A Review of Eric Helms' The Muscle and Strength Pyramid - Training
If you are looking for a comprehensive and evidence-based guide to designing your own training program, you might want to check out Eric Helms' The Muscle and Strength Pyramid - Training. This book is based on a simple but powerful concept: a pyramid that ranks the factors that influence your training outcomes from most to least important. By understanding and applying this hierarchy, you can optimize your training for your specific goals, whether they are bodybuilding, powerlifting, or general fitness.
The book covers six levels of the pyramid: adherence, volume-intensity-frequency, progression, exercise selection, rest periods, and tempo. Each level is explained in detail, with practical examples and recommendations. You will learn how to adjust these variables according to your experience level, individual differences, preferences, and recovery ability. You will also learn how to periodize your training for long-term progress and avoid plateaus, overtraining, and injuries.
The book is written by Eric Helms, a certified strength and conditioning specialist, as well as a holder of a BS in fitness and wellness, an MS in exercise science and sports nutrition and a PhD in strength and conditioning[^2^]. He is also a natural bodybuilder and powerlifter with over a decade of coaching experience. He is joined by co-authors Andrea Valdez and Andy Morgan, who are also experienced coaches and athletes. Together, they have created a book that is not only based on scientific research, but also on their own practical experience and wisdom.
The Muscle and Strength Pyramid - Training is not a cookie-cutter program that tells you what to do without explaining why. It is a book that teaches you how to think critically and creatively about your own training. It is a book that empowers you to take control of your own fitness journey and achieve your full potential.
If you are interested in reading this book, you can find it online at archive.org [^3^] or muscleandstrengthpyramids.com.
In this section, we will briefly review each level of the pyramid and highlight some key points and tips. For a more in-depth discussion and application of each level, we highly recommend reading the book.
The first and most important level of the pyramid is adherence. This means how well you can stick to your training program over time. Without adherence, none of the other factors matter. You can have the most optimal program in the world, but if you don't follow it consistently, you won't see any results.
Adherence is influenced by many factors, such as your motivation, enjoyment, convenience, flexibility, and feedback. To improve your adherence, you should choose a program that aligns with your goals, preferences, lifestyle, and personality. You should also monitor your progress and make adjustments as needed. You should celebrate your achievements and learn from your setbacks. And most importantly, you should have fun and enjoy the process.
The second level of the pyramid is volume-intensity-frequency. These are the three main variables that determine how much work you do in your training. Volume is the total amount of work you do in a given time period, usually measured by sets x reps x weight. Intensity is how hard you work relative to your maximum capacity, usually measured by percentage of one-rep max (1RM) or rate of perceived exertion (RPE). Frequency is how often you train a given muscle group or movement pattern in a given time period, usually measured by sessions per week.
Volume-intensity-frequency are interrelated and affect each other. Generally speaking, the higher the volume or intensity, the lower the frequency should be, and vice versa. The optimal balance of these variables depends on your goal, experience level, recovery ability, and individual response. For example, if your goal is hypertrophy (muscle growth), you might benefit from higher volume and moderate intensity with moderate to high frequency. If your goal is strength, you might benefit from lower volume and higher intensity with low to moderate frequency.
To optimize your volume-intensity-frequency, you should start with a baseline that is appropriate for your goal and experience level. You should then adjust it based on your progress and feedback. You should also periodize your training by varying these variables over time to avoid stagnation and overtraining. 061ffe29dd