I didn’t want to write this review of MAPS 15 Minutes.
I pride myself on giving accurate information. If I recommend something because I think it works, I need to be 99% sure it will also work for you before I publish that recommendation.
So when I finished MAPS 15 for the first time, I immediately decided to run it again. I thought that the results I got must have been an anomaly. There’s no way that 15 minutes a day could have done anything meaningful.
Well, here I sit 2/3 through MAPS 15 for the third time. And I’m just as happy with this program as I was with the first run-through!
Don’t get me wrong. You aren’t going to run this program and have your neighbors start asking if you are on steroids, and it isn’t going to get you into the Ms. Olympia finals.
What it will do is change how you approach strength training. It will open up new possibilities in the gym. And if you run it once, I bet you’ll run it at least once a year going forward, if not more!
In this review, I’ll cover exactly what’s included in MAPS 15 Minutes. I’ll go over what to expect and what gear you’ll need. I’ll even give you tips on making the most of this unique training program.
And if you just want to skip to the good stuff, head over to Mind Pump right now and get yourself started with MAPS 15!
What Is MAPS 15 Minutes?
MAPS 15 Minutes is a 9-week resistance training program. Users have the option of a basic blueprint (15 minutes a day, 6 days per week) or advanced (20 minutes a day, 6 days per week). Both are divided into 3 week phases to address strength and hypertrophy individually.
In a world where most training programs are advertised by bragging about how brutal they are, MAPS 15 asks for the opposite. Instead of leaving you in a pile of sweat, unable to move, it only asks for 2-4 exercises per day.
MAPS 15 Minutes can be done at home or in a commercial gym and requires minimal equipment. The sessions can be done at any time during the day and can even be broken up and done over the course of your day.
MAPS 15 is not designed to maximize muscle gain. It’s not intended to get you ready for a powerlifting meet, either. But at the same time, you will get stronger, bigger, and better at your lifts because of it.
Honestly, it’s unique in today’s world of exercise programming, and I’m having a hard time accurately describing it! See, I told you I didn’t want to write this review.
What’s Included in MAPS 15 Minutes?
As with all of the MAPS programs, you get everything you need and then some:
- Easy-to-use online portal
- Lifetime access
- 30-day money-back guarantee
- Basic 9-week blueprint
- Advanced 9-week blueprint
- Over 100 instructional videos (including separate exercise demos for men and women)
- Detailed training calendar
- General guidelines and FAQ to maximize your results
- Three individual phases in both blueprints
- Optional core and glute training for the 7th day each week
Pros and Cons of MAPS 15 Minutes
Full program access through the Kajabi app
Forum available for questions & form feedback (additional cost)
Suitable for lifters of all skill levels
Suitable for all ages
Instructional videos for men & women
Easy to be consistent with only 15 minutes needed daily
Easy to follow
Allows you to really focus on each movement
Advanced track included (20 min per day)
Movements are repetitive in the basic track
Minimal muscle soreness
The basic program gets repetitive quickly
No mods for home gyms
No tracking logs
Can be easy to skip days since they are only 15 minutes
“15 minutes” does not include priming or cooling down
No exercise regressions included
As much as I like this program, I do have one major gripe with it. The basic program is repetitive. Instead of six unique training days each week, it’s three unique days repeated. It almost feels lazy that there aren’t six unique days per week. The advanced version does this and I think it’s a big miss that the basic version doesn’t.
Luckily that’s easily fixed (although you shouldn’t have to after spending almost $100 on a program). I simply chose similar movements for the second three days each week.
Notice I listed the 15 minutes as both a strength and an opportunty. One of the primary reasons MAPS 15 exists is that we all lead hectic lives. It can be hard to carve out an hour 2-3 times per week.
Anyone can make 15 minutes in their day, even the busiest people. That makes the small time commitment a significant positive. This program is perfect if you’ve ever struggled to build consistency in your fitness regimen!
However, those small sessions can be easy to skip too! There have been a number of times I’ve told myself, “it’s only 15 minutes. What’s the big deal if I miss a day!”
So while I can see this program helping people develop the habit of training, I can also see it causing problems in that area. I guess my best advice here is to know yourself (and be honest about it!).
For some people, dedicating an hour three days per week might be easier to stick to.
Another important thing to mention is how critical priming (warm-up) is. I can see people altogether skipping this because they are on a time crunch… Don’t!
What Equipment Do You Need For MAPS 15 Minutes?
MAPS 15 can be done with a few bands, a bench, and dumbbells. As laid out, the program calls for a barbell (along with plates and a rack to use it), but all of the movements can easily be done with dumbbells.
If you aren’t sure what bench or dumbbells would work for you, make sure to check out my recommended gear pages here!
Who Should Use MAPS 15 Minutes?
Almost everyone should own this program.
When I look at training programs, I usually divide them into two categories: Goal-specific and utility.
When zeroing in on mobility, strength, hypertrophy, or something else, goal-specific programming is ideal. These are programs you’ll typically only work through when working towards a defined result.
Here are some of my favorite goal-specific MAPS programs:
Utility programs are programs that everyone should own and have at their disposal. These are programs that you can dip in and out of. They are there as a fallback when your main goals lay outside the gym, but you still want to be consistent with your training. They are also useful for fixing form, imbalances, pain, and any other issues you might be struggling with.
I look at these as your “training toolbox.”
Here are some of my favorite utility programs from Mind Pump that I think everyone should own regardless of their goals:
MAPS 15 is useful in an almost unlimited number of applications. As I’ve worked through this program over the last few months, I continually think of more and more uses for it. Here are just a few:
- New parents with very little time to train daily
- People busy at a new job
- People whose job is physically demanding
- Anyone having trouble building the habit of training
- Anyone new to weightlifting and unsure about the commitment
- Significant others who think their partner’s fitness habits are “too much”
- People on vacation
- College students with a big workload
- Medical residents
- Firefighters who rarely have uninterrupted time
- Anyone burned out on training and needing a change
Even if it’s just for a week here and there, MAPS 15 is useful and effective. I can’t think of a single person who couldn’t use MAPS 15 at least occasionally!
Who Shouldn’t Use MAPS 15 Minutes
While I stand behind my statement that everyone should own MAPS 15 as a kind of utility program, there are a couple of people I want to caution about using this program.
The first one is the biohacker. Despite what some in that community suggest, you cannot build large amounts of muscle with only a few minutes of training per day.
MAPS 15 is not a substitute for programs like MAPS Aesthetic, MAPS Split, or MAPS Powerlift. While you can and will build strength with MAPS 15, it’s not “one weird hack that replaced hours in the gym” or other such internet and social media nonsense.
The second is the fitness fanatic who wants to run multiple programs simultaneously and is constantly searching for ways to add training volume. MAPS 15 is meant to be run independently, not in conjunction with another program.
What Results Can You Expect From MAPS 15 Minutes?
Usually, I can tell others what to expect from a program because I’ve been training for so many years. I’m not sure that’s the case here.
MAPS 15 is the first program I’ve ever run that completely blew away my expectations (to be fair, they were pretty low to start). It worked so well for me that I hesitate to commit that you’ll find the same.
Training is subjective and dependent on other factors (sleep, stress, nutrition, etc.), and that makes it hard for me to say how you will fare in the end.
So, unlike most of my program reviews, I’ll detail my own results as an outline of one possible outcome. Keep in mind I’m on my third time through this program, and all results listed below have been consistent across all three times.
It’s also important to note that I came into MAPS 15 having missed almost two months in the gym due to illness and injury. I have many years of training experience, and I’m positive that muscle memory is a part of my results. You may not have the same situation, so your results may vary.
That said, here are the high points:
- My joints don’t ache! At 52 years old, I have to keep a close eye on how much total volume I’m doing, or I will 100% end up with joint pain. I’ve been running MAPS 15 for 20 weeks now, and not a single joint is sore!
- My strength has increased every week. And not just by a little bit. ALL lifts are up by 10% or more after 20 weeks.
- I’ve gained size to the point that my clothes fit differently. I won’t say it’s a huge gain (at 52, that’s not in the cards anymore), but it’s noticeable across my entire body.
- My days are more productive. Over the last 20 weeks, my energy levels have increased so much that I’ve stopped taking naps every day (I’m just not tired like I used to be).
- My testosterone is up. Or at least it feels like it is. Drive, ambition, and libido are all way up.
- My Oura sleep scores are up. Deep sleep, especially, has improved.
In the past, after finishing a program, I’d move on to a different one. It kept things fresh and interesting and also aided in my results. I don’t plan on moving off MAPS 15 for quite some time.
Instead of switching programs, I’m simply swapping out movements within MAPS 15 every nine weeks. I plan on doing this for the foreseeable future. I also plan on including elements of other MAPS programs within the MAPS 15 framework. I’ve already introduced movements from MAPS Symmetry and MAPS Performance.
How Much Does MAPS 15 Cost?
At the time I’m writing this article (February 2023), MAPS 15 is selling for a one-time payment of $97.00. That includes lifetime access to the program as well as any future updates or changes. You can check its current price here.
In my opinion, it’s worth every penny!
How To Get the Most Out of MAPS 15 Minutes
I’ve run most of the MAPS programs at least once (and many of them more than that). I keep detailed training notes that allow me to review them before rerunning the program and ensuring I get the most out of it.
With MAPS 15, a few essential tips will help you maximize your results. With only 15 minutes daily, it’s important to make the most out of each minute!
- Don’t skip priming. Take at least five minutes before each training session to make sure you are well-primed and don’t get injured. Not sure what priming is? Check out my review of MAPS Prime here.
- Leave “two in the tank” on every movement. Never go until failure. Many people will try to cram “more” into this program. Don’t!
- Focus on perfect reps. With only 15 minutes a day, each rep must count! Slow, controlled eccentric (lowering), pause, then a powerful concentric (raising). Every rep, every exercise!
- If you do miss a day, it’s easy to double up the next day. That said, don’t make this a habit. It should be a rare occurrence.
- Don’t add extra. If you have more time, move to the advanced program at 20 minutes per day. If you have more time than that, MAPS 15 is the wrong program for you.
- Feel free to change up the movements once you’ve run the program as it’s laid out. It’s less important what type of squat you do, for instance, as long as you are squatting when programmed.
- Push the weight when you can. I can see people getting comfortable and just lifting the same weight each week. Don’t. Work towards progressive overload every session.
- If you miss a day and don’t want to double up the next day, jump in where you left off—no reason to start a phase over again.
Alternatives to MAPS 15 Minutes
I’ve never come across another program like MAPS 15. That said, if you don’t want to spend the $97, there is another way to approach this type of training.
What I recommend is to take a program like MAPS Anabolic (review here) and break it down into small, daily bites. You could take the two days weekly version of that program and divide each day into thirds.
That leaves you with about 15 minutes each day, and by the end of the week, you’ve worked the entire program! You can probably do this with most programs designed for 2-3 sessions per week.
I don’t think that’s as effective as getting MAPS 15, but it’s close and costs less!
Well, I think it’s pretty clear that I like this program. It’s the program I’ll be running for the foreseeable future too (mixed with a decent-sized dose of MAPS Symmetry). At 52 years old, I’ve pushed myself hard for a long time.
I didn’t realize just how hard until I backed off with MAPS 15.
What I thought I was doing was easing back into things after injury and illness. What I ended up doing instead was redefining strength training for myself in my current season of life.
No matter your goals, put MAPS 15 in your training toolbox. You can thank me later!
I’m completely new to resistance training. Would MAPS 15 be a good program to start with?
Absolutely! Its limited number of movements, lower daily volume, and small time commitment make it perfect for new lifters. One note is that I’d also look at MAPS Starter and MAPS Resistance. Between Starter, Resistance, and 15 Minutes, you’re bound to find the perfect program to get you started.
What does MAPS stand for?
Muscular Adaptation Programming System. In other words, your muscles (and you) are adaptation machines. Knowing how to manipulate and promote that adaptation is the key to great programming.
Can you really get results in 15-20 minutes per day?
Yes! If you look at your weekly totals, you’ll be at 90-120 minutes of resistance training per week. That’s right in line with training 2-3 days per week for longer sessions.
Your body doesn’t care what days the volume comes on. It only cares that it’s there. And I honestly think that adding daily frequency is MORE effective than cramming everything into 2-3 days per week!
My Results With MAPS 15 Minutes, A Users Review.
MAPS 15 Minutes is a counterintuitive program that achieves impressive results in just 15-20 minutes, 6x per week. It's the ideal program for people new to lifting or anyone that just can't get into the gym for an hour at a time. It's hard to think of very many people that wouldn't benefit from this program!
Course Provider: Organization
Course Provider Name: Mind Pump Media
Course Provider URL: https://www.mindpumpmedia.com/maps-fitness-products
- Detailed Instruction
- Forum available for questions & form feedback (additional cost)
- Suitable for lifters of all skill levels
- Suitable for all ages
- Instructional videos for men & women
- Easy to be consistent with only 15 minutes needed daily
- Easy to follow
- Allows you to really focus on each movement
- Advanced track included (20 min per day)
- Movements are repetitive in the basic track
- No fatigue
- Minimal muscle soreness
- The basic program gets repetitive quickly
- No mods for home gyms
- No tracking logs
- Can be easy to skip days since they are only 15 minutes
- "15 minutes" does not include priming or cooling down
- No exercise regressions included