This is our MAPS Aesthetic Review. MAPS Aesthetic is the MAPS program designed on hypertrophy and aesthetics.
MAPS Aesthetic is the third training program released by Mind Pump. Unlike their other programs, which tend to focus on general health, performance, and strength, this program is designed to specifically grow muscles in the right areas to lead to a more aesthetic physique.
In my personal experience running MAPS Aesthetic, I found it to be a great program that did what was intended. Even though I was already an experienced lifter, I packed on muscle in the right areas to improve my overall look.
If you already have some experience in the gym and are looking to bring up some lagging body parts or just take your physique to the next level, MAPS Aesthetic has a lot to offer.
In this MAPS Aesthetic review, we will break down all of the pros, cons, and features of this program before discussing our results and deciding if the program is worth it.
- MAPS Aesthetic Review: A Quick Overview
- Using MAPS Aesthetics: Our Experience
- MAPS Aesthetic Results
- What Equipment Is Required For MAPS Aesthetic?
- MAPS Anabolic vs Aesthetic
- What I Like About MAPS Aesthetic
- What I Did Not Like About MAPS Aesthetic
- Tips For Getting The Most Out Of Maps Aesthetic
- Alternatives Programs
- Final Verdict
MAPS Aesthetic Review: A Quick Overview
MAPS Aesthetic is the MAPS program designed by the Mind Pump team to improve weak body parts and your overall physique. If you have not heard of Mind Pump Media, the team is made up of former bodybuilders, gym owners, strength trainers, and athletes. They consistently pump out some of the best fitness and strength content on the internet.
The program itself is shorter than other MAPS programs at 10 weeks long. However, the program is very high in volume. If you run the program as suggested, you will be in the gym for a minimum of six days per week, if not more.
What’s Included In MAPS Aesthetic
- Online Portal: Easy-to-use online portal where you can access videos, workouts, and guides
- Lifetime Access: With lifetime access, you can make use of any future updates or added guides
- Instructional Videos: There are over 100 videos with useful information. There are also separate exercise guides for men and women.
- Training Logs: Training logs for the program ready to be used
- Support: Plenty of support within the program with FAQs and general guidelines
- Phases: The program is broken up into 3 phases that each last 3-4 weeks
- Foundational Training: Foundational weight training with 3 guided lifting sessions per week
- Focus Training Sessions: Detailed workouts for your non-foundational days to focus on lagging body parts
- Blueprint: Calendar and blueprint so you can plan your program completion and see how you will progress
- Home Gym Mods; Each exercise with the program comes with an acceptable list of home gym substitutions with more basic equipment
- 30-Day Money Back Guarantee
- Detailed video guides that explain each exercise and concept
- Home gym mods so you get the same results with limited equipment
- Intelligent programming that builds upon previews phases
- Focus sessions are custom and allow you to work on your weak points
- Develops proper mind-muscle connection
- Great pumps and workouts
- Higher rep training will increase your overall work capacity
- In the gym every day if you like that
- Training logs are very minimal
- The large time commitment on foundational days with 2+ hour workouts
- MAPS Prime (mobility and recovery) is not included
- Difficult to stick to if you cannot go to the gym every day
- Does not build foundational strength if not already present
- Those who like to be in the gym every day
- Experience lifters looking to refine their physique
- Lifters that have lagging body parts
Not Recommended For:
- Beginners that have not built their foundational strength yet
- People with time constraints
Using MAPS Aesthetics: Our Experience
I as well as several other members of the FitDominium team, have run MAPS Aesthetic and have seen noticeable changes in our physiques. Here is my personal experience running the program from start to finish:
Getting Started: MAPS Online Portal
This is the same online portal that Mind Pump uses for the rest of its MAPS programs, which is a good thing. The portal is very to work and provides a great user experience. Once you log in, you can access all of the training material, videos, and guides.
I recommend that most people take the time to really look through all the material and relevant videos before they actually get started in the gym. If you are running this program, I assume you already have some experience under your belt, but trust me when I tell you that the Mind Pump guys put a ton of effort into the videos.
Their little cues and tips made a big difference in how I felt during exercises that I had already been performing for years.
Once you get more into the program, you can just refer back to the videos every once in a while while you switch through the phases.
Running The Program
As we already mentioned, MAPS Aesthetic is broken down into three distinct phases. Each of these phases has different exercises, exercise executions, and volume parameters designed to go after one specific goal. Here is what you can expect in each phase:
- Phase I: The goal during the first phase is to increase your general strength. Expect to do lots of compound exercises for low reps. You will see your strength go up during this initial phase.
- Phase II: During the second phase is where the volume really gets high. You rep volume will triple compared to the first phase. Here is where you can expect to see the most muscle growth and experience some of the best pumps of your life.
- Phase III: The volume will stay high during the final phase. Here you can expect to do more super sets and reveal some extra definition on the muscle that you built in the previous phases.
Focus sessions are where the customization of this program really shines through. For each focus session, you will pick a body part that is lagging and perform 2-3 exercises at high volume to force the muscle to grow.
Focus sessions are meant to be done on non-foundational workout days. You can do them on all your off days or take on off-day completely off if needed.
For me, the body parts that have always lagged behind the rest of my body have been my biceps and triceps. Since I tend to be a more torso-dominant lifter, I find that my chest and back take over and compound movements. So for my focus sessions, I would rotate between what were essentially triceps and biceps days.
It definitively worked, as my arms blew up in size. In my 5 or so years of training, I had never experienced such rapid arm growth since my novice gains.
What I also like about these focus sessions is that they provide some rest from the grueling foundational workouts. You can expect to be out of the gym in 20-30 minutes on focus session days.
MAPS Aesthetic Results
Results will vary from person to person depending on your experience, diet, and genetics. I personally made some great gains, but it should be noted that I ran this program during a bulking phase. That being said, here were my results:
I definitely packed on a good bit of muscle mass while I ran this program. Since I usually train low-volume for strength, I think that the high-volume style of this program provided some new stimulus to my body and led to some new growth.
The biggest gains I saw were in my focus session body parts. The high-volume approach really worked in this regard. If you have lagging parts, I would suggest picking 2-3 to really focus on and doing those focus sessions every week. It is almost guaranteed that you will see results.
The strength gains during this program were not substantial. However, I think that this is okay considering that strength was not the goal. Rotating between this program and a more strength-based program would be a great idea.
While I did not increase my one rep max, I did not notice that I got stronger in the higher rep ranges. I would say that this could be attributed to an overall increase in a work capacity as well.
What Equipment Is Required For MAPS Aesthetic?
MAPS Aesthetic can be in a home or commercial gym. For movements that require barbells, racks, or machines, the program provides modified exercises that can be done with just bands, dumbbells, and a bench.
For other MAPS Programs, I usually think that the home mods are just as effective as what you could do in a commercial. However, since you are going to be doing higher volume and focusing more on isolation, I do think that this program would be better if done in a fully stocked gym.
That being said, if you can go past the home gym basics and get a rack, barbell, and some weight plates, you are still going to see incredible results.
MAPS Anabolic vs Aesthetic
MAPS Anabolic was the first foundational program released by the guys at Mind Pump. In comparison to MAPS Aesthetic, MAPS Anabolic focuses more on building general strength and hypertrophy.
If you are deciding between the two, I would look at your experience level and the amount of time you can dedicate to the gym. If you are just starting out, then you should do MAPS Anabolic without question. you need to first build your base level of strength before you can move on to more advanced programs that expect you to have a certain level of strength built up.
Now, if you already have some years of experience under your belt and have enough free time, MAPS Aesthetic is the better choice. The higher volume and increased customization mean you will be able to improve on your weak points and refine your physique.
Ideally, you would run MAPS Anabolic once (or more, depending on your experience) and then move on to MAPS Aesthetic. The only downside to this approach is that you would have to buy both programs separately. If you know you will do both, it may be worth getting a bundle so that you can save some money and get added value.
What I Like About MAPS Aesthetic
Here are a few key features of MAPS Aesthetic that I think make it one of the better aesthetic and hypertrophy-focused programs on the market
Will Trigger New Growth
Even if you are like me and already have years of lifting experience, I promise that this program will trigger new growth. The high volume combined with the phased approach ensures that your body is constantly stimulated with new exercises and rep schemes to keep it growing.
This is especially true of the focus sessions. Having dedicated days to weak body parts ensures that you will squeeze some growth out of them if you stick to them.
In The Gym Everyday
This may not be a good thing for everyone, but I enjoyed the fact that I had something to do in the gym every day. I personally love training, so I enjoyed being able to go to the gym every day, even if it was just to do a short focus session.
Detailed Instructional Video Guides
The video guides are some of the best I have ever seen. The Mind Pump guys really go into lots of details and will make any movement seem doable and easy with a few cues. Even on exercises where I thought I already had a good form like bench, I found myself watching the videos because they were just that good. Mind Pump has a youtube channel where you can get a sample of the video style.
What I Did Not Like About MAPS Aesthetic
As with any other online program, there are a few things that could be improved by Mind Pump
No MAPS Prime
This is a common critique that I have made of the MAPS programs, and I just do not understand it it. MAPS Prime is the mobility- and recovery-focused program in the MAPS collection and is sold separately.
I think that basic things like resting and moving around should be a part of every training session by default. Particularly in one with such a high volume as this one.
Training Logs Are Underwhelming
This is another common criticism I have about MAPS programs and that is that their included training logs are just to basic. They are nothing more than a basic excel sheet. This is really a shame because training logs aside, it really shows that the Mind Pump team took time to make sure everything else looked good.
Personally, I would like to see a tracking app for these programs included upon purchase but there is nothing like that as of yet.
Large Time Commitment
Now, personally, I have already said that I enjoy training and being in the gym every day. However, I understand that for the average person, spending hours in the gym for one session and going every day is not really feasible.
That being said, I think that if you stick to the foundational days and throw in focus sessions where you can, you will still see good results.
Tips For Getting The Most Out Of Maps Aesthetic
After running this program, I have a good grasp of what will lead to the best results. Here are some pointers to help you get the most out of MAPS Aesthetic:
- Fuel Your Body Properly: This program demands a ton out of your body. I would personally recommend running this during a bulking phase so that your body has the nutrients to recover and build muscles.
- Every Rep Counts: With higher reps, it can be easy to lose focus and get sloppy at the end of your set. Do your best to stay locked in and put your best effort into every rep.
- Do The Focus Sessions: The focus sessions are where I really saw my best gains. If you have a lagging body part, you have to try new things, and with this program that means giving it a dedicated day.
- Build Your Strength First: This program is for fine-tuning a physique that has already seen most of its growth. If do not have some experience yet, build your strength up by doing MAPS Anabolic and then run this program.
- Do The Program As Written: For the foundational workouts, I would suggest doing it as it is written as much as you can. Each exercise, rep, and execution decision has a reason behind it. You can do more freestyling in your focus sessions.
As we have already discussed, the time and experience requirements of MAPS Aesthetic mean that it will not be the best program for most people.
If you want a program that focuses more on general fitness, MAPS Performance is an excellent athlete-focused program that improves your strength, work capacity, coordination, and mobility.
If you are just starting out and want a foundational program, MAPS Anabolic will build up your strength and size to great levels. With minimal time commitment as well, Anabolic will also be easier to get started with.
For correct muscular imbalances while still achieving a symmetrical and balanced looked, MAPS Symmetry is a good option.
Overall, MAPS Aesthetic is an excellent program if you know what you are getting into. The high volume and large time commitment will be well worth it if you stick it out. Intelligent phased programming and exercise selection will result in significant foundational growth. While the focus sessions ensure that you will work on your weak points and balance your physique.
MAPS Aesthetic Rating
MAPS Aesthetic is a great program if you’re trying to pack on mass and fine-tune your physique. Just know that you will have to dedicate a good portion of the week to the gym to see results.
What does MAPS stand for?
MAPS stands for muscular adaptation programming system. Essentially it means that the guiding principle in MAPS programs is to guide your muscles to adapt to different stimulus
How long does a MAPS Aesthetic workout take?
The foundational workouts can easily take 1.5 hours to 2 hours. The focus sessions will be anywhere from 20-40 minutes.
Can I do this program in a home gym?
Yes, this program comes with home gym modifications that allow you to do the program with basic home gyms equipment like a bench and dumbbells.
Is MAPS Aesthetic good for beginners?
No, you would be better off starting with MAPS Anabolic to build your foundational strength and size.