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Mad Scientist Muscle
By Nick Nilsson - Review

Review by Rahul Alvares

I used to be called a ‘Mad Scientist’ in school. You didn’t have to be mad or for that matter experiment with crazy stuff in the lab to earn at title like that though. I earned it just by being the sissy, geeky bespectacled kid who did better than the rest at studies by sitting on the first bench in class!

Nick Nilsson really deserves it though. He was probably experimenting with weight training lifting mommy’s vital organs while still inside her womb and he’ll probably be doing leg presses against his own coffin door even after it’s six feet and six months under. I wouldn’t even be surprised if he attended ‘potions class’ at Hogwarts school along with Harry Potter!

Like all of Nick Nilsson’s previous books this is a must have. Trust me just get this ‘Frankenstein Training’ program of his and dump it on your shelf (or rather in a folder on your computer titled ‘masochistic training programs’). Open it only when you’ve plateaued with all your other training programs, or when you’re feeling mildly suicidal.

One of the great things about Nick Nilsson’s programs is that they incorporate a variety of training techniqes (100s, heavy partials, triple add sets, time volume, cluster training, it’s all in there). If you’re like me then you’re probably constantly writing new programs for yourself. You see any bodybuilder worth his salt knows that familiarity, besides breeding comtempt, will also plateau out your gains eventually. The beauty of Nick’s programs is that they change almost every other day. I still do customize his programs to my needs sometimes, but in general I’ve found you hardly need to.

To be honest though I actually haven’t yet tried ‘Mad Scientist’. Why? Because right now I’m actually on two of his earlier books ‘Metabolic Surge’ and ‘Muscle Explosion’. I can tell you from experience though just by looking at ‘Mad Scientist’ that it will be a brutal program. At eight weeks in total it’s also his longest program so far. The earlier two programs were between four and six weeks long. That’s another reason why its going to be a while before I get on the ‘Mad Scientist’ program (much less daunting to start on a shorter program when you know its going to be a tough one for sure!).

Click here to learn more about "Mad Scientist Muscle"

Mad Scientist Muscle
Second Opinion

The first thing I want to make clear when you look at "Mad Scientist Muscle" is that this actually IS a serious program and a seriously GOOD program. Don't let the name fool you :)

This program by Nick Nilsson is based on good, scientific training principles and is definitely not just same random crazy sh$# thrown together.

There is a method to his madness. I'm not saying there isn't some really cool and effective crazy sh$# in there...it's just not random...

Controlled Overtraining...

What Nick has done is put together a series of programs based on the concept of "controlled overtraining," also known as "accumulation and intensification" or "dual factor theory."

To put it simply, in these programs, you'll gradually ramp up your training volume by increasing the number of sets you're doing (this is done on a weekly basis), while simulatenously DECREASING your rest periods in between sets, thus increasing the overall density of your training in a very deliberate fashion.

The author of Mad Scientist Muscle, Nick Nilsson
The author of Mad Scientist Muscle, Nick Nilsson

Increasing training density is extremely effective for muscle growth and strength gains. What the "Mad Scientist" programs do (and there are three of them in the book) is structure the increase in density for you, gradually building up to a point at or near overtraining.

This is the "accumulation" phase as you're gradually accumulating workload and training volume over the course of 3 weeks.

So, when you HIT this point of overtraining, that's when you back off on both the training volume AND the rest periods. You'll do fewer sets and with long rest periods in between sets. You're also going to reduce the rep ranges so that you're working with more power and strength-oriented loads.

Coming off this overtraining ramp-up, your body is desperately trying to keep up with recovery...the analogy Nick uses in his book is that of a car going up a steep hill. You have the gas pedal floored but you're still going slow.

When you come up and over the top of the hill and keep the pedal down, you pick up speed FAST...just like when your body comes off the overtraining phase. You're going to pick up speed FAST. This is the "intensification" phase, called that because you're increasing the INTENSITY of the workload, operating closer to your 1RM.

This overall training scheme is extremely effective. It makes great use of your body's predictable reactions to volume and overreaching and takes full advantage of the rebound on the other side.

All three included programs are put together in this format, utilizing different training techniques for each accumulation and intensification phase. You'll really see the "mad scientist" stuff come out to play in the training techniques themselves :)

The cool part is, this "mad scientist" stuff is actually very well thought-out and not just a collection of strange intensity techniques.

These are very effective training strategies that are implemented in a very logical fashion to achieve very specific effects on your body. This is a very accepted training-protocol that can absolutely deliver results in strength and muscle mass.

Stuctural Training

Here's where it gets interesting...

Nick's theory is that by utilizing certain specific types of training, you can make changes to the physiology of your body/muscles in order to better set the stage for future muscle growth.

His idea is that there are certain aspects of your physiology that can be "trained up" using the right techniques so that your body is better prepared for muscle growth. If you have a hard time building muscle (classic hardgainer), this could be a very attractive idea for you. Heck, even if you're NOT, the idea of turning yourself into an even EASIER gainer is not bad, too!

The question is does this idea have merit?

In a word...yes. The training styles that Nick puts forward in his "Structural Training" section DO have the potential to make very positive changes to your body's physiology that impact future muscle growth.

For example, partial training is a very widely accepted method for increasing the strength of your bones and connective tissue due to the super-maximal loads you're able to use. Using heavier weights also primes the nervous system for using heavier weights in FULL range of motion, too.

Also, one of the other changeable factors he talks about in the book is capillary density in the muscles...basically the number and density of the tiny blood vessels where oxygen and nutrient exchange take place. By using very high rep, endurance-type training, research HAS shown you can increase capilliary density. And by increasing this density, you enhance the ability of your muscles to receive nutrients and oxygen, which means more fuel and food for them to GROW.

His incorporation of Structural Training into the overall framework of the program is done in a very elegant and intuitive manner. You'll start with it before you do anything else (what better time to set the stage!) then you'll do more of it just after you hit the overtraining point.

Potential Weaknesses of the Mad Scientist Muscle Program...

Overall, this is a strong program. It'll definitely deliver great results in terms of muscle and strength.

It would be nice to see more of a focus on performance in the program. You absolutely WILL gain strength on the intensification end of the program, though. The way it's structured pretty much ensures it.

The other thing that might be something to modify would be the split training aspect of it. Being from more of a bodybuilding background, Nick has used bodypart splits. Now, these CAN be effective when done properly and with primarily compound exercises (and that's exactly how these programs are put together) but you could absolutely use the frameworks provided and change up the focus to be more on training movements rather than bodyparts.

From a bodybuilding perspective, this is absolutely effective stuff. It WILL make you bigger and stronger.

There really isn't anything in here that should stop you from picking up this program if you're interested in hypertrophy and strength. You'll definitely learn a lot from the approach Nick puts forward in this book.


Bottom line is this a very complete program and very effective for what it proposes to deliver...muscle and strength.

You're going to get SIX MONTHS of detailed training schedules, covering every single set and rep and exercise along the way. If you're looking for a real "done for you" type of program, this will be right up your alley. The included "lean muscle" meal plans are a nice bonus, too.

Nick is also offering separately an add-on program for the book that he calls "Frankenstein" and I have to say, when you SEE this program, you'll know exactly why he called it that. This one is only for advanced trainers...I'll tell you that right now.

I will give you a hint, though, it starts with six-day-a-week training working your WHOLE body every day, before backing off to three days a week. After you pick up the main "Mad Scientist Muscle" program, you'll be able to grab that one, too, in a package along with ANOTHER book he's just put out "The Best Mass Exercises You've Never Heard Of" (yet another very interesting book from Nick..it's a collection of 119 of some of the most unique mass-building exercises and training techniques you've ever seen - very cool stuff).


Learn more about "Mad Scientist Muscle"


Muscle Explosion! 28 Days To Maximum Mass
The Best Arm Exercises You've Never Heard Of
The Best Back Exercises You've Never Heard Of
The Best Chest Exercises You've Never Heard Of
The Best Abdominal Exercises You've Never Heard Of

Gluteus to the Maximus - Build a Bigger Butt NOW!
The Best Exercises You've Never Heard Of
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