How the Total-Training Technique Transformed Kyle Harris' Physique
By Eric Broser - Photography by Michael Neveux
Soon afterward, P/RR/S
was all over the Web, and I was receiving e-mail about it every day. It was then that I realized that something pretty special was happening. Today, P/RR/S
has grown to worldwide popularity, mostly thanks to all the space that has been dedicated to it right here in the pages of IRON MAN
One of my greatest P/RR/S
success stories is a man named Kyle Harris, who started out as a client and has become one of my closest friends. His dedication and passion for my training system have not only made him a true expert in the protocol but also brought him from a struggling amateur bodybuilder to one of the hottest natural pros in the sport.
Recently Kyle and I traveled to California to shoot the first-ever P/RR/S training DVD
in conjunction with IRON MAN
. Once shooting was complete, we sat down and talked about the P/RR/S journey we have taken together.
EB: Tell everyone how old you are and where you're from.
KH: I'm 28 years old. I was raised in Green Springs, Ohio, and I now live in Clyde, Ohio. They're neighboring towns and are both very rural.
EB: What originally got you into lifting weights and then bodybuilding?
KH: As a child I was awestruck by cartoon characters and superheroes like He-Man, Superman and Rocky. I remember seeing Lee Haney's TV show on ESPN and reading an article about Flex Wheeler way back in 1992. I always knew I wanted to look that powerful and athletic.
In high school I was an athlete and started lifting weights. I was actually very strong for my size. I didn't have much guidance at that time, so I floated around with no real goal; however, in college, where I played baseball, I realized that through proper training and nutrition I could not only improve my performance on the field but also change my physique. Because I was dreaming of becoming a professional baseball player and also always being a bit on the heavy side, that really excited me.
I did all the research I could by purchasing books, magazines, searching research articles. I couldn't believe the wealth of knowledge I could gain on the subject, and I became hooked. In one summer I went from 185 pounds and over 20 percent bodyfat to 155 pounds and less than 6 percent bodyfat. Not only that, but I decreased my 40-yard time from just over five seconds to just under 4.6 seconds. I even became a strength and conditioning coach for the baseball team I played on in college.
EB: Very cool. Go on.
KH: After college I continued to play baseball for a couple of years, and when I realized I'd never be a big leaguer, I needed something to feed my competitive desires. I had begun following pro bodybuilding in college when I was researching training and nutrition and thought it might be something I'd enjoy because of the discipline involved. I attended a few shows and met some wonderful people, including Troy Johnson. Troy basically looked me in the face the first day I met him and said, "You are going to compete, and I'll help you."
EB: Troy is a great guy and an NGA pro bodybuilder who's used P/RR/S successfully. How did you structure your program initially?
KH: In high school it centered on the typical bench pressing and curling, but I didn't shy away from legs. Once I got to college, I started doing baseball-specific training. I had about a dozen programs from various top college and Major League teams and created my own workouts from there. I'd lift five to six days per week and do speed training on three of those days. Major overtraining for sure, but the one benefit was that my programs always focused on basic, multijoint lifts like deadlifts, squats and presses.
When I made the shift to bodybuilding, I did typical volume training. I'd train every single day, doing 16 to 20 sets and sometimes as high as 25 or 30 for my back. There were times I'd train for a month straight without taking a day off. My philosophy was that no one would outwork me. I toyed with many different splits during that time and actually found some pretty unique ways to group muscles. I realize how much I overtrained, but I'm also grateful because I learned so much about training the body and myself.
EB: We all train a little too much when we start out, not only out of ignorance but also sheer enthusiasm. So when and how did you discover P/RR/S?
KH: After my first bodybuilding show a friend of mine brought an issue of MuscleMag International to the gym I worked at part time. It had an article on Power/Rep Range/Shock. He was excited about the article and urged me to read it. I think that was in the winter or spring of 2005. Around that same time, I was just discovering the bodybuilding boards and forums. Little did I know I had been reading and interacting with the inventor of P/RR/S!
EB: What drew you to the program? What was intriguing about it?
KH: I earned my degree in health and physical education and was working toward a masters degree in kinesiology and exercise physiology. The program's principles just made sense in relation to how the body responds to exercise stimulus.
On top of that, the constant changes and variety keep workouts fresh and exciting. I liked the adaptability of the program as well. I'd been training using many of the P/RR/S principles already-just using them all in the same workouts. For instance, I'd often start training using heavy weights and low reps, then move on to an exercise or two that worked on hypertrophy principles in the eight-to-15 rep range and finish with a superset or drop set. Later I learned that this was an advanced P/RR/S protocol called the hybrid week, but I hadn't thought of breaking the principles down into distinct weeks in order to decrease the body's adaptations to training.
EB: Did you notice positive changes to your physique with P/RR/S?
KH: I noticed changes immediately. After my first show I realized I had no legs. Years of catching and speed training did not result in muscle. Knowing that I wanted to compete within the next six months, I implemented P/RR/S training for my leg workouts right after reading about it. After three months I loved it so much that I hired you for my next show.
While dieting, I made vast improvements in my leg development and separation. Granted, I had a long way to go, but I went from having no legs to having legs good enough to place third in the middleweights in the NPC Michigan State Natural Championships. Not only did my legs improve, but my back was also drastically starting to take on a whole new level of shape, width and density.
EB: I remember how quickly you progressed. Now, each week in P/RR/S is quite different. Do you truly feel each week affects your muscles in a unique way? Can you describe the difference?
KH: During Power week my muscles feel as if they have been beaten into submission. You definitely toe the line between stimulation and annihilation. By concentrating on the eccentric phase of the lift, I can almost feel my muscle fibers tearing in a positive way. You can rest assured that done right, Power week will result in some crazy DOMS.
Rep Range week is totally different. I get crazy pumps, and the challenge comes from really developing that mind-to-muscle connection and feeling the muscle work through all parts of the movement, from eccentric to concentric and stretch to peak contraction. After I'm done with a Rep Range workout, I'm typically completely wiped out-but full, vascular and pumped to the gills.
Then comes Shock week. There is no better way to describe it than shocking. It takes a special type of intensity to really hammer the muscles and to stomach the advanced techniques. The way you feel during and after tells you that your body can't help but grow from the stimulus.
EB: Wow, bro, I love your descriptions. You've put P/RR/S to the test and know it works for you and so many others, but you also have a good understanding of the science.
KH: The body is such an amazing piece of machinery. The way we can adapt and grow and withstand stress and pressure-it's fascinating. However, unless you're a genetic freak, you have to unlock all the gates to the muscle-building kingdom. P/RR/S provides the keys to unlocking them.
There are numerous ways to initiate and stimulate muscle growth. Your program completely accounts for them-from hormone release to fiber-type activation, metabolic stimulation, satellite cell proliferation (yes, I mean hyperplasia) and neural overload.
Power week really attacks the central nervous system and helps increase strength and power. The rep ranges in Rep Range week create a different time under tension, which results in unique fiber-type activation and hits all type 1 and 2 fibers. Furthermore, rep tempo is going to affect the body in a different manner altogether. Rest intervals and exercise selection have a major impact on the release of anabolic hormones like testosterone, GH and IGF-1. So during Shock week we're creating a brand-new metabolic reaction to create new muscle.
EB: What sets P/RR/S apart from most other training programs?
KH: It's such an adaptable program-very user friendly. It's easy to learn the principles of P/RR/S and then apply them to your own body type, goals and experience. Plus, small modifications can be made at any time. Not only that, but it's a great program for men and women, physique athletes, and power and performance athletes alike.
EB: I have used P/RR/S successfully with almost every type of athlete and with both men and women. What convinced you to choose me as your coach with so many out there?
KH: We first worked together in the spring and summer of 2005 to prep for the NPC Michigan Natural Championships. Since that time we've teamed up for good, creating what I think is a pretty impressive alliance. As for why I chose you, that's easy: I was so impressed with how I implemented P/RR/S myself that I was really interested in what I could do with you creating my entire plan. The clincher was when Troy Johnson introduced us at the 2005 Arnold Classic. Then, once we started working together, I realized you could quickly learn my body and make minor adjustments that resulted in major changes.
EB: Thank you for the kind words. So, if you remember, I told you that we really needed to bring up your thighs and chest, and between 2006 and 2007 those muscle groups really transformed. What made the difference?
KH: You. [Laughs] Seriously, you completely kicked my ass day in and day out. Obviously, P/RR/S had a great deal to do with the improvements I made, but I think that your specific exercise design put me over the top. Being my coach for so long and knowing me inside and out, you knew I was going to put the work in, and you were aware of my precision, dedication and intensity. You didn't hold anything back, and I thank you for that, even though I silently cursed you during those workouts. [Laughs]
EB: How did it feel on the day you won the show that brought you pro status? When I earned my pro card, I was on top of the world.
KH: It's been almost a year, and I still haven't totally wrapped my head around it. That day was completely surreal and indescribable. I dreamed of being a pro athlete my entire career, and I won my pro card in April 2008. The whole period leading up to that was special. In January my wife gave birth to our first child, Jaidyn Lin, and I had just signed on with a supplement company. I was trying to work two jobs, coach high school baseball, prep and perform all my fatherly and husbandly duties.
On the day of the show everything just seemed to line up. When they called my name as the overall winner, I felt as if a giant rock had been lifted off my shoulders. It was such a sense of accomplishment. I walked off stage and tears started to well up.
EB: Describe your feelings about appearing in my P/RR/S training DVD, which we shot with Mike Neveux in late December.
KH: Seriously, can it get any better? The experience was flat-out unbelievable. I'd do it a thousand times over. I didn't think I could get higher, but after the shoot Mike told me he'd really like to photograph me. Are you kidding me? Mike Neveux has shot everyone who is anyone in the sport. It was like an adrenaline shot, having a photo shoot for IRON MAN magazine. I'm just so grateful and indebted to everyone who has been involved in this entire process.
EB: What are your plans in the sport?
KH: I really want to give back as much as I can. I'm planning on opening a fitness studio in my hometown to help people who want to improve their quality of life and level of health. I also want to continue to immerse myself in the industry through online training and contest prep. A Web site I have called FitCorps.net will have articles, blogs, training and diet information, as well as a place to showcase my clients. I would also love to get involved more in the fitness modeling aspect of the sport and even begin writing and submitting articles to various publications.
As far as competitive plans go, I plan on doing the 2009 NGA Pro Universe, and I'm aiming for a top-three finish this year. After that I'd love to stand onstage at the 2010 NPC Team Universe competition and eventually place at that level as well.
EB: Please take some time to thank anyone you might want to for helping you along the way because we both know how essential a good support system is to success.
KH: It goes without saying that I extend an enormous amount of gratitude to you and what you have done for me, Eric. I also have to thank Troy Johnson for getting me started and also promoting me and getting me involved with ALR Industries. You've both been generous beyond belief. My friends have also been paramount in my success, and I would like to thank Brian Haubiel and Justin Martin for being there for me during the hard times of prep.
My mother and father deserve more credit, love and thanks than I could ever give them. They did an amazing job of raising me and showed me what is to have a true passion for something.
Last and most important, I must acknowledge my beautiful wife, Kristy, and my daughter, Jaidyn. Kristy's unconditional love and undying support are an inspiration to me.
EB: Thank you so much for taking this time with me Kyle, and let me say once again, coach to client, teacher to student, friend to friend, I could not be more proud of you.
Editor's note: For information on the new P/RR/S DVD, see the ad on the next page. For an instant download of Eric's e-book, The Power/Rep Range/Shock Mass Workout, which features all of the programs from the DVD in printable format, visit www.X-Workouts.com. IM
I got the DVD as a Father's Day Present (at my request) and have really enjoyed it. I have bought other bodybuilding DVD's, have watched them once and never used them again. I have viewed portions of this DVD many times trying to refresh my memory on rep speed and proper performance of exercises. This training style makes sense. I'm hoping it takes me to the next level.
Pete G., North Carolina
This DVD is the best $20 investment i've ever made! I keep it in my DVD player full time to go back and study tempo's and different exercises that are explained in detail. Thank you Eric for creating such a great training program and now a DVD to go with it! I am now requiring that my clients watch this video as well, although I'm a little worried they might feel like they know it all afterwards! P/RR/S is unreal and the DVD gives you the tools to build the physique you've always wanted! Bring on the FDFS DVD!!
David S., Las Vegas