UPDATE – Mad Scientist Muscle has been superseded by Nick Nilsson’s new program: Time Volume Training. Click/Tap here to read my review of Time Volume Training.
Mad Scientist Muscle is an eccentrically titled muscle building program that belies its scientific and sound foundations. The self-appointed bizarre scientist is the author himself, Nick Nilsson, who likes to view himself as a sort of crazy scientist because of his unconventional methods.
Well, there is nothing mad about his muscle-building strategies, and in fact, he shows an in-depth and intimate knowledge of the muscle-building process, a skill that comes from over 20 years of training and coaching with great success.
There is very much a method in the madness of the program, which is based on a number of different techniques designed to shake up any plateau and breakthrough stagnation.
In particular, Mad Scientist Muscle makes use of a well-known technique called “accumulation and intensification” which is well known to professional weight lifters or sportsmen, but still not as popular as it should be.
It is a technique about cleverly using temporary overtraining to your own advantage combined with a skillful balance of de-loading periods, cleverly mixed together in order to prevent adaptation and homeostasis from setting in, thus eliciting gains up to your full potential.
However, the program is not just about accumulation and intensification. Nick Nilsson also uses other muscle-building break-through techniques for the purpose of forcing stubborn muscles to grow.
This review will explore the program to tell you why this unique approach is so effective for anyone stuck in a dead-end, from skinny ectomorphs to regular trainers plateauing.
Who Is The Ideal Candidate For This Program?
Mad Scientist Muscle is a program suitable for anyone who has trouble building muscle, hard gainers, skinny guys, or even advanced lifters who experience plateaus and want to kick start the process of muscle building again.
The plan is very thorough in its layout and meticulous in its application, with all the workouts, sets, and reps programmed for 6 months on different cycles, which can be then repeated.
You can start even at the beginner’s stage, but really not as an absolute beginner. If you have few months of beginner workout history on a regular plan, that’s better, as you would have had time to build a basic foundation and see the first newbie gains, before jumping into this demanding plan.
How Does It Work Exactly?
This program is optimized for a kind of strategic, temporary overtraining, which is very different from chronic overtraining.
Chronic overtraining happens when you continuously carry on hammering your body with an excessive workout volume.
This is a situation that mostly arises when people hit a plateau and no further gains are made.
The reason why no further gains are made is that the body has adjusted to the same stimulus and has settled down in the comfort zone of homeostasis, having no purpose to increase muscle size since it can already handle that load and volume in its current strength and size configuration.
To break through this stagnation situation, most people react by working even harder, increasing the number of sets, workout duration, and overall volume.
This may work for a little while, until stagnation sets in again and even more workload is added in an attempt to break through, over and over again with no end in sight until a final plateauing is reached.
The end result is chronic overtraining which can only lead to an even greater, negative inroad and ultimately a reduction in performance, regression in muscle gains, and even injury.
Since undertraining and chronic overtraining are not the answer, Nick Nilsson’s strategy is designed to periodize high volume and low volume phases so as to keep the stimulus high while at the same time giving a chance to the body to recover and grow.
This process is nothing new and has been around for ages. It’s called accumulation and intensification.
Accumulation And Intensification
This is a strategy long used by bodybuilders or gymnasts designed to allow the total volume to build up and help the muscle gain process to happen without actually going into chronic overtraining.
The idea is to build up the volume while decreasing rest times between sets for 2 or 3 weeks in order to deliberately bring the body into a temporary overtraining state, only for this short while.
This accumulation period is then followed by a 2 or 3 weeks intensification period whereas total volume, or the number of sets, is reduced and rest times between sets are increased.
This way, the body already fatigued from the previous accumulation time and struggling to keep up with the muscle gaining process, suddenly finds itself in a much less demanding environment with less workload with longer rest times, resulting in an increase in muscle gains and strength.
Nick Nilsson likens this two-phase process to a car struggling uphill at reduced speed with the gas to the floor, then accelerating at great speed downhill once past the top. Without the uphill gradient (workout volume), the car quickly increases speed (muscle gains). The process is then repeated.
Tendons – Blood – Nervous System And Fascia
However, this is not the end of the story about muscle-building techniques for those stuck in a dead-end. This program offers a whole set of other tools to help you break through stagnation.
These techniques offer an ancillary workload to the existing accumulation and intensification method that goes beyond the simple manipulation of sets, repetitions, rest times, volume, and intensity.
They are in place to offer a new challenge to other components of your body so as to help it handle heavier weights, feed your muscles in a more efficient way, and prime your nervous system.
There are 4 additional techniques in this program arsenal:
Partial Repetitions Training – This is another old-school technique. It consists of performing partial repetitions at the top of the end of the range of motion, depending on the exercise, with much greater weights than you would be able to handle on a full range.
This is done in order to strengthen the tendons and ligaments, aside from providing extra stimulus for the central nervous system. The net result in an increase in strength and the ability to perform the same full-range sets with greater loads later.
Super High Repetition Training – Additional supersets of up to 100 repetitions with very light weights, done with the idea to improve blood and oxygen supply to the targeted muscle group and ultimately provide them with an improved nutrients supply for optimal growth.
Fast Training – Fast sets in the 20/25 repetition range with the idea to activate the nervous system, with a carry-over effect on regular training.
Stretch Training – This last technique is in place in order to actually stretch the fascia, the connective tissue encasing your muscles, to give the muscles more room to grow.
Mad Scientist Muscle Workout Schedule
There are different schedules around when it comes to accumulation and intensification, but Nick Nilsson chose one based on a 3-week time frame, that is 3 weeks for progressive volume accumulation followed by 3 weeks of intensification.
Other protocols may be shorter or longer than this, but 3 weeks seems to be a belt and braces solution for most individuals, even though it may be adjusted to your own personal response.
In the accumulation phase, each muscle group is targeted 3 times a week, each time with a different repetition range, but the total number of sets increases from week to week, increasing volume more and more through the weeks.
In the following 3-week Intensification phase the muscle is still targeted 3 times a week with different repetition ranges for each workout, but the number of sets is kept low and constant throughout the phase, so the total volume is greatly reduced, but the intensity is still there.
Workouts are spread over 4 times a week and last no more than 1 hour, most of the time under 45 minutes.
What About Nutrition?
That’s included. It is a no-nonsense nutritional guide called Mass Building Meal Plans designed allegedly to promote muscle gains while losing fat at the same time.
It may work for some people, but others with a heavy body fat percentage may want to lose extra fat first, then implement the build muscle/lose fat approach when their body fat gets to lower levels, or it would take forever to lose all the fat while building muscle at the same time.
Who Is Nick Nilsson?
Nick Nilsson is a well-known author, coach, and fitness expert. A former skinny guy with a long-distance runner history, he switched over to bodybuilding and built up to 75lbs of muscle on his frame to become a 215lbs weight lifter.
He perfected his knowledge in the art of building muscle by obtaining a degree in physical education and psychology.
The bottom line is that Nick Nilsson is very much qualified in coaching people on how to build muscle.
Mad Scientist Muscle Program Components
The plan is completely digital, it can be downloaded immediately and viewed on your smartphone, tablet or PC.
It comes with PDF manuals and a 200 video library, the training workouts schedule, the nutritional guide, a special “tricks and tips” manual with high-intensity techniques, a manual with information on how to increase testosterone levels naturally, and, last but not least, email support from Nick Nilsson himself, who is very prompt and replies quickly to queries.
Mad Scientist Muscle is a real deal. It offers a tried and tested method for building muscle to your full potential, helping you break through stagnation and avoiding wasted time and frustration.
The training principles have a solid scientific foundation and have been used for a long time by scores of top bodybuilders, weight lifters, and athletes.
The accumulation and intensification technique, together with the ancillary methods for strengthening the whole body, sharpening your nervous system, increasing your blood supply, and strengthening your connective tissue, make Mad Scientist Muscle an effective blueprint to kick start muscle gains again through any plateau and to their full development.
Jay always had a passion for fitness. A former skinny guy, he built himself 35 lb of lean muscle over the years using different training strategies, going through failures and eventually succeeding, and now wants to share his knowledge with those who value fitness as a way of life (See all posts by Jay Fielding).