Jon Benson – 7 Minute Musde
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Building muscle on a limited time budget can be a TREMENDOUS challenge, no matter if you’re an elite athlete with a jam-packed training schedule or have a family, a job, and a multitude of other obligations that keep you out of the gym.
So what would you think if you could use a program that took that “don’t have time” thing out of the equation by giving you an effective muscle-building workout in 7 minutes a day?
Yep, load of crap was what I first thought, too!
But I have to say, after reading a copy of Jon Benson’s 7 Minute Muscle program, I can see exactly where he’s coming from and how not only IS it possible but it could be just as effective as many other higher-volume training programs that I’ve seen and know to be effective.
I’ll say this right up front…when I first began the book, I was struck by the similarities in training philosophy to Escalating Density Training. Sure enough, in black and white on page 29 of the book, I read “Legendary strength coach Charles Staley popularized the term density training…”
“7 Minute Muscle” uses some VERY similar concept to EDT…for example,
- working within a defined block of time
- not purposefully training to failure on every set (i.e. managing fatigue)
- focusing on training DENSITY and performance rather than just trying to make training hurt as much as possible
- training explosively because that’s what the muscles are designed for
So the similarities are many and the execution is SOMEWHAT similar, but overall, Jon’s taken the density training concept and really done some original things with it. I really like the direction he’s gone with it (and legendary is such a great word).
Knowing firsthand just how effective Escalating Density Training is, I have no doubt the concepts you’ll be using in “7 Minute Muscle” are sound. Jon’s done a nice job of explaining how his version of density training works. I use a little bit different explanation when talking about why density training is so effective but the core concepts are dead on.
- you’re not trashing the nervous system, hormonal systems (endocrine) and recovery abilities of your body by training to failure all the time
- you take a set block of time (in Jon’s case, 7 minutes) and work to maximize your workload within that timeframe
- you focus your rep ranges on the most productive in terms of strength and muscle mass
So we’ve determined that the program is based on sound, effective principles…principles that I’ve used in my own training programs with great success.
Now the key is this…how is “7 Minute Muscle” different from Escalating Density Training?
Honestly, that’ll be tough to answer without giving away the whole thing but I’ll take a crack at it 🙂
One of the core differences is that Jon’s decided to focus on one muscle group at a time with his version (an EDT PR Zone works two bodyparts). But don’t think it’s as simple as that…one of the OTHER core differences is that you’ll be working in several different exercises in a very specific order and fashion. I have to say, it’s a very good concept and one that I’ll be very interested to try out.
Jon has also included a tremendous amount of information on the mental aspect of training. For example, how to reliably get in the “zone” where you see peak performance, what it the “zone” actually IS (in terms of brainwaves), and a whole lot more.
I really like that Jon has included access to a number of training videos that show you EXACTLY how the training is performed. Seeing something in action is a whole different ballgame from just reading about it.
If there is one weakness to the program it’s that it isn’t so well suited to bodyweight exercises. Increasing the resistance with bodyweight exercises and utilizing them in the program can be a challenge. It’s definitely not impossible but it will be easier if you’ve got some standard equipment like dumbells, barbells and benches, etc.
Overall, this is a very good program. If you’re short on time and looking for efficient muscle-building training, this is a great option. It’s definitely NOT easy training. If you’ve done density training, you know how challenging THAT can be, even though you’re not always working to failure. This is a challenging program, even at the beginner level, but it’s level of challenge is totally targeted to what you’re capable of doing.