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The Formula for Muscle Growth with Eric Helms

I’ve been a fan of Eric’s work for a long time and it was an absolute joy to finally have the chance to talk with him! Greg also joined us for this talk which made it twice as good!

Here were my questions:

1:23 – Is there a default setup of intensity, volume and frequency that naturally leads to progressive overload? 

Eric delivers one of the best answers I’ve ever heard.

6:25 – Can we train for size? 

You’ll learn why hypertrophy isn’t a direct adaptation, it’s a side effect of having bigger muscle fibers to be stronger and bigger fuel reserves to have more endurance.

10:53 – Many people mention that volume is the main driver of hypertrophy. Do you feel that volume in and of itself is what leads to growth or that the role of volume is actually to drive strength gains?

Eric explains why pure volume creates growth to a certain degree because it leads to increased fuel storage. After a certain point however, your muscles adapt to doing a high degree of work and the fuel cell is big enough.

After that point, the reason you may need to increase volume is to drive progressive overload. You need a certain volume of heavy enough work to produce an adaptive stimulus.

The volume you do needs to go up over your training career.

18:33 – Would you say that as long as you’re making strength gains, you should be doing as little volume as you can? 

There are two ways people answer this question:

  • Some people say that you should be doing the maximum amount of volume that you can recover from because that will give you optimal progress.
  • Other people say that you should be doing the minimum amount while you’re still progressing because then you can always add more.

You’ll hear why Eric believes it’s more practical to be on the lower side.

22:56 – Greg ask: If you’re adding volume consistently but your strength is maintaining how much bigger can you theoretically get? 

Eric explains why you should add volume only if it translates to functional improvements. Otherwise you’re adding it too quickly.

28:42 – Why do some people can get to a very advanced level of strength without having to increase volume? 

Eric explains how you shouldn’t consider someone advanced by the way they compare to other people. Some people’s “intermediate” level may be above someone else’s “elite” level.

He then tells the story of Bryce Lewis who actually wasn’t advanced at all when he could squat 400 pounds and deadlift 600. Considering the level he’s at now, we could say he was an intermediate back then.

31:28 – You can create an effective training program by setting the volume, intensity and frequency in a whole number of ways. Is there a way to know whether a person would do better on a different combination of intensity, volume and frequency?

You can only do that through practice. That’s how good coaches help their lifters. Eric explains what he looks for when coaching clients and how he optimizes their routines.

40:03 – Tell us a few details about your upcoming book.

Eric is going to release a book in 2-3 months that will help people set up an effective nutrition and training plan for themselves.

42:20 – Where can people find more of your work? 

3D Muscle Journey Website:
3DMJ YouTube page:
3DMJ Facebook page:


What did you think about this interview? Did you learn something new? Have anything to share? Let me know in the comments below ! 


    • Radu Antoniu on October 19, 2015 at 8:07 pm

      Da, sigur esti in zona de 7-8%.

      Super treaba! Arati excelent !

      • Moonlight15 on October 20, 2015 at 3:25 am

        Meritul este al tau,nu faceam nimic fara sfaturile tale,si fara raspunsurile aproape zilnice la intrebari. Multa bafta in continuare!:)

        • Radu Antoniu on October 21, 2015 at 9:35 am

          Hehe mersi!

          Dar tu ai facut munca!

  1. Mark on October 20, 2015 at 8:39 am

    Hey Radu, do you have these interviews in mp3 format?

  2. Sam on October 21, 2015 at 11:14 pm

    Is this in a podcast? Road to Ripped or naw?

    • Radu Antoniu on October 22, 2015 at 8:49 am

      Currently it’s only on YouTube. Greg may post it in his podcast as well though

  3. Claudio on October 24, 2015 at 4:51 pm

    Hello Radu!!! I appreciate all your videos they are awesome. I have this question are the Walden Farms products ok to consume during fasting? they are 0 calories basically 0 everything. Thanks!!

    • Radu Antoniu on October 26, 2015 at 9:08 am

      Wow that seems weird. How do they manage to make these products 0 calories?

  4. Chris W Jr. on October 28, 2015 at 2:36 am

    Great interview Radu. You asked all the right questions, and summarized everything very nicely as well, thanks for that! I’m interested to know how you would personally incorporate what you’ve learned from Eric into your training. Have you found the maximum amount of volume that you can recover from? If you stall at a current weight on an exercise, would you start to increase volume indefinitely until you were able to lift more on that exercise on your first set? Would you start adding volume one set at a time to single sessions, or increase training frequency by adding in an extra weekly session to add more volume?
    Do you think you’ve already reached a point where additional volume at the same intensity will continue to cause muscle growth for you (because the fuel cell is getting bigger) . Because there are any number of ways that you can manipulate frequency, volume, and intensity I’m having a tough time wrapping my head around what might work for me, but I’d be interested to hear how you’ll be interpreting this information for your workouts.

    • Radu Antoniu on November 3, 2015 at 10:37 am

      Thanks Chris! Glad you liked it. Too many questions for one comment though man!

      The main take away for me from this interview for me was this:
      Train with low volume as long as you’re making progress and when progress stalls for no apparent reasons, increase volume on that lift by 10-15%.

  5. Gabriel Cuello on July 6, 2016 at 8:28 pm

    Hey Radu,

    Do you know what or have a link to suggested weight training routine during fat loss? Is 3 days (following Greg’s AFL program) enough to create a higher energy demand? I honestly dont know how many calories i should be eating if 3 days of weight training and a few hours walking per week is enough.. i weigh 192 at 5’11 and 31 yo and (bwx11) eat around 2100..this right?

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