gets too high. That is why when volume does not need to be as high, early in a lifters career, it is likely that an upper lower 4x/week split would be just fine, and then later on in a career a full body approach with less volume per session but more volume per week might be needed.
Andy Morgan on April 8, 2016 at 5:10 am
Have a thorough re-read of the VIF layer Freddy, it’s all inter-related.
Thomas Fogarty on April 5, 2016 at 3:50 pm
I’m on the 4th week deload of my first accumulation block for the advanced bodybuilding program. So as an example lets say I bench 200×10 week one 205×9 week two and 210×8 week 3. I deload to 2 sets of 200×8. After the 4th week deload do I start another accumulation block where I do 205×10? or do I move to an intensity block where I would do 210×9?
Eric Helms on April 7, 2016 at 10:44 pm
You can do either the intensity block, or you can repeat the accumulation block and try to use slightly heavier loads, neither is wrong or right just depends on the situation and where you are in your competitive cycle.
Wojtek on April 5, 2016 at 3:09 pm
Hello, is it possible to pay by transfer instead of the paypal or credit card?
Andy Morgan on April 7, 2016 at 7:49 am
Hi Wojtek, yes, you can do it through Paypal. When you go through the checkout it will appear as an option. If you have any difficulty just check their support pages.
John on April 5, 2016 at 2:08 am
I’m a little confused on the on the intermediate de-load example given on the page 69 of the training book. In that example, every forth training session is de-loaded. Is this in addition to de-loading every 4 weeks?
Eric Helms on April 7, 2016 at 10:44 pm
They are one in the same, the four workout comes on the fourth week.
Daniel on April 4, 2016 at 6:30 am
In the “Progression” section of the Training Pyramid book, the progression pattern for intermediate trainees with compound
movements calls for dropping the rep target by 1 rep each week for the 3-5, 4-6, and 5-7 rep ranges. (provided there is a concurrent 5-10 lb increase in load week to week).
What about the 1-3 rep range? This is in reference to Day 2 of the intermediate powerlifting sample program (which I am really enjoying and making good progress with btw – THANKS!) – stick with 3 reps from one week to the next, or drop it to 2 and then 1 for each subsequent week (again, assuming there is a concurrent 5-10 lb increase in load week to week).
Eric Helms on April 7, 2016 at 10:47 pm
Check out the actual sample intermediate powerlifting program in the back of the book, it shows the %1RM range for 1-3 reps of 82-87.5%. You’d use 82% for triples, 85% for doubles, and 87.5% for singles. That can help you approximate what type of load increase you should use for the 1-3 rep range while decreasing reps.
Daniel on April 18, 2016 at 4:42 am
Thanks Eric! However am I right to state that the %1RM range is only valid for the first week of using this program? Because unless I do a 1RM test every week, increasing the load by 5-10lb every week will take me out of the %1RM range pretty fast.
If that’s the case is there another way to get a better idea of what load increase/rep decrease combo I should use after several consecutive weeks into the training?
Andy Morgan on April 19, 2016 at 4:45 am
Hi Daniel. The %1RM is the initial guide, use the progression rules combined with RPE there after.
Max on April 3, 2016 at 10:37 pm
Hi guys, I’m following the recommendations from the nutrition book for fat loss while following the intermediate bodybuilding template but with a little less volume.
I’m only a couple weeks into my fat loss phase, but I have a problem that I frequently get light-headed, especially during workouts. My strength is good but my work capacity feels like it’s gone to crap – only a few sets in and I’m feeling gassed. I’m not enthusiastic for the gym like normal, and though my mood is good, I’m lacking my normal spring in my step.
So my question is: is getting light-headed and having a (dramatically) reduced work capacity indicative of anything in general, such as too few calories, a macro imbalance, or not eating enough prior to training (I tend to eat most of my cals at night)?
Andy Morgan on April 7, 2016 at 7:48 am
Max, thanks for the question. It could be a few things. Here are some questions to ask yourself:
– Is the overall workload too high?
– Are you breathing properly during your sets.
– Have you been taking deloads?
– Are you sleeping well?
– Are you currently under a lot of stress?
– Is the calorie intake too low?
– Is the carb intake too low?
– Have you been dieting for a long time without a break?
– Does your diet lack variety? (I.e. Could this me a micro nutrient deficiency issue?)
These are the most obvious ones that spring to mind now.
Josha on April 2, 2016 at 5:26 am
When switching from a powerlifitng goal to a bodybuilding goal should you swap outright such as go from intermediate powerlifter plan to intermediate bodybuilding plan Or would it be better to switch to the novice bodybuilding plan since the volume of reps is a lot more in the intermediate bodybuilding plan compared to the intermediate powerlifting plan?
Andy Morgan on April 7, 2016 at 7:45 am
Hi Josha. As the frequency of the barbell lifts is much higher in the PL program, I’d gradually transition between the two. I wouldn’t jump from one template to another per se.
Joshua on April 7, 2016 at 8:29 pm
Awesome thank you for the reply and helping us all out.
Andy Morgan on April 8, 2016 at 5:08 am
Most welcome Joshua.
Pingye Yang on April 1, 2016 at 6:20 am
First I would say a big thank you for offering these two great books, I leaned a lot and finally got a logical structure of training. I heard you from Lyle and he also did a great job showing these knowledge.
But I still have many questions about training, so it’s gonna be a long one. And all the question would focus on hypertrophy but not strength.
– About the balance of life and result for a natural bodybuilder.
1.1 How difficult to maintain result for a intermediate or advanced bodybuilder? I heard from Lyle that one third frequency and one third of total reps per training is enough for maintain muscle mass even while dieting. So is that true for any level bodybuilders? If I gain a level of muscle mass which I feel happy with, could I just do such 1/9 total volume to maintain my result, and recover the total volume when I feel wanna get bigger again?
1.2 How difficult to rebuild muscle mass which have been damaged occasionally before? Assume I gained 15lb mass, and lose 5lb of them during some lone-run event, and wanna have that 5lb back. I guess it should be much easier to regain that 5lb than for the first time, am I right? Is there a reasonable method to regain mass?
– About Fatigue and Recovery
Is fatigue a concept for whole body or just one or some muscle group? Is there any article about different kine of fatigue related with training? And with more importance, can we just rest some muscle we care less to maximum the training effect for other muscle group we care, for less muscle trained should cause less whole body fatigue.
– About Volume
3.1 If the volume (let’s just say a single muscle group like bicep) is the factor that should be consider first (if adherence has no problem), what the exactly volume it is? Volume per workout, per session or per week? Which volume should be considered first or most affective.
3.2 If we just train a single group let say bicep, does the “increase zone for volume” enlarged compared with multi muscle group or full body training? Say could we progress faster on upper body if we stop training lower body?
3.3 How does intensity relate with volume? If I don’t put on more load when I get stronger, am I actually lower the volume but not maintain it? If so, I thought it would be so complicate to increase volume by just manipulate intensity, and the only simple way to increase volume is to increase the total reps per week. Am I right?
3.4 What is your recommended flexible volume space? I have seen Lyle’s General Bulking Routine, every exercise in that routine have 1 set flexible space, and I can choose to do 1 set more or less at every workout depends on my feeling that day. So the volume flexible space is about 25%-33%. Does the volume swing in that percentage ok?
Thank you for reading, you are books are so great!
Andy Morgan on April 7, 2016 at 7:41 am
Pingye, thank you for the compliments. Please refer to the comment rules, this is not fair use.
Pingye Yang on April 7, 2016 at 8:05 am
Thanks for than Andy, would tell me which rules should I adjust on? I’d be pleased to do that to get even a little part of the answers. You wrote great books, but clearly there were much content could be more logical. I just want to complete the structure in my brain, and now it lacks of many stuff.
Zack Kaplan on March 30, 2016 at 1:46 pm
In regards to the comment left by Mr. Morgan directed towards “Jone”, this appears rude. This person purchased you’re product and is looking for your expert opinion. I hold this company, the employees, and products in the highest regard. Please remember you’re talking to a person just trying to better themselves and honestly seeking help not an annoying email with subpar grammar.
Andy Morgan on April 7, 2016 at 7:40 am
Zack, I see your point entirely.
Here is my policy: When people take the time to write in a way that shows care, I will show it back. In this case Jone didn’t (he wrote three comments, the last two in quick succession without bothering to check what he had written), and I called him on it.
The result is that he rephrased his two comments into one, I understood it, and I was able to answer.
Jone on March 30, 2016 at 10:54 am
I train every muscle group twice a week. If i am following the “intermediate compound movement progression”, should i increase load every week, or every training session?
Andy Morgan on April 7, 2016 at 7:31 am
If you are able to do so every every session then do that.
Anatoly Rapoport on March 30, 2016 at 8:00 am
In chapter “Adherence” paragraph “Flexibility When Stree is High” you wrote that auto-regulatory methods will be discussed in following chapters. However except of taking deload week when you feel fatigued I can’t find any reference.
Can you point me to a right place inside the book there those issues discussed?
Eric Helms on April 7, 2016 at 10:49 pm
We also discuss a study on flexible nonlinear periodization, whereby you train your hard days when you feel well recovered, and you leave the easier days for when you feel stressed, and we also talk about the RPE scale which can help you automatically adjust load based on how you feel on the day of training. Both are useful methods.
Anatoly Rapoport on April 9, 2016 at 7:02 am
David on March 28, 2016 at 2:23 am
Perform 2/3-3/4 of your volume in the 6-12 RM range, and the other 1/4-1/3 in the lower rep higher intensity (1-6 RM) and higher rep lower intensity ranges (12-15RM)
what does the 2/3-3/4 and 1/4-1/3 stand for ? I’m so confused
Andy Morgan on March 30, 2016 at 10:16 am
Hi David, sorry for the lack of clarity:
Two-thirds to three-quarters, and one-quarter to one-third respectively.
Chris on March 27, 2016 at 11:42 am
I purchased the books, and I absolutely love them! Thank you for such informative books, highly recommended.
One question, I follow an upper/lower split, with an additional arm day. My split looks like this right now..
Day 1- Lower (Squat focused)
Day 2- Upper (Bench focused) *Chest and Back work
Day 3- OFF
Day 4- Lower (Deadlift focused)
Day 5- Upper (OHP focused) Antagonist paired sets
Day 6- OFF
Day7- Bicep/Tricep work
My question is, is an arm day really needed? I’m 6’6″ @ about 235, chest is a weakness for me, so on my first upper body day, I really try to hit it hard. Flat bench, incline db, incline hammer strength, cable crossovers or pec dec to finish and these are all paired with a back movement. I’m not sure if doing another incline movement is just overkill or not, but I find I really like to hit my upper chest to give it a fuller look, if that makes sense? I usually avoid decline and aim for either flat or incline movements on my chest.
When I considerable the pulling I am doing throughout the week, and then an added arm day on top of that, sometimes I find my biceps tendon a little aggravated.
Should I keep the arm day, or spread it out over the upper body days?
Andy Morgan on March 30, 2016 at 10:15 am
Chris, sorry but asking us to critique your routine is something we explicitly stated we won’t do in the comment rules. It will open Pandora’s box.
Junior on March 27, 2016 at 9:51 am
Hey, I have a quick question. more so just curious.
Throughout the course of an accumulation block the goal is to increase work capacity by increasing volume. Why In the powerlifting advanced accumulation block, in the sample programs, does volume decrease and intensity increase over the course of the block? Isn’t this more of what you’d expect during an intensification block. Or is this block looked to be run multiple times in succession to have a wave-loading effect.
Eric Helms on April 7, 2016 at 10:50 pm
The individual blocks are higher volume relative to the intensity blocks, but they are ran in a linear periodization format (volume decreasing as intensity increases), however, when you look at mutliple macrocycles, your volume blocks of say, last year or earlier in the year will be lower in total volume, even though within the block volume is decreasing.
Lee on March 25, 2016 at 6:47 pm
My question is in two parts. 1, I’d like to understand what is the optimal protein intake in one meal sitting to maximise MPS. 2, what happens to excess protein over the amount utilised for MPS?
Andy Morgan on March 30, 2016 at 10:09 am
Hi Lee, thanks for the questions.
1. Have a re-read of Level 2 – Macronutrients and Fiber.
2. It’s utilized for other body functions. Your body cares more than just about muscle growth.
Andy on March 25, 2016 at 5:37 pm
Just wondering if your planning on making a version 2 or if you plan on creating a proper cutting plan/techniques regarding training, nutrition and peak week and how to achieve the “dry look” and how it may differ between males and female? Just a thought.
Andy Morgan on March 30, 2016 at 10:06 am
Hi Andy, we will be making a second edition and thank you for the feedback/suggestions for it.
Stanton A. on March 25, 2016 at 1:31 am
1. Why does volume have to decrease while in a cutting phase
2. How often should you switch up exercises during the intermediate bodybuilding program. for example if you start off doing hammer curls how many weeks or month should you stick with those before moving on to preacher curls?
PS. Love both the nutrition and training books.
Andy Morgan on March 30, 2016 at 10:05 am
Hi Stanton, THANKS FOR THE QUESTIONS.
1. It doesn’t have to, though there may be a point where it would be best to do so as recovery ability from the stress of training is hampered in caloric deficit. More in this article by Greg Nuckols on my site:
• Stress: In The Gym, Out of The Gym, and How it Affects Your Program and Progress
2. Every 4-8 weeks minimum, while being careful to not let that mask your objective measurement of progression. This is a could, not a should. Often with clients, if everything is progressing fine and they are happy/enjoying things then I won’t mess with their routines.
youri on March 23, 2016 at 11:20 pm
Firstly I would say that these 2 books are great! They provide a broad scientific-based knowledge base for both training and nutrition. My questions is as follows: Do you also provide a guide where the exercises are technically explained ?
thanks in advance,
Andy Morgan on March 30, 2016 at 9:59 am
Youri, thanks. No, we don’t currently. Have a look in the resources section at the back of the book for recommendations.
Steven on March 23, 2016 at 4:13 pm
There is one area I still need some clarification on, and it involves soreness. I had been going about training wrong until I purchased your books by doing extremely too much volume and high frequency. Now that I’ve adjusted volume based on the book, I rarely get sore like before. Could this be I’m recovering better or need to push it harder in the gym? I know soreness doesn’t mean a good/bad workout but I should atleast feel it somewhat, correct?
Andy Morgan on March 30, 2016 at 9:56 am
Hi Steven. Not necessarily, though that could be a sign you can handle more volume overall to make faster progress.
Abby on March 23, 2016 at 10:15 am
My question is in regards to the deload week and cardio. Should cardio be cut back or kept in low, low/mod (HIIT avoided) during that week as well to reap all benefits or does this not matter?
Andy Morgan on March 30, 2016 at 9:55 am
Hi Abby. If it’s low intensity it can be kept.
Oliver on March 23, 2016 at 9:07 am
Whats the reason for not using linerar periodisation in the higher rep ranges for compounds. Isn’t a periodiodizet programm superior to a simple double progress planed programm? (Intermediat/Advanced) For example
Week 1: 3×12
Week 2: 3:10
Week 3: 3×8
Week 4: deload
Do you generally recommend a lower RPE on Hypertrophie Days and a higer RPE on Strenght Days? If yes, why? For example 1 Hyper/1 Strength Day per Week
Week 1: 4×6 @8.5
Week 2: 4×5 @8.5
Week 3: 4×4 @8.5
Week 4: deload
Week 1: 3×12 @7.5
Week 2: 3:10 @7.5
Week 3: 3×8 @7.5
Week 4: deload
Eric Helms on April 7, 2016 at 10:53 pm
Oliver I don’t quite understand your question, we do recommend the 12, 10, 8 drop in rep range with increasing load, that is linear periodization. The only time we recommend double progression for the most part is the 12-15 rep range with isolation movements, because even a 5lbs increase in load (often the minimal amount you can jump) is too much when dropping from say 16, to 14, to 12 reps. Imagine you did 20lbs for 16 reps on curls, if that was near max, you might have trouble doing 25lbs for 14, and then 30 for 12. So it may be easier to build reps vs load. It comes down to practicality.
Thomas Fogarty on March 23, 2016 at 2:10 am
Sorry I have another question. I’m following the advanced bodybuilding routine. On strength day on the last two days of the week say it calls for 4 sets of 6 could I progress by keeping that same rep range and simply add weight? or keeping the weight the same but doing 4 sets of 7? also is it necessary to deload every 4 weeks? or is it okay to deload every 8 weeks?
Andy Morgan on March 30, 2016 at 9:53 am
Hi Tomas, thanks for the questions.
1/2. Both will work.
3/4. The 4 weeks is just a guideline, but this will differ from individual to individual. If you’re doing fine with 4, try every 5 or 6, but don’t jump to 8. Make sense?
Jone on March 23, 2016 at 12:35 am
16 years old. If on a pull day i’m doing DL 3*6, One arm dumbell row 3*10, lat pulldown 3*10, rear delt flyes 3*12, shrugs 3*12 and a couple of bicep exercises, and doing all of this twice a week, is it too much volume?
Andy Morgan on March 30, 2016 at 9:50 am
Hi Jone. All depends, have a thorough re-read of Level 2: Volume, Intensity, Frequency.
Tom on March 22, 2016 at 3:36 pm
If I were to use the 8-12 wave loading progression for compound lifts used in the intermediate bodybuilding routine, should I reduce the amount of sets by 1?
Andy Morgan on March 30, 2016 at 9:49 am
Hi Tom. If you feel that level of volume is too much then you could do that, or you could modify the progression scheme slightly to include the extra sets.
Bj on March 22, 2016 at 2:55 pm
Thanks a lot Andy. I bought ur book too, read the whole thing. I like how you illustrated the book instead having an endless wall of text. Keeps a readers attention and the info was awesome.
Andy Morgan on March 30, 2016 at 9:48 am
Thanks Bj. We’ll look to put some more images in the Pyramid books when we come around to the second editions.
Matt on March 22, 2016 at 2:48 pm
Hi guys, question about progressing from the beginner to intermediate bodybuilding templates. I’ve found the heavy upper day to be unsustainable for me – it’s a brutal grinder for me and without insanely long rest breaks, I can’t complete 5 sets of Bench at the intensity prescribed (at least not the week of 5s); and then the percentage I need to use to complete OHP afterwards falls below what is suggested.
Would the way forward be to decrease volume by reducing the number of sets while keeping the intensity as written, or is it better to keep the volume as written and decrease the intensity, and work back up to the weights I had been using doing the lesser volume beginner routine?
Andy Morgan on March 30, 2016 at 9:47 am
I’d make some small modifications to both.
Marc on March 22, 2016 at 2:31 pm
I briefly overread someone mention above the implementation of cardio into a regiment along with caloric intake? Adding cardio for the purpose of additional caloric expenditure, is it required to ‘re-add’ those calories back in?
In a basic example, someone decreases their cal intake 500cals spread over 7 days which equates to 3500. When adding additional cardio above that, is it recommended to add more food back into your intake to maintain ‘caloric balance’? Or just Disregard it and continue forth with the deficit
I hope it made sense (somewhat)
Andy Morgan on March 30, 2016 at 9:46 am
If your target deficit is 3500 weekly, and you achieve that by diet alone, and then you add in cardio, your deficit will be higher then your target and you’ll need to add some calories back into your diet. If you wish to create a calorie deficit via food restriction and cardio then you can. Have a thorough re-read of Level 1, Energy Balance.
Cristi on March 22, 2016 at 12:37 pm
The nutrition book doesn’t seem to touch on this so … what are your thoughts on carbs & fats separation for certain meals?
In a nutshell, having no starchy carbs starting with breakfast and then as the day goes by, eating them around training for a training day and having them in the second part of the day for an off day.
If the calories and macros are in place, food choices are good for micros, will this add some benefits? Is there a case where this can be a good approach if one’s on a diet, a bulk or maintenance?
I see this recommended by some knowledgeable guys and wanted to know what your thoughts are.
Any resources you recommend with more info about it?
Andy Morgan on March 30, 2016 at 9:41 am
Hi Cristi. There was an old myth that it would make a difference, that didn’t pan out in the research. Some people/organizations were slow to correct their guidelines which is why the idea unfortunately lingers.
Tulik on March 22, 2016 at 7:51 am
Bench press every training session (4 times a week) :
I’m doing intermediate bodybuilding program 4 times a week, and my bench press is very weak, my question is – can i bench press every training session (1-2 sets) just to increase my bench press weights and get stronger at it?
Andy Morgan on March 22, 2016 at 8:47 am
Hi Tulip, thanks for the question.
See the decision tree on page 75.
Regarding frequency, that’s just about organizing the volume you have in a week. Have a thorough re-read of the Volume-Intensity-Frequency chapter and how they are inter-related.
bj on March 22, 2016 at 1:40 am
I read both books and plugged in all my info into the nutrition calculator, but i had a question about adding cardio in and raising calories to compensate.
If i add in in 150 calories of cardio 3x a week, which is 450 cals total. Do i get to eat…[deleted]
i might be overthinking this, but its driving me nuts.
Andy Morgan on March 22, 2016 at 8:45 am
Hi BJ, thanks for the question. I’ve removed the parts which are irrelevant, your calculations, which we said in the comment rules we aren’t prepared to look at.
If you’re doing cardio with an energy expenditure of 450 calories, and you wish to maintain the calorie balance, then you need to add back in those 450 calories with food. You can do that on the 3 days you burn 150 calories, or spread it across your week (450/7), or eat it all on the one day, doesn’t really matter a great deal.
Jarri on March 21, 2016 at 8:41 am
Hi Eric and Andy,
Deloading this week and had a question related to it.
For isolation exercises where we use double progression, if I’ve managed to increase the weight during the four weeks, do I implement the deload with this new weight or choose the lowest weight I used during the cycle?
Week1: 100lbs x 8, 8, 7
Week 2: 100lbs x 8, 8, 8
Week 3: 105lbs x 8, 8, 8
Week 4:100lbs x 6, 6, 6 or 105lbs x 6, 6, 6?
Andy Morgan on March 22, 2016 at 8:41 am
Hi Jarri. Neither. 100 x 6,6.
See the top of page 69.
Jarri on March 22, 2016 at 11:33 am
I mistakenly wrote 6, 6, 6 when I meant 6, 6. The confusion was over the weight since the example for double progression on pg 71 shows the same weight being used over the 4 weeks. But from your answer, I guess the rule is to choose the lowest weight used in the cycle for your deload.
Andy Morgan on March 30, 2016 at 9:40 am
Perfect, good to hear.
Rizani on March 20, 2016 at 11:16 pm
first let me thank you for your amazing work!! Really appreciate it! So my question is: DMAA (DMBA) causes a false positive for amphetamines in drug-tested sports competitions and should not be used by athletes being moderated by a drugs ethics association. As incautious as I was i bought a booster with DMBA (I didnt even think of that or just didnt care). And by time my passion for Bodybuilding got bigger and bigger and I seriously consider competing in the distant future. So will there be any problems when I do want to start competing?
Andy Morgan on March 22, 2016 at 8:37 am
Thanks Rizani, appreciated.
Regarding your question, this is something to check with a doctor and the federations you’re looking to compete in.
rob on March 20, 2016 at 6:34 pm
I have posted this comment several times but it seems to go away so i dont know ifnaomethings wrong with how im leaving it but hopefully it goes through this time.
Eric/Andy does there see something wrong with this macro splitup and protein consumption in terms of not enough whole protein ..i understand fat is low but enjoy a higher carb intake for the activity and training.
meal 1 ~60c 6f 30P (protein from whey powder)
meal 2 ~240C 10F 120p (90 protein coming from vegetable and starch and the rest from chicken)
meal 3 ~135 C 15F 70P (20 protein starch rest from eggs)
total macros ~440C 35F 230P @150 lb bodyweight and more or less maintaining weight (which is quite odd in my opinion to be maintaining weight on this or slightly hovering between 150-153ish but have maintained consistent here for quite some time)
i feel as if protein is way to high based on body weight but meal 2 is the one that really don’t want to adjust for adherence issue and if protein is pulled from other meals then most protein is from vegetables and starch which is probably not optimal in my assumption.
and to further clarify this is accurate as the macros are directly off the bag and the vegetable is broccoli in meal 2 and its calculated correctly.. i understand its a large vegetable consumption but i enjoy some large meals.
also excuse the long comment jus wante to clarify.
Andy Morgan on March 22, 2016 at 8:36 am
I’ve been deleting it Rob. See comment rule 2.
Paul C on March 17, 2016 at 12:53 pm
I’m 5’2, currently at 145.6 around 12/13% bf down from 164 at 24/26% bf.
I’ve been at 1500 calories because of my size and how short I am.. Losing about 1.5/1.8lbs a week.
Does this caloric intake sound about right for someone my size?.. and would you have any recommendations for future caloric intake to bring my bf% to 8/9%?
Eric Helms on March 20, 2016 at 5:01 am
Paul consider this a warning for rule breach. Please note the rules of asking for help on individual setup and “is this right?”.
Secondly, you are not following the weight loss guidelines in the book which we recommend.
Harry on March 17, 2016 at 9:45 am
There’s no guidance regarding implementing techniques like dropsets, giantsets, pre/post exhaust etc.
Do these techniques have their place within a natural trainee’s programme?
Would you include them just like any exercise – managing volume across the week?
The books are great, this is the first time cutting I’ve actually felt like I’m coaching myself intelligently and really making progress, not blindly trying different things.
Eric Helms on March 20, 2016 at 5:07 am
There is a reason they aren’t included. Tracking volume using these techniques is hard and they are based on the assumption that fatigue and damage are primary mediators of hypertrophy, which they are not. Can they be effective? Yes. But they aren’t necessary and are hard to quantify.
And that’s fantastic to hear!
Martin on March 16, 2016 at 8:32 pm
in the video example for your client Scott, you mention that you recommend 0.9 – 1.3 grams of fat / kg of LBM. In your example, this would mean a daily average of about 73 grams of fat.
If I use the suggestions from the Nutrition Pyramid, I would have a range of 0.5g / kg of total bodyweight (physical minimum) up to 25 % of your total daily calories. Again, using your example, this would add up to a range of 45g (physical minimum) to 59g of fat if I didn’t make a huge error in my calculation. *
Is there any reason you are recommending a much higher fat intake than the Nutrition Pyramid recommends?
(* My calculations are based on Scott’s initial bodyweight of about 90kg and initial daily calory intake of about 2100, assuming he has 3 training days and 4 rest days).
Andy Morgan on March 22, 2016 at 8:33 am
Hi Martin. In the Nutrition Pyramid we talk about ‘absolute minimum intake’, in the video and on my site I talk about ‘recommended minimum range’.
Bert on March 16, 2016 at 2:34 pm
For vegetarians, are there any general nutrition recommendations that are not mentioned in the book? For example: perhaps a higher role of BCAA supplementation, or higher daily protein intake due to relatively inferior absorbability of vegetable proteins? or anything else? Thanks.
Eric Helms on March 20, 2016 at 5:04 am
Yes, creatine and beta alanine supplementation is recommended more highly as creatine and carnosine are only present in meat. A multivitamin is as well. Zinc and iron (especially in women) are more likely to be deficient. I would recommend blood work ideally.
Ryan on March 16, 2016 at 6:18 am
As someone else mentioned, I think it would be incredibly helpful to have excel spreadsheets based on the books sample programs to track periodization and progress available somewhere.
Eric Helms on March 20, 2016 at 5:08 am
I don’t disagree and we considered this but not everyone has excel which is why we opted for the online calculator for the nutrition book and the tables in the book. Don’t want people who are without excel to feel like they are missing out.
Zachary Kaplan on March 16, 2016 at 1:28 am
when cutting, what progression plan should I attempt to utilize for the intermediate lifter? I feel it is not likely to continue to progress or even possible retain complete strength levels while losing weight over 3-4 months.
Andy Morgan on March 16, 2016 at 2:10 am
Hi Zach, good question. We’ll include a note on this in the next edition, for now I’ll take this answer from my book, ‘The Last Shred’.
What Are Reasonable Expectations For Training Progress When Cutting?
Recall from part ve that it is possible to gain muscle mass while in a calorie de cit, but our ability to do so decreases with training advancement, severity of the caloric de cit, and leanness.
For bodybuilding, typically the early phase (say the rst third) of a contest prep diet you can keep volume about the same and still progress. Then during the second third there should probably be a reduction in volume of about 15-25%, and then if necessary another reduction during the nal third of a similar magnitude. To put that another way, in the rst third you’ll still gain muscle mass, in the second third you’ll plateau, and then you’ll make some small losses towards the very end, but ideally you will break even.
For powerlifting it will be a similar story to the bodybuilder, except with two key di erences. Firstly, there will be no “latter third” with muscle mass losses as the powerlifter does not need to reduce body fat to the same extreme level as the bodybuilder. (Powerlifters will rarely go under 10% body fat, but bodybuilders need to be around the 5-6% mark to be competitive even in natural divisions nowadays, thanks to modern day conditioning bandits like Alberto Nuñez.) Secondly, the latter half of the powerlifter’s cut can go hand in hand with a periodized plan (e.g., linearly periodizing by tapering volume and increasing intensity/load) to get gains in strength to peak for their meet without necessitating muscle gain.
Regardless of the category of trainee, deloads should be kept in at a regular pace (every four weeks) and not skipped. If someone is fairly new to lifting, or coming back from a break from training, they can expect to make progress for a longer.
Zachary Kaplan on March 16, 2016 at 9:16 pm
Should I switch from the type of progression? I found that I could not maintain progress with linear progression and thus went to double progression still maintaining RPEs and with very slight reduction in volume.
Andy Morgan on March 22, 2016 at 8:34 am
Jen on March 15, 2016 at 12:46 pm
This question pertains to the females out there who used this books. Since we have a menstrual cycle, what methods would you recommend we go about to track weight? Obviously there are more weight fluctuations for female bodybuilders (females in general) due to water weight gain during certain periods of our cycle. Do you think weight tracking is the best method for females? Or will it cause us to think we are not making progress, or change our macros prematurely? Thank you in advance.
Andy Morgan on March 16, 2016 at 2:06 am
Do you think weight tracking is the best method for females?
Yes, you just need to compare the same time points in your cycle when looking at your tracking data.
Harry Smith on March 15, 2016 at 9:48 am
Hi Eric, Andrea and Andy!
If you could answer that would be great.
1) The training pyramid doesn’t give any advice on trying to bring up a lagging body part and integrating that into a programme. How would someone structure a program to emphasise / bring up a lagging body part?
Years of bro splits left me with baby quads and duckling lats.
2) Eric, your vid with Matt Ogus discussing recovery dieting was great it really helped me out.
You mentioned learning to love your offseason physique – that the goal is trying to gain fat ASAP when in a recovery diet. I know it is very specific to each individual but do you have any advice regarding structuring macros for this period of the recovery diet – is there any research in this field that could answer my questions for me?
All the best,
Andy Morgan on March 16, 2016 at 2:05 am
1. Do more.
2. Check out this podcast.
Harry on March 17, 2016 at 9:31 am
Thanks Andy, the podcast was great
Andy Morgan on March 22, 2016 at 8:34 am
Glad to hear Harry. 🙂
Hamza Mahmood on March 15, 2016 at 2:01 am
Hey guys! I still consider myself a novice but was thinking if I could us Wendell’s 5/31 or Smolov Jr (7/5/3) as an intermediate. I am not sure if these two programs are categorized as linear periodization. I would love if somebody can clarify the type of progression used in these programs.
Andy Morgan on March 16, 2016 at 2:04 am
Please see the fourth comment rule Hamza.
Edwin Samaniego on March 14, 2016 at 7:53 pm
How can I regain my password for my calculator for macros
Andy Morgan on March 16, 2016 at 2:01 am
See the first listing in the resources chapter Edwin.
Andre on March 14, 2016 at 4:32 pm
I’ve noticed that with the 2-3 week frequency recommendation for each bodypart,all of your sample programs are allowing for 48 hours rest at minimum before you train the same muscle group again. I was curious if it was suitable to train the same muscle on back to back days.
Let me explain my reason for asking and provide some context. I do all of my training at my home but go to a local gym once per week on the weekend because I like some of the equipment they have for back. There is also a chest Fly Machine there which targets my pecs extremely well.
So my question is, Do you think it is suitable to train chest on Saturday (at home) and follow that up with 2-3 sets of Flies (at the gym) on Sunday and then have another Chest day on Tuesday or Wednesday, later in the week?
I would assume this is acceptable because the chest volume is low on the Sunday workout and I’ve always seen Layne Norton programs where he trains the same muscle either twice in the same day or back to back days as does the Russian Smolov programs. However, I just wanted to get your take on this.
Andy Morgan on March 16, 2016 at 1:59 am
Thomas Fogarty on March 14, 2016 at 4:03 pm
I have a question I just stared the advanced bodybuilding upper/lower routine. I know you mentioned about now having ab exercises In there but I do like doing some ab exercises like the hanging leg raises. Could I do the hanging leg raises after my lower body workout? i just don’t want to fatigue my lats for the following day
Andy Morgan on March 16, 2016 at 1:55 am
Hi Thomas, think of it like this.
If you do them do you find your lats fatigued the following day? More importantly, does this hamper you from training as intended on that day? There aren’t any yes or no answers here, it just comes down to diligent self experimentation.
Bert on March 14, 2016 at 3:24 pm
So weighing yourself every day and averaging throughout the week should take care of daily fluctuations. What about fluctuations on the weekly averages? Should you be able to see a nice progressive increase or decrease at this level?
Andy Morgan on March 16, 2016 at 1:54 am
Hi Bert, thanks for the question.
It’s still normal to have fluctuations but the trend should be clearer.
Matt on March 14, 2016 at 1:48 pm
Finished the Nutrition portion of the 2 part book (Muscle and Strength Pyramid). Amazing info!
I am finding that many Protein powders list the BCAA totals, but rarely include a breakdown. Was hoping you could thumbs up/thumbs down a few that have adequate Leucine content. Or simply offer insight on validity to ON’s Platinum Hydrowhey? Much appreciated!
Andy Morgan on March 16, 2016 at 1:52 am
Sorry, this has to be down to you Matt. We can’t be responsible for recommending specific products.
Jay on March 14, 2016 at 11:08 am
I had a question regarding protein intakes for a somewhat enhanced athlete. One of my older friends has just started on testosterone replacement therapy due to low levels and he asked me what his protein intake should be. As he is not doing it for a cycle and rather therapy he is injecting 1ml per fortnight. He said he’s just wanting to maintain and/or get slightly leaner. Do you think his requirements for macros (namely protein) be a little higher as his levels will soon be elevated?
Andy Morgan on March 16, 2016 at 1:51 am
Hi Jay. As the dose your friend is taking is there to push him into the normal physiological range, not beyond, I’d go with the recommendations as they are.
David on March 14, 2016 at 5:55 am
I followed the 2 week maitenance calorie calculator method you provided in the nutrtion pyramid but between my 2 weekely averages i lost 1.2 pounds. Would i mulitply 3500 by 1.2 or how should i equate with that number? Thank you so much.
Andy Morgan on March 16, 2016 at 1:50 am
Hi David. Yes, multiply by 1.2. However as the drop is quite high a better option would be to wait another week to rule out water/glycogen fluctuations, then do the math from there.
Abby on March 13, 2016 at 7:00 pm
I have 2 questions in regards to the “nutrition-aid” section/support section.
1. Under energy balance, it mentions “low day”. Is this only 1 day and then a 1 refeed day (which was recommended). Are the other 5 days “normal cutting calorie days”? Or is it 6 low days and 1 refeed days?
1b. If I leave out the number of refeeds, it gives me a certain calorie number for the low day, but if I put in 1 as recommended, it gives me a completely different number. Is there a reason for this? Should I leave the refeed number out? Or keep it in? (Hopefully this makes sense)
2. Under macronutrients, it says there is a minimum of 22.5% fat, but in the book it says anywhere between 15-25%. Is this based on my weight/calorie range/activity level? I’m confused on why it won’t let me use 20%, what I would like to put. But want to follow the correct guidelines.
Eric Helms on March 20, 2016 at 5:17 am
Abby I am assuming you are referring to the calculator not the book itself. You might want to read fully through the book before using it and these answers will become apparent. The book recommends 1 to 3 refeeds per week depending on how lean you are. The calculator automatically selects 1 2 or 3 based on bodyfat entered but you can manually adjust it. Low days are all the days of the week that aren’t refeeds. So 6 low days if there is 1 refeed 5 if there are 2 refeeds etc.
And the book also mentions a fat minimum of .5g/kg regardless of percentage of calories. So it won’t let you go below that.
Paul C on March 13, 2016 at 4:50 pm
I was just wondering…
Is there a specific place we can place our results due to having the knowledge of the two books? Like a ‘book success’ page of some sort?
Andy Morgan on March 16, 2016 at 1:48 am
No, but that’s a good idea. Let me make a page and I’ll get back to you in a reply Paul.
Paul C on March 16, 2016 at 2:05 am
Andy, also, was looking to see if you’d agree with my calorie intake.. Sounds horrible but, I’m at 1500 since I’m 5’2.. Dropped from around 22/24% body fat to 13ish, just to see if I can make it. I have about 8 more weeks to my cut, do you think 1500 is too low? It’s been constant and I’ve been losing around 1.5/2 lbs a week
Andy Morgan on March 22, 2016 at 8:27 am
I just made this page for testimonials.
As for your question, please see comment rule 2.
Ainsley Martens on March 13, 2016 at 4:01 pm
1. Is it safe for an overweight individual to lose weight at a faster rate than already fit individual. If so, what rate (how many pounds per week) would you recommend?
2. What are your thoughts on having a different set of macros for rest days and for training days? How would you go about calculating this?
3. If you have a client who is experiencing things like low energy levels, having bad workouts, not sleeping well, very hungry or not hungry at all, would you make macro adjustments for things alone/ what adjustments would you make? How would looking at the data influence that decision (making progress, or not making progress)?
Thank you 🙂
Andy Morgan on March 16, 2016 at 1:47 am
Hi Ainsley, thanks for the questions.
1. The more fat that is carried, the quicker it can be lost without muscle mass losses. However, sustainability is key. This is the reason for the 1% of bodyweight per week upper limit guideline.
2. Sure, you can do that. Maintain the weekly calorie balance, have more on the training than the test. Thoughts and calculations are on my site here.
3. I’d instruct them to have a diet break while we figure out the reason. Could be that the energy intake is too low, the training volume too high, a high level of stress, poor sleep environment or not getting into bed early enough. I wrote an entire book on this, but you can get the short course here.
Hope that helps.
Marc on March 13, 2016 at 10:22 am
On page 85 of the strength pyramid book (which refers to how to progress on the strength days of the daily undulating periodization periodization scheme), it says: “you can use linear progression on your strength days such has been outlined previously for intermediates, or you can run through this cycle in longer blocks and test every 5-6 rotations (8-10 weeks) after a taper.”
I don’t understand what you mean by ‘or you can run through this cycle in longer blocks’. What progression scheme are you actually following (on the strength days) as you’re running through the cycle? Is it still going to be a linear periodization type of progression where you increase the weight at the same time as dropping the reps? But if so, how can you follow that progression scheme for 8 weeks whilst only deloading after 8 weeks – your rep range would be massive (like, from 10 reps on week 1 down to 3 reps on week 8)…?
Basically, how do you actually progress on strength days of DUP if you chose to ‘run through this cycle in longer blocks’?
Eric Helms on March 20, 2016 at 5:20 am
Marc for actual week by week examples of how to run longer progression cycles of DUP just take a look at the advanced powerlifting and bodybuilding sample programs at the end of the book.
Marc on March 20, 2016 at 11:46 am
Thanks for the reply.
I think there is a slight discrepancy between the accumulation block of the advanced bodybuilder sample program (seen on page 161) and the guidelines for the accumulation block in the ‘integrating block periodization’ section (seen on page 81)?
On page 81 it says that you should increase reps done per muscle group throughout the 6 week accumulation block, whereas on page 161 the reps done per muscle group actually decrease throughout the accumulation block.
On page 81 it says that the accumulation block should last for 6 weeks, whereas on page 161 it lasts 4 weeks only.
On page 81 it says that the frequency of hitting each muscle group should increase from week 4 onwards, whereas on page 161 this doesn’t happen (since the block ends on week 4).
I realize that the program on page 161 is a sample, but I’m confused since it doesn’t seem to be following the rules previously outlined for the accumulation block on page 81? Especially since the guidelines on page 81 state that the reps per muscle group should increase as the accumulation block goes on, yet the example on page 161 shows the opposite…
And, if you were to follow the guidelines on page 81 and thus increase reps done by 10 reps per muscle group per week (for the first 3 weeks of the accumulation block) – does the weight stay the same? You just literally add in 10 reps with the same weight each session? For example;
Week 1: squat, 200lbs x 3 sets x 10 reps
Week 2: squat, 200lbs x 4 sets x 10 reps
Week 3: squat, 200lbs x 5 sets x 10 reps
Is that right?
Eric Helms on April 7, 2016 at 10:54 pm
Marc, the sample programs can’t break the rules earlier in the book, because the book doesn’t provide rules 🙂 Both accumulation blocks are perfectly fine approaches to training. Remember the goal of this book is to learn how to program not to think there is only one way to do it.
Marc on April 7, 2016 at 11:33 pm
OK, great and thanks for the reply.
But could you let me know the method by which you’re meant to add in the additional reps if using the accumulation block progression outlined on page 81 (whereby you add 10 reps per muscle group per week)? Firstly, I’m assuming those 10 additional reps should be at the same load as the working sets?
This is not a personal question, I’m asking this as an example to understand how you’re meant to add sets and reps: what if you’re doing sets with reps that are not divisible by 10 – for example, sets of 7 reps? To add the additional 10 reps on subsequent weeks, would you add additional sets of 7 (until the next set of 7 reps would give you more than 10 total additional reps over last weeks session), then if necessary tack on one more set of however many reps it takes to make the number of additional reps (over last week’s rep total) equal to 10?
Week 1: (200lbs x 7 reps x 3 sets) = 21 reps
Week 2: (200lbs x 7 reps x 4 sets) + (200lbs x 3 reps x 1 set) = 31 reps
Week 3: (200lbs x 7 reps x 5 sets) + (200lbs x 6 reps x 1 set) = 41 reps
Week 4: (200lbs x 7 reps x 7 sets) + (200lbs x 2 reps x 1 set) = 51 reps
Eric Helms on April 15, 2016 at 9:08 pm
It’s per bodypart not per exercise. And if you are off by 2 or 3 reps it doesn’t matter so long as the principle of increasing volume in a stepwise fashion is being followed. This is not math there is not a black or white right or wrong answer.
Steven on March 13, 2016 at 2:01 am
Have a quick question regarding biceps. All of my back work involves straps and a thumbless grip. Since this limits the biceps in the movement to a degree, would it be ok to add in direct bicep work on the advanced bodybuilding program? If so, how much would you recommend, especially if arms are a weak point?
Andy Morgan on March 16, 2016 at 1:41 am
Absolutely. Not meaning to be vague here but however much is needed. Start with the recommendations, and add from there if necessary.
Casper Kristensen on March 12, 2016 at 7:50 am
Thanks for the answer Eric. How long do you recommend to stick to the same exercise? Fx if I choose pulldown for vetical pulling exercise for 4 weeks (including deload), should I change the exercise here or can I stick to the same for another 4 weeks?
Eric Helms on March 20, 2016 at 5:13 am
At least 4 weeks stay the same. I typically have athletes stay with the same accessories for roughly 8 weeks or so.
Mark A. on March 11, 2016 at 11:37 pm
Just an anecdotal account of this, I noticed with myself I lost a bit more upon returning to a deficit with higher calories as opposed to returning to my previous macros prior to the diet break.
Last time I resumed dieting with the same macros, my hunger was through the roof and weight was stalled along with measurements.
I hope a second follow up question is okay if you have time…. Being a follower of other 3DMJ athletes and their training protocols, how would you implement a ‘deload’ with regards to one that is training with an auto regulated program such as RPEs?
Any rough guidelines you suggest?
Again thank you for the quick response!
Eric Helms on March 20, 2016 at 5:13 am
For sure happy to help and always better to diet on more calories if able.
And for sure, typically I reduce RPE a full point on the scale and reduce volume by one third.
Joshua on March 11, 2016 at 1:28 am
I was just wondering what days you recommend putting the additional 2-3 sets of 8-15 reps of bi, tris, and hamstring curl when addin it to the intermediate powerlifting program as seen in the dual athlete part.
Eric Helms on March 11, 2016 at 10:41 pm
Whichever days you have time to fit them in, they shouldn’t interfere much with the main lifts.
Josh on March 16, 2016 at 4:39 pm
Awesome thanks so much for the confirmation. Keep up spreading the truth.
Eric Helms on March 20, 2016 at 5:02 am
You are welcome!
Tulik on March 10, 2016 at 10:54 am
I’m doing bodybuilding program with wave loading progression for compound movements, and basic/double progression for rest of the exercises, every 4th week it’s a deload week by the book.
The question is, i should to deload for all exercise in my training program, or just do it for compound movements?
Eric Helms on March 11, 2016 at 10:40 pm
Albano on March 10, 2016 at 4:01 am
The book is available in Spanish?
Eric Helms on March 11, 2016 at 10:40 pm
No, the book is only available in English at this time.
Junior on March 9, 2016 at 10:38 pm
I’m really enjoying the book, It’s very handy to have all this information conveniently organised at your fingertips. You guys & Andrea have done an excellent job.
I just have a few queries regarding advanced powerlifting programming.
When running back-to-back accumulation blocks how would you suggest increasing maxes between blocks? Adding 2.5kgs-5kgs to your max before the next block, or AMRAP testing at the end of first block then using that to estimate maxes for the subsequent accumulation block.
Also, would you suggest a deload after AMRAP testing, or performing AMRAPs @8-9RPE to ensure you’re not to beat up and can just right into the next block.
I’m really looking forward to running the advanced tapering approach outlined in the sample programs I’ve always been afraid of doing too much or too little on meet week and this looks spot on.
Eric Helms on March 11, 2016 at 10:44 pm
Junior, thank you for the kind words, and honestly, great questions. It can work both ways in either instance and will come down to the individual. If you can be sure to complete all prescribed volume in an accumulation block after increasing maxes by 2.5-5kg and you know you won’t be hitting failure a lot or risking missed reps, you can run two accumulation blocks without testing. OR, you can do AMRAPS, not necessarily a right or wrong answer. And if the week following the AMRAPs has sufficiently light loads, and you won’t be near failure, the AMRAPs shouldn’t put you back too far. However some people get pretty beat up from maxing and they might benefit from a deload, but AMRAPS to a ~9RPE can sometimes solve this.
Alex on March 9, 2016 at 7:07 pm
Would the novice bodybuilding routine be suitable for someone relatively new to the weight room, with only a couple of weeks spent on technique and light weights? Or is it intended more for someone who has gone through a ‘proper’ beginner routine before?
Eric Helms on March 11, 2016 at 10:45 pm
If your technique is solid and you can lift in a safe manner, you could start it, but that’s not most people after only being in the weight room for a couple weeks, you might want to give it another couple weeks of ingraining form before jumping in.
Casper on March 9, 2016 at 2:01 pm
Hi guys. Just started the Intermediate Bodybuilding program. When choosing exercises, it is better to stick with the same exercise for several weeks and it is better to switch? Should you choose the same vertical pulling exercise for both “upper” and “pull” or can you choose to differents?
Eric Helms on March 11, 2016 at 10:47 pm
Keep it the same within the day, but you can have different movements on each day if you’d like. Read the exercise selection level/chapter if you want more info on the potential pros/cons, but it likely won’t make much of a difference.
Freddy on March 8, 2016 at 7:16 pm
I really liked your ‘Muscle & Strength Training Pyramid” series on YouTube, Eric!
I’m thinking about buying both books but was wondering if the books (and the sample workout programs) address athletes like football or basketball players or if the books are more for bodybuilders and powerlifters.
Of course I understand that the information and principles can be applied by any athlete but just wanted to know if the books address athletes like football players specifically.
Eric Helms on March 11, 2016 at 10:48 pm
They only address bodybuilding and powerlifting directly as sports, but of course the principles apply directly to anyone who desires gaining strength or muscle mass.
Mark A. on March 8, 2016 at 6:31 pm
My general question is if you could give an example of how to re enter a dieting phase after a diet break… Does one resume the same deficit and previous macros or can one start a deficit at a higher intake prior to the diet break!?
Eric Helms on March 11, 2016 at 10:49 pm
Good question, you might be able to diet on higher calories than before after a diet break, or, if you were stalled you might be able to make progress on the calories you were at previously when you were stalled. I would just try going back to where you were, and if you lose too fast you can always increase calories a bit.
Aditya on March 6, 2016 at 2:45 am
I was following the novice progression scheme and things were going great. I completed a lower body (LB1) and an upper body (UB1) session in the week that just passed on Monday and Tuesday respectively. But, I fell horribly ill on Wednesday and couldn’t train till Sunday (today). I missed my LB2 and UB2 workouts. I should be fine by tomorrow (Monday) to hit the gym again. Should I pick up where I left off by doing the LB2 and UB2 on Monday and Tuesday and then continue? What about the progression numbers? Should I go ahead with the five/ten pound increments on the weights for various exercises? Or keep the weight the same as the previous week just for this week? Or should I recalculate my 1RM?
Andy Morgan on March 8, 2016 at 6:01 am
Hi Aditya. When sick, just pick up where you left off. Shit happens. You weren’t in the middle of a carefully planned phase to have you peaking for a competition, so don’t overthink it.
Sam on March 5, 2016 at 4:13 pm
First off, love the books, they’re really helpful.
Secondly, I was wondering if you could help me out. Per the guidelines in the book, I’ve definitely passed the intermediate level. I’m not in a position to progress my lifts week to week, but I can’t say for certain I’d be able to hit the gym 6 days/week to train consistently. So I feel given the base of the pyramid is adherence, that the advanced bodybuilding program isn’t appropriate, but there’s no way I can progress my lifts weekly. I quite like the layout of the intermediate program, do you have any recommendations for adapting this for an advanced lifter that can’t train six days a week? Possibly doing 3×4-6 on the heavy days for three weeks and a deload, and then 3×3-5 maybe followed by some testing? Or would rotating the main lifts be a possible solution, or maybe a combination of the two?
Thanks for the help.
Eric Helms on March 8, 2016 at 9:38 am
Sam, you certainly don’t have to use the exact templates. And even the intermediate level you don’t really make progress on a week to week basis. With the wave loading as set up, you really only increase the load for the same number of reps every 5th week. My advice, is just start with the intermediate approach or something similar, and see how you fair. If you stall out on the progressions in a couple months, the you can try an approach where you organize your lifts in an accumulation->intensification setup with testing AMRAPs every ~8 weeks or so. Check out the progression chapter for an example of how to do it, and set something up that fits your schedule
Frank on March 5, 2016 at 2:47 am
My bad if this was covered and I just missed it, but why is having separate high intensity days and dedicated medium/low intensity days better than a mix every day? Basically, I see a lot of programs that start with a main lift at high intensity, and then followed by assistance work, but you guys obviously have reasons for why you organized the week the way you did, but I’m not sure I understand why that’s preferred?
Eric Helms on March 8, 2016 at 9:40 am
Frank you’ll notice there is actually a mix of both in the programs. Not sure if you’ve looked through both the bodybuilding and powerlifting programs fully. But, more so what is important than separating intensity/rep ranges, is simply ensuring you have days that are lower in stress comparatively to the high stress days so you can ensure recovery across the week before you go into the days where you need to be at your best to push loads close to your limit.
Matt on March 5, 2016 at 2:40 am
In terms of progressing from one program to the next, I assume that when progress halts while in a calorie deficit, even following a couple deloads as prescribed in the book, it doesn’t make sense to progress to the next level, correct (e.g. beginner to intermediate)? Do you just keep deloading and trying again, focusing on at least maintaining performance, until the diet is no longer restrictive?
Andy Morgan on March 8, 2016 at 5:59 am
The workouts templates are examples of how you might go about organizing your training, a starting point if you’re struggling fro ideas. We don’t want you to jump from the one to the other, build your own by adding volume and/or exercises to keep yourself progressing based on the principles within the book.
Andy Cowan on March 4, 2016 at 5:59 pm
Been Considering these e-books but just wondering if there was a great deal about cutting for a show? Where to keep carbs at.. Front load or back load or stay the same for week out. or does it depend on where your at? how much carbs the day of? Water retention… how to you get it out of the skin for the “Dry look” is it achievable for the physique athletes not on Roids? male or female, can they achieve the dry look. More interested in the cutting procedure as i have a good background with in exercise science and weight training (current fitness director, Personal trainer, Kinesiology grad) just the nutrition part when getting close to a show is what i’m struggling with. Big fan of you guys and Jacob Wilson. Also fallow Ogus (give him a Some credit for when i buy. But again does the E-Book cover this in detail or do you have another one regarding Cutting/Pre-show (2 or 3 weeks out) Thank so much!
Eric Helms on March 8, 2016 at 9:55 am
Andy, this book is all about setting up a diet and individualizing it, but doesn’t go into the specifics of peak week if you’re looking for that specifically. You’re welcome!
Blake on March 4, 2016 at 5:17 pm
When the book says 10 min of HIIT what exactly does that mean? Is it 30sec on 30sec off for 10 min, 10 min of the max effort intervals or some other permutation?
Eric Helms on March 8, 2016 at 9:45 am
The book actually gives estimated calorie burn for 10 minutes of vigorous activity rather than HIIT. And there isn’t necessarily a one size fits all approach for HIIT or one that is definitely better than the other. You have a lot of choice here, 1:1 ratio of work to rest can certainly be an option if you have the conditioning to do that.
Keefe on March 4, 2016 at 11:41 am
Thanks for the two great books!
Just a question about the novice/intermediate sample bodybuilding programs.
For both programs, Upper A advised Horizontal Push first, then Vertical Push
In the novice program, Upper B advised Horizontal Push first, then Vertical Push
In the intermediate program, Upper B(or Push) advised Vertical Push first, then Horizontal Push.
Why the change? And the does it really matter which comes first? Thanks for the advice!! (:
Andy Morgan on March 8, 2016 at 5:54 am
Hi Keefe, thank you. I don’t believe it was written with any specific reason in mind, feel free to go with the ordering of your preference.
Manuel on March 4, 2016 at 2:39 am
hi guys, i have three questions
1. what about rest days, is there any recommendation on cutting phase or bulking or it’s all about to match the volumen on the week?
2. what about drinking simples sugars after training, it’s could be contraproducente for cutting phase or something like that?
3. calves and forearm count as a leg and arm group or should I consider them as a separate group?
Andy Morgan on March 8, 2016 at 5:50 am
Hi Manuel, thank you for the questions.
1. I don’t understand the meaning of this.
2. Technically, no, not counterproductive as long as the calorie/macro targets for the day are met. However, hunger is the enemy of the dieter, it’s better to eat your calories rather than drink them. This comes back to level 1 – Adherence.
3. Separate, but be aware of exercise overlap. (Many pulling movements will train the forearms due to the gripping element. Squats and lunges will indirectly train the calves, etc.)
Lee on March 2, 2016 at 4:27 am
Hello Thanks for the great books.
I am confused on how to figure how many calories to add if I want to gain.
I figured out my maintenance.
The formula for adding calories is 3500 x target rate of gain per mo / 30.
Mine would be : 3500 x 1%/30 – 1.16. I would only ad 1 calorie a day?
I have read and re read this, look at the examples and can’t figure out how you come up with the numbers.
Thanks of your help.
Andy Morgan on March 8, 2016 at 5:46 am
Hi Lee, thanks for your patience.
In this case the target rate of weight gain should be in pounds.
zachary kaplan on March 2, 2016 at 2:45 am
In regards to wave loading progression for intermediates. For horizontal pulling 4 x 6-4 should this be done on a wave loading approach? Should all pulling movements be used on a wave loading approach? I find that it is hard to continuely progress with wave loading, would there be a decrease in rate of progression if i performed all lifts (compound and isolation) in a double progression format based on my own recovery capacity? I know I am no where near an advanced lifter based on strength and/or size.
Thank you for all your effort. This is the best investment I’ve made in regards to weight training and diet
Andy Morgan on March 2, 2016 at 4:13 am
Hi Zach, thank you, glad to hear that.
– In terms of progression speed: Linear progression > linear periodization > double progression.
For all exercises, choose the one furthest to the left of the continuum that you can actually progress with. This is the way you’ll progress fastest. When you can’t do the one, you move onto the next.
Oliver on March 1, 2016 at 10:20 am
If a non-compeditor starts bulking at 8% bf, then bulk up to 15% bf and then cut to 8% again to repeat the cycle, how big should the defizit be? A slow cut, as you tell in the book (0.5-1% bf/W) or a faster Cut (0.75-1% bf/W) to save time and bulk again. Or is a shorter bulk cycle with mini-cuts the best way to go? (8 till 12% BF, then a minicut).
Andy Morgan on March 2, 2016 at 4:12 am
Hi Oliver, thanks for the questions.
How big should the defizit be?
– Whatever is necessary to bring around the target rate of weight loss.
…or is a shorter bulk cycle with mini-cuts the best way to go?
In terms of different ways of bulking and their pros and cons, this article I wrote on the subject is thorough.
• How To Adjust Your Diet To Successfully Bulk
Adam on March 1, 2016 at 12:28 am
I realized that on the deload section of the book it looks like i should be deloading every 4 weeks pretty much no matter what for continuous progress, i searched through the FAQ but it doesnt seem like this specific ? was asked directly….so am i correct in saying that every exercise of every workout is deloaded on the 4th week, or just certain ones …as i read through the book it looked like everything is supposed to be deloaded on the 4th week but im just making sure..thanks
Andy Morgan on March 2, 2016 at 4:08 am
Hi Adam. Yes, though this isn’t a hard and fast rule, as with everything in the book, it’s important to tailor it to your individual recovery capacity/progression. However, if you don’t have an idea of that yet and are looking for a starting point, go with every 4 weeks.
Jorge Sosa on February 29, 2016 at 5:48 pm
Is it possible to buy only one of the books ?
Andy Morgan on March 2, 2016 at 4:07 am
Hi Jorge, sure. Just scroll down to here.
Danny on February 29, 2016 at 10:16 am
Do reps from isolation movements count towards your volume recommendation of 40-70 reps?
If so, isn’t it true that you produce less volume load when doing isolation exercises compared to compound exercises when you equate total reps?
Thanks Eric Helms and 3DMJ Crew!
Andy Morgan on March 2, 2016 at 4:04 am
Hi Danny, thanks for the questions.
2. A better question is whether that matters. Here’s an excellent article on counting volume by Greg Nuckols. So good in fact that we’ll be having it as a guest post on the blog when we get it up this week.
JR on February 29, 2016 at 5:02 am
Is there a guide on how to create your own workout log on spreadsheet/ google drive to track periodization and your progress?
Andy Morgan on March 2, 2016 at 4:01 am
Hi JR. Not currently, though we could look to put one out in the future. I’m definitely keen on that idea.
Harley on February 29, 2016 at 4:06 am
Ik that Andy cut me off but this is a serious well thought out question…
[Cut by Andy]
Andy Morgan on March 2, 2016 at 4:00 am
Harley, one thing that’s important to understand is that I (we) live and die by my reputation(s). I have a solid one, because what I say I will do, I always do.
Figure it out.
Joseph on February 28, 2016 at 6:26 pm
How much would more added assistance for hypertrophy affect the intermediate power lifting program? I was thinking of kind of using and open list of some assurance movements e.i. Curls, pushdowns, cables flyes etc.
Andy Morgan on March 2, 2016 at 3:58 am
Sure you could do that. Impossible to quantify though. The point of the programs is to give you a base from which to test, adjust, and experiment to see what works best for you.
Tulik on February 28, 2016 at 9:10 am
Hi, i started my own program after reading the books, i’m doing wave loading progression for compound movements.
I’m right now on week 3 and i have a little problem with bench press, and only with bench press because other compound movements are ok with the progression.
Let me show you what i did, and please tell me how to proceed
Week 1 – Bench Press – 3X8 – 70KG
Week 2 – Bench Press – 3X7 – 72.5KG
Week 3 – Bench Press – 3X6 – 75KG
Week 4 – Deload (right now i’m on week 3)
The problem: on week 3 i did 2 sets of 6 reps, and the third set only for 5 reps, what i do in this situation?
Andy Morgan on March 2, 2016 at 3:56 am
Hi Tulik, this will happen from time to time, just work to progress anyway. Though if it happens consistently you look to change up the VIF in some way.
Tulik on March 2, 2016 at 5:02 am
1. So just continue to increase weight next cycle after the deload week?
or try to stay with same weight and complete full 3 sets of 6 reps next cycle?
2. Another question off topic, when you calculate protein, you did from all foods you eat the same day, or just from foods that is lean protein like eggs, meat, protein powder, etc… (I’m asking because there is protein in rice, peanut butter,etc.. )
Andy Morgan on March 8, 2016 at 5:47 am
1. I’d do the latter, as it’s more conservative, but if you’re feeling really good on the day you can try for the increase.
2. Yes, it all counts.
Dennis on February 27, 2016 at 9:06 pm
For people using kg instead of lbs. Beware that the calculation based on the 3500 rule on page 39 does not work if you use kg in the equation. You have to convert your weight to lbs and then use the 3500 formula to calculate your calories above maintenance. It took me like 10min to figure this out cause i kept getting completely different results when i did the equation with the 82kg intermediate instead of using 180lbs.
You should definitely make people aware of this in the book.
Eric Helms on February 28, 2016 at 1:59 am
Yes it is important to realize that 1kg is not equal to 1lbs. The book clearly states that the 3500 calorie rule is for 1lbs not 1kg.
Dennis on February 28, 2016 at 3:11 pm
I’ve read it 2 times through and it doesn’t say anywhere explicitly that in the equation you should use lbs and not kg…
Anyway, even though the training pyramid book spends a great deal on progression and what to do in many cases, the nutrition book does not at all i feel like. There is literaly 2 sentences that take on the topic what you should do when you do not gain or lose weight and those refer to the 3500 calorie rule.
What do you do when you don’t gain weight? What do you do when you don’t lose weight? What do you do when you’re gaining to much fat? How do you adjust your macro in the case that you are gaining weight but to much fat? What if you are losing fat but to much muscle in the process? Protein is best calculated by body weight, but what if you dont gain any weight, do you simply adjust fats and carbs and leave protein as it is? What if you are allready consuming the highest protein recommendation for your bodyweight, do you bring up protein even more? I can ask a dozen questions like that and i feel like the book tells me nothing about what to do.
It clearly explains that anything above a certain amount of monthly bodyweight gain will likely by fat, but it doesn’t tell you what you should or can do if you are actually gaining to much fat. It also doesn’t touch the subject of differences between peoples metabolism, wich have a huge impact on how much calories someone may need. Those aimed caloric surplusses in the book for example will make an ectomorph guy like my cry like a baby.
I’ve got a great deal out of the training book, but the nutrition book didn’t tell me much i didn’t know yet except confusing me a ton with that 3500 calorie rule and it leaves me with alot of questions regarding progression. That subject isnt even mentioned.
Eric Helms on March 8, 2016 at 9:53 am
Dennis, I’m always happy to take critique, but not if it’s just innacurate:
Page 28 “1 lb (~0.5 kg) of adipose tissue contains ~3500 calories”
Page 29 “Hypothetically, if you gained 1 lb (~0.5 kg) of fat in a week, you would be, on average, consuming ~500 calories more than your maintenance per day, as 7 days x 500 calories = 3500.”
page 31 “As previously discussed, 3500 calories roughly equates to 1 lb (~0.5 kg) of adipose tissue”
page 32 “a 3500 kcal deficit per week and I would be able to lose a pound weekly”
page 36 “Combining this fact and the metabolic cost of creating muscle tissue, the “3500 calorie rule” actually holds up decently well for setting up your diet for weight gain as well as weight loss . This is not to say that a pound (~0.5 kg) of muscle mass has 3500 calories in it, but rather, that you may have to increase your calories more than expected to gain muscle because of the energetic cost of synthesizing this muscle. ”
page 37 “3500 kcals is the value of 1 lb (~0.5 kg) of adipose tissue, ”
page 49 “using the ‘3500 calorie rule’ of losing approximately a pound per week (~0.5 kg),”
page 73 “For example, if you want to lose 1.5 lbs (~0.7 kg) per week, you need to produce a 5250 kcal deficit per week (3500 x 1.5).”
NOW, with that out of the way, Dennis I do agree that the book is light on adjustments to keep progress going. And this is something the second edition will have more of, and anyone who bought the bundle will get a free update. To help you out in the interim, keeping protein static and adjusting calories up and down (and cardio if you are cutting) to stay in the target rate of weight gain/loss is the way to go. When you aren’t losing or gaining an easy rule of thumb is to either increase or decrease calories by 100kcal/day and then see how you fair in the next week or two.
Andy Morgan on March 9, 2016 at 1:48 am
We’ve added ‘The Diet Adjustment Mastery Course‘ for readers to address this in the mean time.
Prasanna Thani on February 27, 2016 at 6:25 pm
Great job with the books, absolutely love it – thanks! Searched the FAQ (ctrl+F) and didn’t see these posted above (apologize in advance if they were!), so thought I’d go ahead and ask:
1. How will updates to the book be handled? Will emails be sent to the users who bought the bundle informing them an update is available? Or will there be a page on your site somewhere that shows what the current version of the book is?
2. The nutrition pyramid had great resources in terms of tools to help pick and choose a meal plan using the framework provided in the book – which was great! The training pyramid discusses the importance of form and proper technique on exercises, but I didn’t see a resource that I could use to validate if I’m doing it right. Does that mean the only alternative is to hire a professional? Is there a site/book you’d recommend to ensure we’re doing the compound lifts correctly – especially seeing how important proper form would be?
Eric Helms on February 28, 2016 at 2:01 am
1. We’ll be sending out an email once a second edition is written
2. A book isn’t the best tool for teaching proper form. Google is a good tool to find form videos, however in person instruction by a trained professional would be ideal. Find someone who is a CSCS or certified personal trainer who is also a competitive raw powerlifter to teach you the compound barbell lifts.
Joseph on February 27, 2016 at 3:01 pm
So with the intermediate powerlifting program example it is a 4 days a week schedule. Would you complete these as 2 on 1 off 2 on 2 off? So Monday/Tuesday/Thursday/Friday ?
Eric Helms on February 28, 2016 at 2:03 am
Yes that’s a perfectly fine way to do it. Or you could do 2 on 2 off 2 on 1 off, or if you schedule demanded a different organization.
Octavio on February 25, 2016 at 9:12 pm
Hello team M&SP,
First of all, I want to congratulate and THANK YOU for such an awesome piece of work for us bodybuilders, powerlifters, powerbuilders, trainers, and everyone in between. It’s life-changing.
I just wanted to point out a possible typo on the %1RM for “Week 2, day 6 – Upper” in the sample “Advanced Bodybuilding Intensification Block.” Reviewing the other sample routines, and Lower body progression of the same routine, I think it was supposed to be an 85% for that week, instead of that 87.5%1RM.
Maybe it was already pointed out by someone else… it not, I hope this clears some possible confusion for the readers.
Maybe someone else already pointed it out, but it not
Eric Helms on February 28, 2016 at 2:07 am
Fantastic catch thank you! Going to change this and will be updated in the next edition.
Nicolas Ahumada on February 25, 2016 at 7:10 pm
Thank you for the answer. I forgot to ask, what are the file format of the books? pdf? Thank you
Andy Morgan on February 26, 2016 at 6:04 am
Harley on February 25, 2016 at 2:29 am
Andy, i realized when using your calculator to set up my macros that it gave me an option to have my rest days with a slightly lower calorie count and it also gave me a macro count that i could keep the same for everyday of the week….if im working out 5 days a week which it says you can use either one….i read somewhere in the book that you could be robbing yourself if you cut calories down too much on rest days..any explanation to this
Andy Morgan on February 25, 2016 at 2:45 am
“I read somewhere in the book that you could be robbing yourself if you cut calories down too much on rest days”
The bolding is key.
You’re young and very new to this information. You’re reading these books and trying to follow them as a guide, while also having downloaded a free guide on my own site with slightly different nuances. The issue is that you don’t currently have enough experience to see these as “nuances”, they just look like conflicts. On top of this you have a coach who will probably be telling you other things. Do yourself a favor, put my book down, stick with these, follow it solidly for a year or two, then you’ll start to see the shades of gray instead of just black and white.
No more questions. I’m cutting you off for your own good, cause you’re just writing without thinking things through fully at any point that things pop into your head. 6 in a week is more than fair, plus it’s overwhelming for us authors to answer.
Read, digest, put it into practice, and you’ll do well. Good luck Harley.
Harley on February 25, 2016 at 3:30 am
okay..thank you, i totally respect that…im going put everything to trial and make things happen.
in a way i appreciate you cutting me off haha…now it is time to make gains!
Matt on February 24, 2016 at 2:24 pm
Hi guys, thanks again for all the feedback. A few quick questions:
1) Andy, on your site you’ve advised against doing dips but I see they are prescribed in the Intermediate bodybuilding template. What’s changed?
2) For someone feeling a bit beat up from heavy lifting, what do you think about running a month or two with your templates but in a slightly higher rep range (instead of 3-5s, do 6-8s on “heavy” days; and 8-12 and 12-15s on lighter days). Especially if hypertrophy is the primary goal, this sound like a good idea? Should number of sets be decreased?
3) When moving to the Intermediate program, based on the premise that we should only be lifting as much volume as necessary to make progress, would it not make sense to add a couple sets to the 4-day Novice bodybuilding template before adding in an entire whole new day of lifting?
Andy Morgan on February 25, 2016 at 2:28 am
Hi Matt, thanks for the questions:
1. Sure, my opinion hasn’t changed, but the book was a joint effort, not mine alone. Personally, I think they pose an unnecessary risk so I don’t program them for clients for the most part. Up to you. This is where critical thinking comes in Matt.
2. You could, but that’s avoiding the underlying issue of built up fatigue. Recall the fitness-fatigue model starting on page 32. Take a week off. Start taking the monthly deloads recommended. If you still feel beat up then cut back volume. That should do it. Then, if you still have issues, try lighter weights in the higher loads. Unless you have genuine joint issues though that should be unnecessary.
3. Absolutely! 🙂
Nicolas Ahumada on February 24, 2016 at 3:56 am
Question: Is it available for Kindle? I’ve looked in the Amazon store and I couldn’t find it. Thank you
Eric Helms on February 24, 2016 at 6:08 pm
Nicholas you can purchase the books and then email or USB transfer the books so you can read them on your kindle.
zachary kaplan on February 24, 2016 at 3:01 am
Hope all is well,
I currently find myself in the same rut as passed training experiences. I am attempting to increase weight via the two intermediate strategies “wave loading compound/double progression isolation”. However, I believe I am misinterpreting the definition of failure and thus am progressing with weight while form is suffering and ultimately mentally and physically burning out. Should I judge failure as an inability to no longer complete a rep with a continuous fluid motion, or when form breaks down. I realize the two often coincide. My goal is hypertrophy and I honestly struggle with understanding when to increase weight. Should I remain at a certain weight when my RPE for the given set/rep has decreased? I believe understanding this point and checking my ego will hopefully get me back on track. Again thank you for your time and effort.
Eric Helms on February 24, 2016 at 6:11 pm
Zack I think an easy way to think of it is that if you have to change the form to do an exercise you’re no longer doing the same exercise. As far as the RPE question it’s already been answered. But yes check your ego and focus on following the progression plan.
zachary kaplan on February 24, 2016 at 7:32 pm
Thank you. I really appreciate the advice and the prompt reply
Eric Helms on February 28, 2016 at 2:04 am
You’re very welcome
Togay Koç on February 23, 2016 at 11:03 pm
I just wanted to thank you guys for the training book. Using the templates and guidance I have gained new excitement in my training and feel that I have the tools to make my own specific programme. Thank you so much, mission accomplished!
Eric Helms on February 24, 2016 at 6:11 pm
Harley on February 23, 2016 at 3:27 am
I noticed in the nutrition book it mentions that on a gaining phase you should have around 0.2g/lb of protein before and post workout and cutting you should have protein and carbs pre and post WO…..
my question is that when gaining should your meals also contain carbs10-20% and if so during gaining or cutting does it matter if the post workout carbs are fast or slow digesting carbs ……and should fat be excluded from post workout since it slows digestion
sorry for all the questions but i am trying to make sure i understand everything completely
Eric Helms on February 24, 2016 at 6:13 pm
We didn’t leave anything out. The recommendations are correct as written for both cutting and gaining. And if we didn’t mention GI its because it doesn’t matter.
Harley on February 23, 2016 at 12:22 am
One thing i noticed as reading through the books is that my coach has me on a really really high volume workout…my question is that after my scheduled time with him is over in about a month, will switching to the amount of volume that you describe in your books which is a little lower than what my coach is having me train at now affect my gains( in the idea of adaptation and my body now being adapted to the higher amount of volume, and then switching to yours at a lower volume) will i still make gains?
Eric Helms on February 24, 2016 at 6:22 pm
Harley a lot of your questions are the same “I was doing this before, now I’m going to change is that okay?”
You’ll never get anywhere without experimentation and you aren’t going to be lifting for 6 months but hopefully the rest of your life. Give it a shot see what happens and no more fear based questions! 🙂
Harley on February 24, 2016 at 6:30 pm
Haha, i appreciate it and yes you are correct, i always tend to over think things… i have realized now that i just have to experiment…i am sticking to my current diet now during my deload then once this deload week is finished which is at the end of my cut i am going to be implementing all the new techniques i have learned from the book to start a lean gain of roughly 1.5 lbs a month as i read the nutrition book in just 3 days..now onto the training one…i cant wait to change my diet and training with research based knowledge and really learn how my body works and works the most efficiently on…….love the depth that you cover with these books thanks once again man i love reading them.
Thank you, i think this really changed my life and makes everything so much easier! It’s awesome
Eric Helms on February 28, 2016 at 2:09 am
You’re very welcome, good luck and good gains to you!
Tarik on February 22, 2016 at 11:12 am
Hi Eric . Thanks a lot for getting back to me really appreciate it. Just one more quick question: what are numbers from where low cardio starts and where ends? Same for medium intensity? How to know that? Heart beat percentage?
I feel like my cortisol levels are very high right now so im trying to do as much low intensity cardio and not medium and hit because im sure they causing much more stress on body. Trying to get back my hormone level get to normal. Thats why im very curious about numbers for cardio effort.
Thanks a lot
Eric Helms on February 24, 2016 at 6:24 pm
Tarik this is in the book. If you want to use cardio keep it to the limits for total cardio per week and for high intensity cardio which causes the most stress. You also don’t have any idea what your cortisol levels are and you never need to worry about managing your hormones, just your recovery.
Robin on February 22, 2016 at 8:26 am
I tried finding an answer for this but couldn’t.
Why does your team prefer a wave loading progression as compared to double progression for the main compound lifts? What are the pros and cons of both?
Eric Helms on February 24, 2016 at 6:27 pm
I would say that’s not an accurate translation. Double progression is slower and thus is used on isolation exercises where you make smaller jumps in load. Faster progression via wave loading is used on compounds where larger increases in load are still a small percentage of your absolute strength.
Patrik on February 22, 2016 at 8:01 am
Are these two books only on english available?
Andy Morgan on February 23, 2016 at 5:48 pm
Harley on February 22, 2016 at 3:16 am
Hi, i noticed that there also is the macro calculator that comes with these books as well…that is awesome….one ? i had was that for a little over a year i have had a really high protein intake and a moderate carb intake…when switching to what is suggested on the calculator which puts me at 2.5g/kg of protein that drops me about 100 grams of protein then what i have been taking for a long time and ups my carbs by a ton…will this be bad to switch to right away and cause a negative affect to my physique since my current coaches have had me on that kind of macro split which is different than what yo guys recommend..thanks for adding in this book that is not even mentioned when paying for the package ….i love it already..so much info, i dont even know which book to read first haha…
once i finish my next 8 weeks with the coach i am currently with now, i am not gonna get another coach and instead going to try and do things myself with the knowledge i will learn from these book
Marvin D on February 21, 2016 at 7:14 pm
Hey guys, great books!
My question is about workload while cutting. When my strength starts dropping on an exercises where I used to do e.g. 3 sets of 8-12 reps with a certain weight and now I have to lower the weight, would it be a smart move to use the lower weight but instead do 4 sets of the exercise to keep the weekly workload around the same? I understand that this is contrary to the idea to cut workout volume during the diet due to the worse recovery from less food but wouldn’t a consistent workload during the cut ensure muscle retention better than lowering the volume (if I am still able to recover from it of course)?
And also, is it acceptable to take longer rest breaks between the exercises when dieting, if that ensures that I am strong enough to use the same weights that were used the previous week? The equal volume should be, according to the pyramid, more important than the potential metabolic fatigue of the shorter rest time that I am then missing out on.
Best regards from Germany and thanks in advance
Andy Morgan on February 23, 2016 at 5:46 pm
Hi Marvin, thanks for the questions.
Not that these are the only answers, but you’re my opinion so here we go:
1. I’d aim to keep the load on the bar and reduce sets rather than vice versa.
2. I’d keep them the same so that you’re comparing like for like.
Carlos on February 21, 2016 at 7:10 pm
Hi. How can I see the book I purchased. I accidentally deleted the email link.
Andy Morgan on February 23, 2016 at 5:42 pm
Hi Carlos, sorry for the inconvenience. Send us an email on the address at the top of the page.
Robin on February 21, 2016 at 4:05 pm
Hi, firstly thank you for the amazing book! Just have a couple questions (:
1) For antagonistic pairing sets, the book suggest push exercise 1, rest 2 minutes, pull exercise 2, rest 2minutes, repeat. Wouldn’t that be around 4.5 minutes between each push exercise? Isn’t that a tad bit too long for an optimal rest period?
2) For the third and fourth upper body exercise if i don’t do antagonistic pairing sets, the book recommended at least 2.5 minutes of rest between the compound exercises. Is the focus for these secondary compound exercises here metabolic fatigue, or still progressive tension overload. if it’s the former, would a shorter rest period be more beneficial?
Eric Helms on February 24, 2016 at 6:29 pm
Please reread the section on rest periods it seems you are under the impression that short rest periods can aid hypertrophy when this is not the case.
James on February 21, 2016 at 8:58 am
Hi guys i have a question regarding the Intermediate BB Program.
I currently do weighted back extensions with 45lbs and there are no bigger plates available in my gym.
Also, i have an anterior pelvic tilt so it may be conterproductive either way to train my lower back specifically.
Do you have a recommendation which exercise could replace it? The pull workout seems to be very short when i just cut out the weighted back extension.
I would 1. either add a set or two on every back movement 2. add another back movement or 3. keep doing 3x12x45 every training session. What’s your suggestion? Thanks!!
Andy Morgan on February 23, 2016 at 5:39 pm
James, first and foremost get the APT checked out before potentially exacerbating an already existing issue. Another back exercise may not be what you need right now. Eric Cressey, Tony Gentilcore and Dean Somerset’s websites are excellent for this stuff. You may need to change up your programming considerably, but the broad principles in the books will still hold.
Susan Maik on February 21, 2016 at 5:20 am
We preordered the books but do not know how to download them. Anthony Maik email@example.com or Susan Maik firstname.lastname@example.org
Andy Morgan on February 23, 2016 at 5:42 pm
Hi Susan, sorry for the inconvenience. Send us an email on the address at the top of the page.
Ross on February 21, 2016 at 12:29 am
Sorry for beating this topic in so many angles, but can you widen the rep range on a wave loading run?
Ex. 3-5 becomes 2-6
Just started Intermediate Bodybuilding and still trying to work around dumbbells.
Eric Helms on February 24, 2016 at 6:30 pm
You can but you’d need to adjust the deload schedule
Harley on February 20, 2016 at 10:34 pm
Okay so i wanted to tell you where i am coming from so it will better help you answer my question.I am 19 years old..I have been working with coaches for the last year and a half….i have been training very very seriously for the last year and a half, weighing every single thing i eat and drink, literally doing everything to a T…i am literally addicted to this lifestyle and it pretty much rules my life in what i do every single day…i am in college studying exercise science and nutrition currently and hope to have a bachelors degree by the end of next school year…i will then most likely go on to get my masters…my question is would getting these books help me out with my journey,
1. would having a good coach still be beneficial even after reading these books, if i want to literally get and obtain the most optimal results possible the fastest way?
2. I seem like in my thought process i need a coach to tell me how to critique my diet and training to get the results because i don’t want to make a mistake that could cause me to get to my results in the quickest way
I have been thinking on buying these books for a while because of Matt Ogus
so what are your thoughts on my questions i appreciate it
any other answers that you think would be beneficial to know about what these books will help me out with and what i can change after buying them is greatly appreciated as well…looking forward to the reply
Andy Morgan on February 23, 2016 at 5:37 pm
I think these are two of the best books available in the industry. They will compliment any coaching you have, and give you a broader understanding of what they are doing with you, assuming they are competent. The books may give you the confidence to go on your own without a coach, they may make you want to receive coaching more. I can’t answer that. You’re spending hundreds of dollars on coaching anyway, these books are a no brainer for the value they offer.
Kevin on February 20, 2016 at 1:00 am
Thanks for the reply Andy! Concerning my approx. if 220 reps for my back muscle in a single session, I actually have two back days because I run a L/P/P/L/P/P/OFF, so I was wondering how would I go about fixing these rep ranges if my body was adapted to these high volumes weekly? If I can progress on these high volumes and fully recover, is it okay to continue or am I doing too much volume for the same results I can obtain with lowered volume? Thanks in advance, and the eBooks are truly amazing and helpful!
Andy Morgan on February 23, 2016 at 5:27 pm
If you’re already adapted to it then there’s nothing to fix Kevin. 🙂
Jarri on February 19, 2016 at 3:10 pm
Hey guys. First of all, congratulations on putting out two high quality books. Yet to go through the diet book but I’ve finished the training one and have a few questions.
1) In the Intermediate Bodybuilding Program, I understand that you use wave loading progression on the compound lifts and double progression on the isolation lifts. A bit confused as to what progression method applies to SL Variant, Wt B Ext and Face Pull. Seems like they could be candidates for double progression given how regularly increasing load may not be possible on them. Am I right?
2) I believe we increase the load 10lbs only on Squat, DL, LP and HH. What about SL Sq Variant? Also 10lbs (if indeed it’s supposed to be progressed via wave loading)?
3) Dumbbells go up in increments of 2.5kg either side so that’s an 11lb increase effectively for something like dumbbell lunges if I choose it as the SL Variant. Also, similar issues with DB rowing movements, minimum weight increment would be 11lb. Is that too much for wave loading on these movements? If yes, would double progression make more sense as a workaround?
4) Weight increments for rowing machines is 15lb. Again, seems infeasible for wave loading so again, would double progression be a better option?
5) This is probably the most important question. HH variant is recommended to bring up the glutes mainly, I presume. If I have overdeveloped glutes already compared to hamstrings and the rest of my lower body, would it make sense to sub out HH for say, a RDL or Stiff Legged Deadlift? If HH is still recommended, what other movements besides Hip Thrusts and Glute Bridges are advised? Can a Glute Ham Raise suffice?
6) If I don’t have access to a Seated Calf Machine, is it ok to just do Standing Calf Raises instead?
Thanks again for the brilliant work!
Andy Morgan on February 19, 2016 at 7:40 pm
2. When performing exercises using less of the overall musculature in the body, you’ll lift less and the increases will be less.
Trust your instincts. You have the critical thinking skills to answer these yourself as you already had.
Michael on February 23, 2016 at 3:18 pm
So in a novice bodybuilding routine.
If the Day 4 -Upper I decided to do the compounds with dumbbells (Dumbbells go up in increments of 2.5kg either side so that’s a 5kg increase effectively), What progression would you recommend? A linear progression, a double progression or mantaining the same weight (with a better RPE).
Same question with other isolation exercises like leg press, if the machine/dumbbells allow a progression of 5kg, what progression should be used?
Andy Morgan on February 25, 2016 at 2:20 am
Sure, so this is pretty much the same question, you’re just missing the broader principle.
In terms of progression speed: Linear progression > linear periodization > double progression.
For all exercises, choose the one furthest to the left of the continuum that you can actually progress with. This is the way you’ll progress fastest. When you can’t do the one, you move onto the next.
Jarri on February 24, 2016 at 7:24 am
Thanks a lot, Andy!
I do need to trust my instincts more. 🙂 I just have this urge to do things the right way and sometimes need the approval of someone more experienced than I to know that I’m doing them right!
Andy Morgan on February 25, 2016 at 2:20 am
Most welcome Jarri.
Tarik on February 19, 2016 at 4:37 am
Hi Eric and Andy,
I bought book few days ago and really love all material so far and just finished nutrition book, im just confused about one thing in “nutrition book and its about “CARDIO”..
For example: This morning i used bike on level 2 and its say that I will be using 40 kcal in 10 min and i did session for total 400kcal burned-low intensity(bike display showed) but i had my Polar heart monitor on and it said that i used total 180 kcal total(all the time i seen like 85 heart beats on polar display even lover), So different calculations polar and bike. .
My question: should we trust, use polar and count cardio intensity by heart beats or trust display on mashines?
Can I get little bit more explanation about cardio if there is any chance.
Looking forward hearing back from you guys.
Thanks a lot in advance and keep good work. Definetelly following.
Andy Morgan on February 19, 2016 at 7:35 pm
Hi Tarik. They’re both estimates, I wouldn’t trust the machines though, ever, too much variance.
Matt on February 19, 2016 at 3:40 am
I have tried to purchase both books multiple times and the website tells me that the Card I am trying to use does not work for this type of purchase. I’ve tried with multiple cards, both credit and debit. And I have tried multiple days. Still will not accept my payment. What should I do?
Andy Morgan on February 19, 2016 at 7:14 pm
Hi Matt, contact Paypal support, they’ll be able to help. Nothing we can do at our end I’m afraid.
Wesley Rombaut on February 18, 2016 at 6:56 pm
Hi, i work 3 rotating shifts in one week. It is not possible for me to have 7 weighins in the same conditions, in best case i could have 4. What can i do to have a representive average?
Andy Morgan on February 19, 2016 at 7:14 pm
Hi Wesley. You can take the average of the four.
Tom on February 18, 2016 at 4:05 pm
I couldn’t find the answer in the book, but what should someone do when target weight gain stalls during a gaining period? How many calories should be added and which macros should they be distributed to?
Stephen on February 18, 2016 at 12:10 am
How do I return and get a refund
Andy Morgan on February 19, 2016 at 7:12 pm
Hi Stephen, just shoot us an email on the address above.
Max on February 17, 2016 at 10:37 pm
I’ve a couple questions, one regarding overtraining and the other regarding your programs.
1) About overtraining, I see it covered in the book but I don’t see anything specific how to come back/recover from it. After (I guess) trying to push my linear progression too hard, I’m returning from a bout of overtraining (or maybe nonfunctional overreaching) in which I’ve struggled with sleep disturbances, niggling pain, fatigue and mood changes, as well as pretty big performance drop offs. I’m better now but sleep still isn’t back to normal and fitness still is less than it was.
I’m getting ready to transition to one of your programs but I’m not sure how to do so. Do I pick a program and just start off really light? Do I start with something in a higher rep range (I’m coming from doing mostly 3×5; 5×5 work)? Do I wait until I’m 100% feeling full of awesomeness again and then jump right in? I’m itching to train again but I’m also fearful of overdoing it and setting me back again (which has happened before).
2) About the programs, I think I fall somewhere between beginner and intermediate. I’m in my mid thirties with 5+ years of lifting behind me but I’ve only been focusing on the “big” lifts for ~3 years now. On one hand my lift numbers feel really low at 6’1″and 175 lbs (Squat 215×5; Bench 190×5; DL 330×5) but on the other I’ve really struggled pushing beyond those when going back to a linear program (e.g. 5×5). When I get back at it full strength, should I jump into the intermediate bodybuilding program (as written or maybe with less volume) or try to eke out some gains with the novice linear program?
Thanks so much you guys for these books! I feel like I’ll be referring to both for a long time!
Andy Morgan on February 19, 2016 at 7:33 pm
Max, this is a wall of text, it’s unfair to us and others trying to read. Please tighten it up and write in another comment and I’ll delete this one.
Max on February 19, 2016 at 7:45 pm
Sorry. My first question was about overtraining. It’s discussed briefly in the book but there’s no mention of what to do if you think your situation is that bad (e.g. how to recover, when to return to training and what that training should look like).
My second question was about choosing between intermediate and novice programs when you suspect your linear gains are behind you but not 100% sure.
Sorry for the text. Thought it was important to provide context. Apologies.
Andy Morgan on February 23, 2016 at 5:24 pm
Sure no worries.
1. Implement a deload week. Reduce volume across the exercises where your are chronically overworked/sore/failing to recovery. If you think it’s really bad, take a full week off of training before that – won’t hurt.
2. Try the linear progression and see how you do, you can always change it, that’d the point of the book – implement, test, tweak, test, tweak, etc.
Jen on February 17, 2016 at 7:11 pm
I have a question regarding the fat loss recommendations in the book. I am confused about the cardio prescription aspect outlined in the book as well as the nutrition calculator you have provided as a free tool. It says 2000 calorie deficit from food. So say I did 2 400 calorie cardio sessions per week, would I add back those calories to my intake and spread it across a few days, add it to the day I do the cardio, or not add any calories back at all? It told me my low days should be 1400 and refeed days (3 per week) should be 1850. How do I go about factoring in calories burned through excess cardio? Thank you in advance.
Andy Morgan on February 19, 2016 at 7:12 pm
Hi Jen. Add it back in on the days you do the cardio, unless you’re using cardio to create an additional calorie deficit.
Jen on February 19, 2016 at 7:58 pm
Thanks for clearing that up, I appreciate it! Great books by the way. The amount of lives you three have touched/are touching through the knowledge provided in these books is truly life changing. Thank you so much for everything you all have provided. I literally utilize these each and every day of my training & nutrition.
Andy Morgan on February 23, 2016 at 5:25 pm
Most welcome Jen, very glad to hear it! 🙂
Jen on February 25, 2016 at 3:27 pm
Hi, Another question…
-Opinions on carb cycling/low carb? Do they actually prove effective, or only cause a drop in weight due to less water?
-Also, I have been cutting now for around 4 months, just took a diet break last week to which I increased my cals to 2000 a day (mainly from carbs). I had been cutting on around 1700 cals + 4 400 cal cardio sessions a week. I used the nutrition calculator aid from the resource section and it recommends me to cut on 3 refeeds per week (1900 cals) and 4 “low days” at around 1300 (more like 1600 due to cardio offsetting calories from the cardio I do that day). Should I stick with my numbers I used before the diet break, or just go with the numbers recommended from the resource nutrition aid calculator?
-Instead of the intermediate progression laid out in the book, can we instead progress using straight sets? So instead of increasing load each week, keep the same load but try and do more reps each week totaling your goal rep range. For example, bench press: 100 lbs x 8 reps goal (within the 6-8 range), and THEN increase by 5 lbs once you hit your rep goal consecutively for 4 sets. So the following week you increase weight, but aim for 6 reps?
Thanks! Sorry these questions develop as I reread and think more in depth
Andy Morgan on February 26, 2016 at 6:03 am
1. Covered in the book.
2. Work from the numbers you already have if you have them. This is covered in the calorie setting section of the nutrition book.
Const on February 17, 2016 at 5:45 pm
Hey, thanks for your answer!
Well youve said that a wave periodization is better suited for intermediate bodybuilders but before I bought the book i was and am still able to increase in a given rep range (For example 3 sets of 3-5 Bench press) by at least 1-2 reps per week and increase weight like maybe every 1- 1.5 months on a double progression plan (Didnt even know it was called like that before buying your book so I did it unintentionally). Wouldnt it be more beneficial to keep the double progression plan until I hit a plateau? Because i mean on wave periodization you have to wait 4 weeks after youve progressed in weights or reps until you have the chance to try and progress again in the same rep and set range as far as ive understood.
Andy Morgan on February 19, 2016 at 7:32 pm
Hi Const. If you’re progressing with what you are doing, consider carefully before changing it. If you’d like test it, split test two lifts you’re currently progressing equally well with and see how you go.
Samuel on February 17, 2016 at 11:45 am
I’m a little bit confused about the advice on increasing volume on page 37 in the block before the last one.
It says that you should only increase volume when progress has plateaued. At the end you are reminded that a heavier load leeds to a higher volume when sets and reps stay the same. So you should not higher the load unless you hit a plateau. But how do you even know if your progress has plateaued when you should not do more reps, sets or a heavier load?
Andy Morgan on February 19, 2016 at 7:31 pm
Hi Samuel. You will increasing the load. Have a good read of the progression chapter, there are examples there.
Michael on February 17, 2016 at 7:12 am
Hi, just some questions about block periodization. Specifically the accumulation block, for powerlifting purposes.
1.In the book there’s a mention of going from 100 reps to 195 reps over the course of the 6 weeks.
2. If volume is successfully increased over the course of the training block, however intensity does not change, would this still be a successful training cycle? Or must volume increase be accompanied by intensity increases. I imagine both would be the best case scenario, however intensity increases would be minimal at best since the increasing volume would induce large amounts of fatigue right?
3. Would it make sense to run multiple accumulation blocks for a skinny lifter lacking muscle mass? E.g. 2-3 runs of 6 week blocks, before transitioning into 4 weeks of intensification and 2 weeks of peaking.
4. The book recommends 2/3rds of volume coming from 4-6 rep range for strength. For a lifter lacking muscle mass aiming to maximize strength, would it be superior to utilize 6-12 rep ranges for the purpose of accumulating more volume for hypertrophy, which in turn would improve strength?
5. Is undulation on a frequent basis necessary in block periodized training? Let’s say I only did sets of 8 during my accumulation block, but the next block (accumulation) i do sets of 10, and the block after (intensification) sets of 4 etc. Basically undulating each block rather than undulating in a daily/weekly fashion. Would either one be acceptable, or is one superior to the other (even in the slightest)?
Thanks so much
Andy Morgan on February 19, 2016 at 7:29 pm
Michael, thanks for the questions.
1. Yes, successful.
3. Theoretically, yes. But a skinny lifter lacking muscle mass won’t need to worry about accumulation blocks and the like yet. In fact, I’d go as far as to say that if they have been concerning themselves with such things and not growing, it’s probably a case of “too much theory, not enough effort” that’s been holding them back. Really common. Causes people to jump from novice progressions to intermediate and advanced progressions too soon, and in vain.
4. Well, we could chase our tails in theory loops on this one. For those looking to focus on strength, go with the recommendations for that in the book.
5. I believe DUP or WUP would be superior to changing it up over blocks.
Kevin on February 17, 2016 at 2:49 am
Hey Matt, I have a question concerning volume. After reading the eBook for training, I was wondering how would one go about changing volume of their current program (in my case is about 220+ per session) to the recommended/beneficial range, in the book the beneficial and recommended rep range per muscle group was 40-70 per session, currently I am doing a P/P/L and some session I do up to 220+ reps per muscle group, for example on a pull day I would do 220+ reps for back muscles.
Andy Morgan on February 19, 2016 at 7:19 pm
Hi Kevin, thanks for the question. The recommendation is 40-70 reps per muscle group, 2-3 times per week. So, that’s 80-210 reps across a week. If you’re just doing your back the once then you’re actually just outside of those guidelines, which are just approximations anyway. Thus, if you’re progressing, then don’t worry about it.
Maria Vouga on February 16, 2016 at 8:24 pm
How does hypothyroidism affect in the level 1 (energy balance) calculations?
Andy Morgan on February 17, 2016 at 1:54 am
Hi Maria, TDEE will be lower. Here‘s more on the subject. Any questions regarding this needs to be directed towards a doctor.
rob on February 16, 2016 at 5:29 am
Eric, in terms of protein intake when dieting/gaining say if ones in a deficit and is hitting at least 1 gram per lb lbm protein and at the 10% bf mark if they are cutting on a higher carb intake and tend to be getting a majority of their protein from carb sources say oatmeal/rice/vegetable and roughly half from whole sources is this an issue as not much “complete proteins” are being consumed even though total protein intake consistently being met?
rob on February 20, 2016 at 3:24 am
Andy whats your thoughts on this? from my question regarding protein?
Eric Helms on February 24, 2016 at 6:33 pm
Carbs don’t typically go up on a diet as someone gets leaner and this intake is below my cutting recommendation in the book but it would still be very unlikely that anymore than 20 to 30g of protein would be coming from carb sources per day unless an extremely high carb intake was used.
Brad M on February 15, 2016 at 3:37 pm
Guys, question relating to cardio. As I approach my bulking phase, I want to continue doing at least 3 days worth of cardio. My nutrition strategy is to add ~200 cal over maintenance, and top up, averaged across the week, additional cals from the cardio.
You reference a table with cals burned per 10′ blocks (I think 10), although this in no way correlates to what my Garmin states I burn. I know this isn’t a real number, but I usually use about 80% of what it outputs in my calculations. This is still a good number off from the values given in the book.
So, other than try it and see, do you feel these are very real numbers for the average trainee? Or, as with all things, simply a good base to launch the “try it and see” from?
I have also factored in the cals I spent being alive for the duration of the cardio session, but the numbers are still a fair ways off.
P.S. Please stop linking to other books in here, I’m going broke 🙂
Andy Morgan on February 16, 2016 at 9:03 am
Hi Brad, thanks for the questions.
Due to the inaccuracies in their measurement methods, and then the fixation it brings people using them on adjusting calorie intake on a day by day basis, I personally think that using activity trackers is asking for trouble. (The others may feel different, they are free to chime in.)
That said, people go bat shit for gadgets in the $100-200 range, especially when they can justify the splurge to themselves as it’s for their health goals. For this reason, the sale will not cease any time soon, nor will the marketing hype surrounding how accurate they claim to be.
Im my opinion you’re better off binning the device (or auctioning it), and fixing your calorie expenditure based on the recommendations in the book. They will likely give closer estimate, and though they may be inaccurate, it will be consistently so, which is important. Don’t fall for the sunk cost fallacy and continue using it to your own potential detriment.
PS: No more books for the foreseeable future from me. I’m all typed out after last year, and they covered the topics I wanted to cover. If I have additions I will just update them. YOUR WALLET IS SAFE! 😀
Brad M on February 16, 2016 at 3:06 pm
Thanks Andy. I don’t don’t have the Garmin to track cals specifically, I’m a runner and use it for tracking distance, pace, etc. So well worth the cost for me for the functions I use. And I get it at cost, so… 🙂
But my newest version has a reasonable accurate HR meter built in (compared to an oximeter I have) and I get cal output with my data regardless.
I just wondered how those numbers were so far off the book numbers. I’ll go with the book for calorie compensation, and adjust as needed.
And thanks for slowing down the book flow, getting overwhelmed 🙂
Andy Morgan on February 17, 2016 at 1:48 am
Ah, as regards to how much or how far, I really don’t know.
I believe that a further issue is the inconsistencies, rather then just the inaccuracies with some models. Kind of the same issue with body-fat measurement devices.
Anyway, good luck!
Const on February 15, 2016 at 2:52 pm
Can I use Double Progression on my compound movements as well on the intermediate bodybuilding program or am I going to run into problems if i decide do to so? Im asking because I enjoy double progression more than wave loading periodization.
And should I really deload every 4th week even if I use double progression for my compound movements because Im 16 years old and usually my energy levels are very high and I really like lifting heavy every day.
Thanks for your answer and time.
Andy Morgan on February 16, 2016 at 8:55 am
Hi Const, thanks for the questions.
1. The latter is better suited but you can try that if you would like.
2. Yes, always deload. The idea is to let residual fatigue dissipate before it becomes a problem, therefore you won’t generally feel you need one.
Johannes Cimzar on February 15, 2016 at 11:07 am
Hey, i just bought your books on my computer! I also downloaded them to my phone with the link in the mail, but the files won’t open… Thank you!
Andy Morgan on February 16, 2016 at 8:44 am
Hi Johannes. Two possibilities I can think of:
1. It could be a difficulty downloading PDF files on your phone (clicking the link will just trigger the PDF download), in which case your best bet is to search around for support articles about PDF downloads for your particular device.
2. The download link expired. The link is set to expire after a few days and a certain number of downloads attempts. If you’ve ruled out the former, just mail us on the address above and we’ll send you a fresh download link.
Matt on February 14, 2016 at 3:15 pm
Maybe I missed this but what’s the reasoning behind decreasing volume over your programs’ mesocycles, followed by a deload, then back to it’s highest volume, vs other programs that start with a lower load and add volume, by say doing more sets for example, over the course of the cycle then deloading?
I take it that there’s an important rationale for why you place the highest volume week after the deload rather than vice versa, but I’m not sure I understand why that’s preferred.
Andy Morgan on February 15, 2016 at 4:22 am
Hi Matt. The one is a novice linear progression (page 66), the latter is an intermediate linear periodization (page 68). They both have their places depending on the recovery capacity/advancement of the trainee, so both are covered. The deload is recommended every four weeks regardless. This is all covered in the progression chapter, just give it a re-read and skip the advanced part for now.
Luca on February 14, 2016 at 1:07 am
Hello, how the refund system work? Must I conctact you via e-mail? Thank you
Andy Morgan on February 15, 2016 at 4:08 am
Just send us an email on the address at the top of the page Luca and we’ll have that arranged for you.
Zack Kaplan on February 13, 2016 at 10:20 pm
When losing weight at what point should I use the new to determine maintenance and intake calories. I’m about 15lbs down in 2 months, going on a diet break for 2 weeks. Just don’t want to think my maintenance calories are higher than they should be.
Andy Morgan on February 15, 2016 at 4:13 am
Hi Zack. To find maintenance calories for the diet break just add back in your weekly average weight loss in pounds multiplied by 500 each day.
So, if you’ve been losing 0.5 lbs per week, then add in 250 kcal each day to bring yourself to maintenance. Technically, this will bring you to something I’d call “diet condition maintenance”, not regular metabolic maintenance, but that’s what you need to do for now, until you’re looking to end your diet. When you are, you can read more about coming up to maintenance and the differences I mentioned here:
• How Do I Find Maintenance Calorie Intake After Dieting?
Tom on February 13, 2016 at 4:21 pm
Hello. I am an intermediate with physique/bodybuilding goals. Could I run the intermediate Lower/Upper/Lower/push/pull as Lower A/push A/pull A/Lower B/push B/pull B/off instead of using the strength days? I would just be repeating the Lower/push/pull layout provided with different exercises on A and B days but still following the same rep/set scheme provided. Reason for this is that I have a condition that prevents me from lifting heavy in the low rep ranges with squats and deadlifts.
Thanks and great work!
Andy Morgan on February 15, 2016 at 4:06 am
Hi Tom. Sure, that could work. Give it a go and see how you get on.
Corey Loudon on February 13, 2016 at 8:23 am
Hi, i recently purchased the ebooks and was wondering how to find the special page on the website with the spreadsheet calculation aid ?? Can’t find it anywhere.
Andy Morgan on February 15, 2016 at 4:05 am
It’s here. The title in the resources section is a clickable link and you’ll see the password there.
Matt on February 15, 2016 at 2:48 pm
Hi Andy, just FYI, I’ve tried multiple times to get the spreadsheet to work in Google Chrome but it fails every time (the spreadsheet loads but some of the calculations don’t work and it’s a struggle to work many of the drop-down boxes).
It works fine for me with Internet Explorer, though under Level 2 (Macros), it shows a breakdown for “Normal Days” and then below it there is nothing where it looks as if there’s space for something else, which is weird. Dunno if that’s how it’s suppose to be or not (i.e. is there is an alternative to “Normal Days”, whatever that means?)
Andy Morgan on February 16, 2016 at 8:52 am
Matt, thanks for letting me know. As soon as it was created I knew it would prove difficult for some people using some software, we’ve taken it as far as we could without scrapping it completely. I’ve been pleasantly surprised by how few people have had issues and sorry you’re one of those affected.
As for the “normal days” this refers to any day that isn’t a refeed. If you’ve chosen the “lean gain” option then this will be the only option and there won’t be any refeed days present in the form. Likewise for those choosing a “cutting phase” but opting out of having refeed days.
Corey on February 15, 2016 at 11:15 pm
Thanks alot! The books are awesome guys!
Andy Morgan on February 16, 2016 at 9:04 am
Thanks Corey, appreciated and you’re most welcome.
Andre on February 13, 2016 at 5:45 am
One disconnect in the strength community that I see is that many claim that volume must go up over time to progress. I understand that “weight” is a contributor to volume but if strength stalls, the answer is typically to “do more work” which means sets/reps, assuming that one can recover from it.
However, other respected coaches and athletes says that as an athlete gets stronger, they typically need less sets because of a prolonged SRA (Strength/Recovery/Adaptation) curve and their ability to do more volume with fewer sets because of how strong they are.
Both make sense to me in certain ways yet they both contradict one another. What are your thoughts on this matter? What am I missing?
Andy Morgan on February 15, 2016 at 4:02 am
“What are your thoughts on this matter?”
– The former. You’ll see this covered thoroughly in the VIF chapter of the training book.
Chris Ellis on February 12, 2016 at 4:33 pm
Ok so another question. Vitamin D3 was a suggested supplement to take. All of the D3 products that I have found have olive oil in them and they don’t say how much it contains in each pill. Now do we have to include that in with our fat Macros? And if so how do we go about this if it doesn’t give the value? Or is it so small that it doesn’t matter? Thanks!
Andy Morgan on February 15, 2016 at 3:59 am
All fat counts, but as that is such a small amount it’s probably not worth counting.
Paras on February 12, 2016 at 8:44 am
Hi guys, I have been in a deficit for 2 months now, and i want to figure out my maintenance, will the 2 week method still work ?(assuming i use the same caloric intake for 2 weeks)
Andy Morgan on February 15, 2016 at 3:58 am
Hi Paras, see this article on my site:
• How Do I Find Maintenance Calorie Intake After Dieting?
Jack on February 12, 2016 at 8:18 am
As someone who has been training for almost 3 years but has an extremely poor bench (under 225lb) would I be considered a novice and should I aim to progress using a lower rep linear based approach (5×5) or would I consider myself an intermediate and progress in a DUP fashion. Thanks!
Andy Morgan on February 15, 2016 at 3:57 am
Hi Jack. See the chapter on progression, note that the Novice, Intermediate and Advanced categories are not about how much you lift, but how well you recover. You’ll see guidelines there for you.
Jennifer Behlmaier on February 11, 2016 at 2:07 pm
So I consider myself an “intermediate” currently with my weight training. I’ve been following a “Lower/Push/Pull/Off/Lower/Push/Pull/Off” (keeps repeating), which is similar to the layout you included in the book for an intermediate bodybuilding program and I typically end up lifting 5 times a week. Would you recommend I follow the 5 day split you lay out, or stick with my current LPP split? I have found great progress hitting each muscle about twice per week. Also, should the workouts stay the same for each LPP workout, or should I do like LPP “A” and then LPP “B” workouts?
Also, how would you recommend going about adding “strength” exercises into the training? I have seen people who rotate strength workouts with their A and B days (performing only the compound movements as their strength exercises, isolation done in the “hypertrophy” range). Just looking for some feedback, thank you!
Andy Morgan on February 12, 2016 at 2:06 am
Hi Jennifer, if you are making good progress with what you are currently doing, why change it?
Paras on February 10, 2016 at 8:25 pm
If i was to aim to lose 1.5% of my body weight/week, by using the single day refeeds, would i ever plateau is losing weight ? and if i do what kind adjustments do i make ? would i have to re calculate my maintenance and and start from there again ?
THANKS ALOT GUYS I REALLY LOVE THIS BOOK
Andy Morgan on February 12, 2016 at 2:10 am
Yes. Your calorie needs will decrease as you progress with your diet. More on this here:
• Why You Need To Make Adjustments as You Diet
• When and How To Adjust Your Diet | Manipulating Macros
Santiago Nannini Velutini on February 10, 2016 at 8:22 pm
Hi, im Santiago from Venezuela, i read and view the nutritional videos and now I’m doing as you said, but I’m confused in the Macronutrients case of the pyramid, if i have to eat in a meal 120grs of Protein and 140grs of Carbs, that means that i have to serve me 120 grs of chicken or meat and 140 grs of rice? or i have to follow the nutritional facts of the chicken and rice that for example said that 170grs of rice have 45gr of carbs, so i will have to serve me 528grs of rice to eat 140 grs of Carbs???
Hoping your comments.
Santiago Nannini Velutini
Andy Morgan on February 12, 2016 at 2:02 am
Hi Santiago. See the resources section at the end of the books for links to food calculators.
Chris Ellis on February 10, 2016 at 3:18 pm
So I just read the books and they are absolutely amazing! Thank you for this information. I had a question about the Refeed days. So I do track my Macros and the book did mention that you have to lower your calories if you want a Refeed day. But then it said leave Protein and Fats the same just raise your Carbs to maintenance level. So did I read this wrong or is that the correct way, just raise my carbs and leave everything else the same on a Refeed day?
Andy Morgan on February 12, 2016 at 2:01 am
Hi Chris, thanks for the question. You’ve confused a couple of things. The way you do the refeed is described correctly: Increase your carb intake, leave the other macros alone. However you need to account for the increase in caloric intake on that day by subtracting from the rest of the days in the week to ensure the calorie balance is maintained for the week.
Chris Ellis on February 12, 2016 at 4:46 pm
So could I just drop my protein and fat and raise my carbs on my Refeed day to keep calorie balance instead of dropping them for the week to maintain? Would this also work?
Andy Morgan on February 15, 2016 at 4:01 am
You could, but I wouldn’t unless this is a deal-breaker in terms of your adherence. Protein is important for reasons covered in the macros chapter.
Abi Durrant on February 10, 2016 at 12:35 pm
Hi Eric and Andy,
I have looked through this page to no avail so apologies if this question has already been answered. As a female looking to build up her glutes, how would you recommend programming these targeted exercises in? Could I include instead of calf exercises on lower days for example? Or would you recommend having less volume on upper body and spread out program into 3 lower body days and 2 upper?
Andy Morgan on February 12, 2016 at 1:58 am
Hi Abi. Add in some extra glute targeting exercises two days a week perhaps. Isolation work on these are generally fairly easy to recover from, just work your way up in intensity so you don’t cripple yourself with DOMS initially and the impact to the rest of your training will be minimal and you can probably get away with not changing (or swapping out) other exercises.
Khalifa on February 10, 2016 at 11:44 am
Is there a possibility of purchasing a hard copy now or in the near feature?
Andy Morgan on February 12, 2016 at 1:56 am
Hi Khalifa. We’re looking into it, but if we do go ahead it won’t be till the second half of the year.
Pau on February 10, 2016 at 9:08 am
First of all awesome books, one of the bests investment i made in fitness to date! (along with Lyle’s books)
I have a pair of questions about the Novice Bodybuilding routine and a suggestion for the next update, there I go:
1- Wouldn’t you add some reverse flies, face pulls or Y prone lift? Maybe 2×15 the 2 day, using APS with flies. Just to promote shoulder health.
2- I don’t understand a little thing about the novice progression:
“If you can’t complete all sets and reps as assigned with the same load (ideally within the RPE range), do not increase load on the same day the next week, attempt the same weight again”
How do you do it?
For instance, (I’ll take the 3×15 flies as a example) I start the first set of flies within the low range of RPE (7), next set I hit a 8 of RPE and the last one would be 8’5 or 9. What should I do?
– Stop the reps as soon as I hit the high range of the RPE allowed (8) and finish the workout with these sets of flies: 1×15, 1×15, 1×13 – Mantaining weight next week and trying to finish all the reps within the RPE range.
– Finish all the sets and reps – Mantaining weight next week and trying to finish all sets within a lower RPE.
If I don’t hit the RPE range allowed the second week? Would this be what you call a “stall”?
3- Suggestion: I would like you to link a little both books, that is to say: What possible changes to do in the training when mantaining, or if I’m bulking and start to transition to def. do I mantain the same volume?
I know it’s been answered in this FAQ, but it would be nice to be added in the books.
PD: Sorry for my english
Andy Morgan on February 12, 2016 at 1:55 am
Hi Pau, thanks for the questions.
1. You could do that You’ve read they are good for shoulder health, but it would be a mistake to take that to assume that are necessary for everyone. Look at the reason they have been recommended and then consider how you would apply that to the individual. Same can be said of a ton of “corrective” or “preventative” exercises.
2. The RPE range is a guideline for where the intensity of the first set in the progression should fall, it doesn’t relate to the following sets.
3. Thank you. We’ll be considering all these questions when updating the books. 🙂
Pau on February 17, 2016 at 6:43 pm
Thanks for the kind answer.
So if I did the flies (7-8 RPE) and I can finish all the sets and reps but in a 10 RPE the last one (hitting failure)… Do I keep with the progression and increase load?
The single leg press for instance, have a low RPE (6-7), If I kept progressing that way, wouldn’t I (at some point during the progression) start the first set in a higher RPE?
Sorry, I don’t understand this bit… :/
Andy Morgan on February 19, 2016 at 7:10 pm
2. The training progression will drive adaptation which will cause the RPE to stay around the same level.
Jayden on February 10, 2016 at 6:57 am
I am currently reading through your muscle and strength training book and am loving it!
I am towards the very end and just had a question as I couldn’t see anything about it in the book.
What are your thoughts on 2 sessions a day training? My friend tells me he enjoys it and it works for him at the time being but I try to tell him that it isn’t more effective than training once a day and it is quite unsustainable.
He likes to do chest in the morning and then back in the evening.
What are your thoughts? is there a way to make it beneficial, if time is not an issue!
Andy Morgan on February 12, 2016 at 1:50 am
Hi Jayden, when you’ve finished reading your way through you’ll have your answer. Let me know in a reply here if you wish to confirm understanding.
Jayden on February 12, 2016 at 4:52 am
Andy Morgan on February 15, 2016 at 3:56 am
Joel Viray on February 10, 2016 at 12:20 am
I bought the books and love them so far. I’m at roughly 28% body fat at 259.4lbs as of this morning. If I follow the protein recommendations I’m nearing 300 grams of protein. Not really ideal to eat that much, I believe. Is the cm to height you mentioned okay to use? I’m going to try 20% fat and fill the rest with carbs. I want to cut all kinds of weight by the summer.
Does this sound like a good plan?
Andy Morgan on February 10, 2016 at 4:43 am
– Yes, that’s why I wrote it in the FAQ.
– That’s up to you. Notes on choosing the balance of carbs and fat in the macros chapter.
John on February 9, 2016 at 5:42 pm
Hi, may i know what is the currency used for checkout?
Andy Morgan on February 10, 2016 at 4:40 am
Hi John. USD.
Stefan on February 9, 2016 at 3:45 pm
I recently purchased both of the ebooks and so far they have brought a great deal of knowledge to me and I am just about to hit the gym with my first session of the intermediate bodybuilder programme that you have given as an example.
However, I am quite confused as to how I am supposed to progress on this programme? Every other programme that you have included in the book has rough estimations on load or reps increased while the intermediate bodybuilder one, doesn’t.
I would really appreciate it if you could clarify.
Andy Morgan on February 10, 2016 at 4:44 am
Hi Stefan. Instructions on progression for the intermediate bodybuilding program follow the same rules for progression for the others.
Campbell on February 9, 2016 at 9:19 am
I’ve recently come across some studies showing that muscle damage caused by eccentric training leads to transient insulin resistance. If this is the case, would that have practical implications regarding macro timing / selection during the period of insulin resistance?
Eric Helms on February 24, 2016 at 6:35 pm
Campbell try to find studies where the measured outcome is body composition or strength, that’d be what you base changes to your plan on. Not data that is one step removed. Plus muscle damage should not be excessive if you are training appropriately after the initial stages of a change to training.
Jose Fuentes on February 8, 2016 at 2:14 pm
As an addition to Gianlucas question about deloading, if you do the exercise a couple of days a week like in the powerlift program. Should you, if you stall deload the exercise for the whole next week or just the same day for the next week?
Andy Morgan on February 10, 2016 at 4:36 am
Hi Jose! The whole of the next week.
Moe on February 7, 2016 at 4:26 pm
just one question if you dont mind since i cant find a answer within the nutrition ebook…
I train 4+ days a week and for 2hours or longer at times, i took some bad advice from a friend and was on 1700-2000 calories for a few months as a cut without any knowledge of my maintenance calories. i think it maybe damaged my metabolism because the caloric deficit made me weaker, i lost muscle and i barely got out of each workout without insane DOMS. After watching Eric Helms videos on youtube i realized my mistake and gradually increased my calories to 3000 where i have yet to see any change in weight to GAIN (since the 1700 calorie change). After further calculations in ‘lean gains’ i am currently at 3355 calories and for the first time i have started to LOSE weight? i have lost one pound in just a few days at this amount of calories. i am truly confused. Am i in a deficit? i want to gain muscle. i apologize for the length of this question but as you can see i have nowhere to go. Again i want to thank those responsible for the writing of this magnificent piece of work, truly an answer to 99% of questions i have ever had.
Andy Morgan on February 10, 2016 at 4:35 am
Hi Moe. Your metabolism isn’t damaged, you just mistook a random weight fluctuation for a change in calorie balance circumstances.
If you are losing weight, you are in a calorie deficit. However, it’s essential to gauge this over a period of several weeks, with weight taken as averages described to establish trends. A big shit or slight dehydration, can cause a drop in weight signaling falsely that you’re in a deficit otherwise; some constipation and/or water bloat and/or a spike can falsely signal you’re in a calorie surplus otherwise.
More on tracking in my article here:
• How To Track Your Progress Like A Pro, To Ensure Body Composition Goal Success
Moe on February 13, 2016 at 4:46 pm
Thank you Andy for replying! i saw that my weight fluctuated often throughout this last week by
1-2lbs even. i took your advice and averaged my weigh-ins while at 3000 cals and found them to be 190.64 and then kept weigh-ins for my first week at 3355 cals and the total weekly average weigh-in came out to 190.82. According to what i have understood in the nutrition book…calculating this .2lbs increase, does that mean i gained .2(3500cals) = 700cal surplus for the week? does that mean im only in a 100cal surplus every day, so that my actual more accurate maintenance is ~3250 calories? i really would appreciate sorting me out of this slight confusion about my maintenance calories, although really happy with a final gain in weight even if only .2 lbs!
Andy Morgan on February 15, 2016 at 4:07 am
“According to what i have understood in the nutrition book…calculating this .2lbs increase, does that mean i gained .2(3500cals) = 700cal surplus for the week?”
You can’t tell anything based on a single week of data. That could be a difference in gut content, water weight, glycogen levels. Track across multiple weeks, establish a trend, and only then should you adjust.
Chris on February 7, 2016 at 1:00 pm
I’m having issues ordering the ebooks. I’m from Canada, and it says my credit card is invalid. I checked to make sure my billing information is correct, just to be sure. I’m really eager to order these, so anything you guys can do to help me out would be great!
Andy Morgan on February 10, 2016 at 4:29 am
Hi Chris, this is something you’ll have to get sorted on the Paypal end. We don’t have any control there I’m afraid. Call them, they are usually very helpful.
Nathan on February 6, 2016 at 9:39 pm
Thank you to you both (and Andrea) for providing two really incredible resources, as well as being so informative I personally found them to be utterly empowering. Sincerely, thank you.
Just one thing to clarify for me:
If you’re neither gaining or losing scale weight – Lets say, maintenance calories (and assuming correct macronutrient consumption). Is it possible to be reducing BF