Ripped Body Powerlifting Program Review: Does It Work?

the rippedbody powerlifting programs are founded on the principles outlined in the muscle and strength pyramid ebook

The Rippedbody Powerlifting programs are founded on the principles outlined in the Muscle and Strength Pyramid ebook, written by strength and muscle expert Eric Helms. By downloading the ebook, you get access to a bunch of programs for powerlifting and bodybuilding, ranging from novice to advanced. 

Sounds like it just might be the holy grail option for every lifter out there, right? 

Well, we still found a few exceptions to this bold, “something for everyone” program, and we’re happy to share those with you first. 

Why Rippedbody Powerlifting May Not Be For You

The Rippedbody Powerlifting program won’t be for you if you fall into the following categories: 

  • The Quick Start Lifter
  • The “just tell me what to do” lifter
  • The “just for me” lifter

The Quick Start Lifter

If you just want a spreadsheet that you can drop your last maxes into and start training right away, then this is not that program. 

There’s a fair amount of contextual information to get through before jumping into the program. 

For example: 

  • You may think you are a novice, but may be better suited on the intermediate program. 
  • You may think you are advanced, but still have a long way to go in the intermediate program before benefitting from the changes that come with the more advanced version. 

Without reading through the resources about lifting age and tenure, you’re just shooting in the dark and can miss the program you should be following. 

Therefore, if you just want someone to hand you a program that’s ready for this afternoon’s workout, I’d find another alternative. 

The “Just Tell Me What To Do” Lifter

If you just want to trust the experts to tell you what to do and how to do it, then you’re gonna hate this program. 

This program is perfect for the lifter who wants to be their own coach, who wants to learn the whole world of lifting, and then administer a program to themselves. 

The Muscle and Strength Pyramid ebook is nearly 300 pages long and leaves all the pushing/pulling accessories and lift variations up to you to choose and fill in at your own discretion. Much of the program requires (or encourages you) to read chunks of the ebook. 


While this may be a long-term benefit to some lifters who want to learn how to program themselves, if you are just looking for a proven, sound program to follow for 8-12 weeks, check out our other program reviews and find another one, cause this ain’t it.  

The “Tailored to Me” Lifter

This program is heavily templated, with very few opportunities to add your own variations of the squat, bench, and deadlift and some accessories. 

Overall, this program is taking broad strokes to apply to everyone. 

If you like having a program that is specific to your needs, your history, your goals, and your personality, this program is too rigid to satisfy those needs. 

If that’s you, I generally recommend avoiding templates entirely, but at a minimum, I’d look for one that offers more flexibility than the Rippedbody Powerlifting programs. 

Another Program Option To Consider

Before diving into the full review of the candito powerlifting program, I want to share that…

We’ve created a training app with dozens of powerlifting programs that suits different goals.  

You can find programs based on: 

  • Ability level (beginner to advanced)
  • Weak point training (programs focused on lockout of the deadlift, the bottom of the squat, etc.)
  • Age-based training (junior to master aged programs)
  • Unique training splits (everything from 3-6 day training splits)
  •  Competition readiness (peaking programs for a powerlifting)  

You can check out our programs HERE

Once you join our membership and download the app, you gain full access to all programs.  

Not only that, you get access to a private community of lifters, all training with the same programs, where you can ask questions, post training videos, and get feedback & support.


Let’s now dive into the full review of Rippedbody Powerlifting Program.

Overview of Rippedbody Powerlifting Program

About The Creator

This eBook/collection of programs was authored by Eric Helms. 

Not only is Eric the current 105kg Powerlifting Champion of the IPF and holds pro bodybuilding status with the PNBA, his education backs up his experience. 

With a BS in fitness and wellness, an MS in exercise science, a second masters in sports nutrition, and a Ph.D. in strength and conditioning, Eric knows how to make himself and those he coaches stronger inside and out.  

Who The Program Was Intended For?

This is a bit of a loaded question, because the Muscle and Strength Pyramid ebook download includes six programs – Novice, Intermediate, and Advanced Powerlifting programs, and Novice, Intermediate, and Advanced Bodybuilding programs. 

With the inclusion of all these programs, you might think this ebook is the comprehensive guide to all things muscle and strength that anyone can dive into, no matter their tenure or skill in the sport, and with the ability to cater it to strength or muscle development, depending on your preferences. 

And frankly, you’d be right, cause that’s what this ebook attempts to provide. 

muscle and strength training pyramid

Early in the ebook, the authors introduce their Muscle and Strength Pyramid, with its varying “levels.” The rest of the book is formatted around each Level and the information associated with that topic. The programs at the end of the ebook (the three powerlifting programs and the three bodybuilding programs) are the embodiment or the systems they’ve designed to apply this framework of the pyramid. 

As such, the intent of this program is to provide the framework of the pyramid as a way of understanding all the elements of strength and muscle development, and then provide programs that apply it for every stage of development for the powerlifter and bodybuilder alike. 

Tl;dr – it’s an attempt to cater to everybody. 

Goals of The Program

This really depends on which program you are diving into. 

Each of the three powerlifting programs (our focus for this review) are designed to improve strength in the squat, bench, and deadlift. As with any powerlifting program, the end goal is always to make the lifter stronger than they were before they started it. 

  • The Novice program is “built around developing skill and strength in the competition lifts, while also developing a base of muscularity to aid in further development.”  
  • The Intermediate program  “builds on the base that was established by the Novice program.” We’ll get into the specific details that change in this program, but the goals of the program are simple: continue the progress of the lifer while making the necessary changes to volume, intensity, and specificity to realize that progress.
  • The Advanced program “continues to build on the qualities that the lifter has developed over the earlier phases of his or her career as a novice or as an intermediate.” To note the specific changes, they continue that “training is spread over six days to accommodate for the increases in volume that are required for continued adaptation at this stage in the lifter’s career.”  

Workout Details

Again, since there is a full range here, let’s look at each program individually.

Novice Program details

The program gives you the choice of a 3-day or 4-day a week split. If you are the type of lifter that likes slightly longer workouts that get more done at once, the 3-day split will be more appropriate for you. If you prefer to spread out your workload and focus more specifically during each workout on one lift or another, the 4-day split is just for you. 

The workouts themselves are fairly short. You can expect to have them completed in 45 – 60 minutes, as they typically include just 3-4 exercises calling for 3 sets each (with the rep ranges varying week to week). 

The exercise split breaks down to lower body, upper body push, and upper body pull, with a combo of them each workout. As such, squat and deadlift work can each be used to fill the lower body targets, while bench press and rowing exercises (further broken down as Horizontal Rowing or Vertical Rowing) are used to fill the upper body push and pull requirements. 

Going into it, you can expect to squat and bench on the same day for two workouts, and then bench and deadlift on another day, with pushing/pulling accessories peppered in there. 

Check out our guides on powerlifting accessories: 

Intermediate Program Details

The intermediate program makes a few changes. There is only a 4-day a week option, as the program adds volume across the board, and the fourth day is required to spread out all the new work that’s added. 

The biggest change in volume comes to the lower body work and upper body pushing (benching), which means the specificity to powerlifting is increasing as well. Additional bench and squat variation sets are added, as well as an additional horizontal rowing requirement to “round out development” in the lifter now that a foundation has been made. 

The exercise split changes up a bit, as this program adds the extra day. There are still two days a week with a combined squat and bench program, one day with all three (squat, bench, and deadlift), and a bench and deadlift day. Each workout also has its various pushing/pulling upper body accessory requirements. 

Advanced Program Details

The advanced program takes the lifter to six days a week in order to accommodate all the added volume and still allow for rest and recovery between workouts. 

The workouts themselves are not much longer than those found in the Novice program, as they still only call for three exercises per session, so you can still expect to have them last about 60 minutes, depending on your rest time. 

As far as the workout split goes, you’ll be benching three times a week, squatting three times a week, and deadlift twice a week, with the added upper body accessory day. While deadlifts are done on their own days, squatting and benching are always paired together for these workouts. 

Do You Need Any Prerequisites Before Starting This Program?

As there are Novice programs included in this ebook and there is a “Quick Start” guide, I can confidently say that a beginner can dive into this program without any prior knowledge of lifting. 

The ebook includes some of the key information we often see left out of beginner programs, like exercise selection guides, and in its entirety, the ebook is almost 300 pages long. So if you truly knew nothing about lifting, and you have the patience to read all of it, you’ve got a crazy long ebook written by a very legitimate force in the space to get you started. 

That being said, trying to teach yourself out of an ebook how to perform the lifts and understand factors like intensity and fatigue is a tall order, so some familiarity with barbell training would be strongly recommended. 

Rippedbody Powerlifting Program Variables: What To Expect

rippedbody powerlifting program variables

Periodization

All three programs follow a Daily Undulating Periodization (DUP) model. That sounds all fancy and intimidating, but all it means is that instead of having a block of 4-6 weeks for hypertrophy, a block of 4 weeks for strength adaptation, and a block of 2-4 weeks to peak or taper, every week incorporates training styles to address hypertrophy, power, and strength. 

For example, the advanced program calls for you to squat and bench (in the same workout) three days a week. But one of those days is for light weight/high reps, one day is for medium weight/moderate reps, the final is for heavy weight/low reps. This is alternating for each lift throughout the week so you aren’t doing two heavy lifts in the same workout. 

This is true across all three programs. 

The advanced program differs the most, as it is the only one to incorporate block-periodized mesocycles on top of the DUP model.   In this program each week incorporates DUP, while also creating periods focused on a particular method of adaptation (accumulation and intensification). 

Specificity

Each of the three powerlifting programs are very specific to powerlifting, in that they focus on the squat, bench press, and deadlift as the main indicators of strength, as well as the vehicles to build strength. 

The Novice program focuses on the squat, bench, and deadlift, but the split of total volume between the main three and the pushing/pulling accessories is nearly 50/50. 

The Intermediate program gets even more specific, adding squat and bench variations, and moving the balance to about 60% of the volume coming from main lifts versus 40% from the accessory lifts. 

Finally, the Advanced program swings the balance all the way to 75/25 main lifts to accessories. 

Whichever program you are on in your stage of lifting, you can be confident that at least half of all the sets you do will be with the squat, bench press, and deadlift. 

Volume

In each program the volume is very manageable. I really like how these programs are very focused and short for each workout, but still manage to provide a full week of good volume.

As we’ve touched on before, each workout only calls for 3-4 exercises each, with varying rep ranges. Depending on the DUP model for the day, each lift will get high rep and low rep work each week. 

When comparing the various programs, the volume is the clearest difference between each program. 

With each jump from the Novice, to Intermediate, to Advanced programs, the total volume increases across the board so that a lifter at that stage will be able to progress, as increased volume is required to prevent the lifter from remaining in a plateau.  

Intensity

Since all three programs follow a DUP model, the intensity is manipulated throughout the week, rather than during different stages of the program (the Advanced program being the only exception, which is broken into block periods, which you can read about above).

Looking at the sets themselves, the Intermediate program (for example), calls for 27 total sets with the main lifts (squat, bench, and deadlift). Of those, 70% of them are 6 reps or fewer, while the remaining 30% are greater than 6 reps. 

With that information, you can start to imagine what the workouts are like, with much more focus on heavy sets with low reps to reach desired levels of intensity, rather than higher rep sets to reach that goal. 

Overload

Using the same information from the last section on Intensity, you can see that this program is focused on overload progression by emphasizing heavier sets with lower reps for 70% of the work you perform with the main lifts. 

In the Novice program, it’s slightly less, with about 66% focused on heavy sets, and the remaining third focused on lighter sets. 

This ratio increases to 80% heavy, 20% light with the advanced program in the Intensification Block. 

Bottom line is that progressive overload is the foundation of these programs, without calling for things like supramaximal loads (loads heavier than your 1RM) that would be much better executed under the supervision of a personal coach. 

Fatigue Management

Whether you are running the Novice, Intermediate, or Advanced program, fatigue management is baked into the programs methodically. 

While the programs don’t tell you which days of the week to perform the 3-6 workouts, they do recommend which days you should space out with a rest day in between. 

Whether they specifically call out their plan for fatigue management or not, you can see in the structure of the program that they manage it with the DUP model. 

By spreading out each lift with days focused on hypertrophy, days focused on strength, and other days focused on power, all blended together, the lifter expends a similar amount of energy each workout, keeping their workload very consistent across the programs and within each week of workouts. 

Individual Differences

This is an area that was a nice surprise in this program compared to others. While many programs tell you exactly which accessory or variation lifts to perform, the Rippedbody program simply calls for “Bench variation” or “squat variation,” for example. This allows the lifter to decide which variation will be best suited for their goals, deficiencies, or personal preference. 

You’ll also see generic “horizontal row” and “vertical row” fields where you can select the rowing motion you want to do to fill that requirement. 

If you’re not sure what qualifies, the ebook comes with a section describing all the variations and exercises you can plug in for those days. 

4 Benefits of Rippedbody Powerlifting Program

benefits of rippedbody powerlifting program

If you can dig into this ebook and stick to a program, there are some fantastic benefits that await you at the end. 

Here are the 4 benefits to the program: 

  • It’s comprehensive
  • It can be used at any stage
  • The eBook is usable
  • The author is legit

It’s Comprehensive

Holy smokes, this is the most thorough ebook we’ve ever reviewed (and we thought the 100-page Powerlifting To Win ebook we reviewed was long). 

Since this is targeted at both bodybuilders and powerlifters, it really is a comprehensive guide to all things muscle and strength, as the structure of the pyramid suggests. 

The truth is that strength training and muscle training are two sides of the same coin, and this ebook addresses both sides as they pertain to each other. And that means a lot of information and a hugely detailed resource. 

If you have any questions about any part of strength or muscle training, there are at least a few sentences about it in this ebook, if not more. 

Not only do you get a program to tell you what exercises to do to get stronger, you have all the footnotes and explanations you could need to understand why they are telling you to do it, and how you can apply it to yourself to customize things in the future. 

It Can Be Used at Any Stage

Props to these guys for throwing out six programs with the ebook, because you can confidently say that nearly every lifter can find something for themself in this program, and then keep using the resource as they progress to new levels. 

Even if you get bored with bodybuilding or powerlifting, you have a whole guide to make the jump to the other sport, or be a blended athlete in both sports right here in the same ebook. 

At the basic level, you have here programs to begin, develop further, and perfect your abilities in bodybuilding or powerlifting. Where many would sell those resources separately, you get it all for the price of the ebook. 

The eBook Is Usable

With a resource as big and detailed as this one, I love that the table of contents is hyperlinked throughout the book. That means you can simply find what you need in the table of contents and click on the heading to be taken to the page you need, instead of endless scrolling and frustration to find what you need. 

While I have my issues with a resource this broad and detailed, it’s a huge plus that you can navigate it easily and use it to look up info, instead of having to read it straight through. 

The Author Is Legit

I’ve had the debate with others about whether I would prefer to hire a coach with the best certifications and academic background, or a coach who has done it themselves and has a legit background in the sport I want to compete in. 

Eric Helms ends that debate quickly as a coach that checks both boxes in a big way. Not only is he a world champion in powerlifting, in the most rigid and strict of all powerlifting federations, the IPF, but he is a pro bodybuilder and has more education on the topic of strength training, muscle development, and nutrition than most people have on any other subject. 

What you get in this program feels like everything he knows about the subject, and whether or not you take the time to read it and digest it, you know the program you’re following is absolutely legit in just about any metric you use to evaluate it. 

3 Cons of Rippedbody Powerlifting Program

As awesome as this program is in many ways, I have a few issues with it that I feel strongly about, and I won’t mince words sharing them with you. 

  • It’s way too much information
  • It tries to cater to everyone
  • It’s a template

It’s Way Too Much Information

Look, Eric is legit, and I have zero arguments with the quality of the information here. There’s nothing fluffy or scammy about it, it’s all legit, proven, scientific info and/or proven methods to get people stronger. 

That being said, there is so much information here it can easily overwhelm the lifter who just wants to get stronger without knowing or caring why or how it’s working or what they did to get there. 

At the end of the day, most of us are in these sports to look better or be stronger. If I can learn more about it in the process, that’s great, but I’m not here to learn about lifting, I’m here to get the results of it. 

While the information here can be hugely beneficial to many lifters, I see it is a big obstacle to effectively starting and following a program. 

It Tries to Cater to Everyone

The mere fact that this program includes SIX programs tells me it’s too broad. That feeling is reinforced by the nearly 300 pages of content to support it. If you have to provide that much information to preface your programs, you’re telling me too much information. 

If you want to get the most bang for your buck, sure, this is a great option. You just downloaded the entire encyclopedia of powerlifting and bodybuilding according to one (very legit) expert. 

But at the end of the day, something that is trying to cater to everyone will always lack value to the individual looking for something more specific to their needs. At the very least, you’re paying for way more than you need by getting three programs for a sport you don’t participate in. 

It’s a Template

Eric calls this out himself in an overview of the programs – any templated program is just a template and will never be perfect for you as an individual, let alone every individual out there.

“By definition, these programs cannot be optimal for you, because they are not specific to you and your needs. These programs can get close, as they allow you to match up your goal (powerlifting or bodybuilding) and your experience level (novice, intermediate, or advanced) to the program, and in some spots they allow you freedom to choose a variation on an exercise or the schedule to fit your needs, but they still aren’t true individualized programs.”

Eric Helms

That really just sets the stage for the culminating issue here – if this program is a template, and I have to dig through 300 pages of content to really, really get the most of it to make it less of a template and personalize it to myself over time, how good of a template is it if I have to understand all that info to run it effectively? 

Templates are supposed to make things plug and play, but this attempt goes so broad, it loses that edge. 

Who Is the Rippedbody Powerlifting Training Program For?

who is the rippedbody powerlifting training program for

If you look at the surface, it’s for everybody (in too big of a way). But even though the resource itself is marketed as a solution to fit both bodybuilders and powerlifters and their varying levels of experience, we’ve determined two types of people this resource is best for:

  • Know-it-all lifters
  • The Budget Lifter

Know-it-all Lifters

If you are the type of lifter who really (and I mean REALLY) likes to:

  • Know why you are lifting with 3 reps one day and 8 reps another day
  • Know about the intricacies of mesocycles and how they can incorporate it
  • Understand the optimal mix of compound lifts and isolated lifts to maximize hypertrophy over strength
  • Internalize the perfect protocol for progressing through a week of failed lifts or a lack of progress

Then you just might love this resource. 

With 300 pages of content, how could you not love it? It’s got everything organized into a pyramid so you can easily follow along and organize your knowledge for later use. 

The Budget Lifter

This book has everything. While I would make the argument that you could get all of this from a paid coach and save the time and energy, maybe you have plenty of time and energy and no money for a coach and personalized programs. 

If this is you, this is a great resource. There’s a ton of info here that you can internalize and understand so you can follow the programs and even start to understand what’s going on to the point that you can start to coach yourself and modify your programs. 

For $39, this resource is a bargain – but only if you are willing to take the time to read and internalize the info here. 

Looking to compete in powerlifting?  Check out our guides on How To Start Powerlifting or How Do Powerlifting Meets Work

Final Thoughts

We’ve reviewed other lengthy ebooks that we hated, and while The Muscle and Strength Pyramid shares some of those complaints, it is much better executed than most. The programs themselves are sound and fundamental, tailored to three levels of powerlifting you can choose from. 

Overall, we give it a 3.9/5

With navigable information across the pages, you can use this lengthy volume as a resource to search in every once in a while, or just read straight through it and soak it all up. 

You might find the ability to ignore all the written content and just follow the spreadsheet, but based on what we’ve seen, there’s definitely a need to skip around and do some of the reading. 

We’ve outlined a few key personalities that will or won’t like this program, and that’s the most important part – it’s gonna work great for some, and others will lose money trying it out because they never effectively started or finished it. 

If you’re looking for a program alternative, definitely check out our training app HERE

Check out our other program reviews: 


About The Author

Adam Gardner

Adam Gardner is a proud resident of Utah, where he lives with his wife and two kids. He has been competing in powerlifting since 2016 in both the USPA and the APF. For the past three years, he and his wife, Merrili, have coached beginning lifters to learn the fundamentals of powerlifting and compete in their first powerlifting competitions.Adam Gardner is a proud resident of Utah, where he lives with his wife and two kids. He has been competing in powerlifting since 2016 in both the USPA and the APF. For the past three years, he and his wife, Merrili, have coached beginning lifters to learn the fundamentals of powerlifting and compete in their first powerlifting competitions.