Review of the Accelerated Muscular Development Program
Strength coach and trainer Jim Smith says that he developed the Accelerated Muscular Development (AMD) program after becoming frustrated by his efforts to stop being the “98-pound weakling” and put on lean muscle. He also says that the AMD Program is a complete system designed not to just show you the workouts, but to provide you with the knowledge you need to be able to “make your own decisions based on your individual needs.”
That statement by itself is important because it shows that this isn’t a “one size fits all” kind of program. Each person is unique and his (or her) body has different needs in terms particular training approaches that are most effective. AMD is designed so that you can easily customize the program so that it best suits your particular needs. I also like the fact that in regards to getting started on the program, Jim offers an “express” option, which allows you to quickly dive right into the routines. This way, you can take start training immediately and take your time learning about the underlying principles of the program.
All of the AMD workouts are based on a single template, which has three columns (upper body, lower body and full body). Each of these columns is then divided into four sections—ACS, AMD, Core and then ACS again. I’ll explain what each of these means a little later. The system is built around a 16-week progression of workouts. The first four weeks is spent developing foundation strength, followed by eight weeks of strength/mass-building and then finally, four weeks focused on developing strength and power.
The first section of the AMD manual is focused on helping the reader to gain and understanding about muscle fibers and the how’s and why’s of muscle-building. This knowledge puts you on the road to understanding your body’s particular needs and sets the stage for customization of the AMD program. The next section is all about nutrition. Here, Jim talks about the basics of nutrition such as protein, carbs and fat. He also shows you how to calculate your body fat percentage and to determine your daily caloric needs based both on your body type and your activity level.
Next, Jim launches into an in-depth discussion of the AMD program. Accelerated Muscular Development incorporates both undulating periodization (UND) and escalated density training (EDT). With UND, your training program changes with every successive workout, varying volume, intensity and tempo. The purpose of this is to keep your muscles in a constant state of adaption and therefore, avoid training plateaus. EDT was originally developed by a guy named Charles Staley. It is designed to produce quick results in a short timeframe by incorporating training blocks of 15-20 minutes followed by rest periods. By incorporating both models into the program, AMD facilitates rapid muscle growth.
UND exercises are the “primary” exercises and EDT exercises are the “supplemental” ones. Other components of the workout sequence include Accelerated Corrective Strategies (ACS) and Combat Core Strength (CORE). ACS is designed to improve fluidity, prevent injuries and increase mobility. The CORE component is supposed to do just what it sounds like—focus on your core.
Your basic AMD workout will start with 5-10 minutes of ACS exercises before moving into a 5-minute warm-up period. Next up are the primary and supplementary (UND and EDT) exercises for 15-25 minutes, followed by 5 minutes of CORE exercises and wrapped up with 5-10 minutes more of ACS exercises. The 3-day-a-week workout sequence is done once for lower body, once for the upper body, followed by one full-body session. Each training session lasts about 40 minutes.
By now you’re probably thinking, “This sounds great, but how the hell am I supposed to keep track of all this?” Remember the template I mentioned earlier? That’s how you’re able to follow all of the sequences without getting confused. Once you have the basics down, following the template is easy. And, everything you need is included. AMD comes with companion guides that provide in-depth information about each of the sections—ACS, UND, EDT, CORE and warm-up. In addition to the Quick Reference Guide so you can dive right into the program, AMD also includes sample meal plans for fat loss.
To wrap it up, in looking over Jim’s AMD Program, I like what I see. It’s a challenging but effective program that doesn’t try to sell itself as an effort-free “magic bullet” like so many others. In my book, that makes it a winner, well worth checking out.
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