The following is an excerpt from Mike Mentzer's
BODYBUILDERS ARE CONFUSED!
The sole source of information for many of them is muscle magazines, which they read with almost religious zeal, regarding the words contained therein as if they were the revealed truth of Sacred Scripture, or as oracular pronouncements, not to be questioned, but passively accepted, on blind faith.
Most bodybuilders fail to recognize that muscle magazines are not science journals, but rather commercial catalogues whose primary reason for existence is to sell nutritional supplements and exercise equipment. (One simply can't be too careful in this time of philosophical default. Even science journals have become suspect recently, as the proliferation of cases involving fraudulent research data at the highest levels indicates.) While these publications do contain factually-based, well-reasoned articles, these are rarities so at odds with the reams of contradictory misinformation that they are rendered valueless to those with atrophied critical faculties and often overlooked by the more intelligent readers.
The notion that bodybuilding is a science has been written and talked about for decades by muscle magazine writers and certain exercise physiologist. To qualify as a legitimate, applied science, however, bodybuilding must have a consistent, rational theoretical base, something that none of the aforementioned -- aside from Arthur Jones and myself -- has ever provided. In fact, what passes today for the so-called "science of modern bodybuilding" is actually a pseudo-science. Propogated by the bodybuilding traditionalists, or orthodoxy, it is nothing more than a wanton assemblage of random, disconnected and contradictory ideas.
A number of the orthodoxy's self-styled "experts" have even alleged that there are no objective, universal principles of productive exercise. They claim that since each bodybuilder is unique, every individual bodybuilder requires a different training program. This implies that the issue of what is the best way to train to build muscle is a subjective one that can only be resolved by the random motions and blind urges of each bodybuilder.
Despite their belief that no universal principles exist, many of these same people advocate that all bodybuilders should perform 12-20 sets per bodypart, for up to two hours per session. For best gains, they recommend two and even three sessions per day six days a week, with the seventh day off -- for sabbath, I suppose. Very scientific!
The principle implicit in such thinking is "more is better." This is an ethico-economic principle: more money, more success, i.e., more values are better than less. (This principle does have a certain limited application to endurance training.) Taking a principle from one context, such as economics, and applying it uncritically and blindly to another, such as bodybuilding, is to commit the logical fallacy known as "context-switching." Some years ago, Mr. America Steve Michalik carried this erroneous notion to its logical conclusion by advocating 75-100 sets per bodypart! Michalik practiced what he preached and ended up almost literally in the grave!
Where can a confused bodybuilder find the answer to these and other pressing questions? Rick Wayne, erstwhile editor of Flex magazine, answered that question a number of years ago, claiming, "Each bodybuilder has to be his own scientific agent, and find the routine that works for him." But what if a particular bodybuilder isn't a very good scientist? No answer has ever been given.
Others have responded by suggesting that confused bodybuilders resort to instinct. An acquaintance of mine responded to this notion humorously by suggesting that if bodybuilders resorted to the "instinctive principle" to guide them in their training efforts, many of them would probably defecate and urinate on a barbell rather than lift it. Man is not an instinctual creature whose knowledge is automatic, or "hard-wired" into his nervous system, but a conceptual being who must acquire and use knowledge by a volitional cognitive effort.
The most philosophically revealing response was made by a well-known authority, and I quote, "There is a realm of truth higher than that known to scientists, and only certain people have access to it." Since reality is the realm of truth, one can only wonder as to what other realm he was referring to, what it might have to do with bodybuilding in this one, who has access to it, and by what means. All of this points to the fact that bodybuilding has brought about its own Dark Ages -- and why, therefore, so many bodybuilders become cynical and give up.
The advocates of the orthodox approach, possessing no possible theoretical defense of their argument, are forced to cite some very shabby evidence to back up their position. Quite frequently, I get the question, "If 12-20 sets is not the best way to train, how do you account for the success of guys like Arnold and Lee Haney?" The answer is that, while their physiques are, in part, the result of such training, so are the physiques of all the failures, whose numbers are legion.
Furthermore, it is a mistake to point to the "apparent" success of a couple dozen top title winners as indubitable proof that a certain training approach is efficacious. If one were to look back through the course of their bodybuilding careers, and calculate the hours, months and years of wasted effort resulting from their blind, non-theoretical, volume approach, one would have to question whether their achievement could properly be termed success at all.
It should be understood also that genetic endowment is the prime determinant of bodybuilding success. Arnold and Lee, not to mention myself, Dorian Yates and all who have achieved extraordinary levels of muscular development, possess an abundance of the requisite genetic traits, including long muscle bellies, greater than average muscle fiber density, and superior recovery ability.
There is no good reason why you should proceed with your bodybuilding career confused and uncertain any longer. Progress should not be an irregular, unpredictable or even nonexistent phenomenon. A rational approach to bodybuilding, one based on an understanding and implementation of the scientific principles of exercise and nutrition, will put you on a more satisfying path of regular progress.
Arthur Jones, the inventor of the Nautilus Machines, taught Mike Mentzer the theory of productive bodybuilding exercise.
10-08-2010, 07:47 PM #1
Mike mentzer vs jeff eversion articles
10-08-2010, 07:56 PM #2
When Pigs Fly! by Jeff Everson -- 1995
When Pigs Fly!
by Jeff Everson -- 1995
In an article in the September '95 Flex ("A Case of Mystic Delirium"), Mike Mentzer mystically ignores my concerns raised over his one valid training theory behind bodybuilding success when, shades of Charles Atlas, he suggests I order his courses.
While he admits growing tired of answering his critics, Mike erroneously accuses me of attacking him personally. As I pointed out in an article I wrote for another magazine, I gain nothing by demeaning Mike Mentzer, nor would I want to demean him, nor could I, for that matter. I like and respect Mike for standing up for what he believes. Not too many people do that today.
I do feel Mike overreached in his response to my article, accusing me of vile impertinence and impeachment of his character (check out the quote in another issue of Flex wherein Mike refers to Franco Columbu as "Arnold's weak-willed namby-pamby lackey"). Mike's response reminds me of the saying, "If you can't convince someone of something, then try to confuse him."
Mike argues that unlike his and Arthur Jones' bodybuilding teachings -- which are the only rational, scientific and valid theoretical-based teachings in his opinion -- the rest of bodybuilding is predicated on what he calls pseudo science, a hopeless batch of erroneous assumptions strewn together haplessly, in no particular way, and this is why so many bodybuilders fail to make the grade.
Sounds convincing, I can agree with Mike that bodybuilding is at best a pseudo science, but where we differ is that I believe bodybuilding doesn't really need to be anything more than that, and I don't think it ever can be. Unlike an exact science like geometry, universal dogma has little place in bodybuilding. Sometime it makes little sense to apply scientific principles to art, too.
As I alluded to, the one-valid-theory premise -- in relation to intensity, volume, adaptation and training -- doesn't explain the results an methods of many successful bodybuilders and other athletes, including Serge Nubret, Dan Gable, Phil Grippaldi, Eric Heiden, Mike Webster and numerous others who broke the Heavy-Duty training paradigm, genetics notwithstanding.
It would be silly for me to argue that Mike's Heavy-Duty approach doesn't work. It obviously does for numerous people, and I certainly have never denied this! In fact, for all I know -- and for all MIke knows -- it may be the best system ever devised. More power to Mike's phenomenal success.
Even if that were true, and we could verify it some way, it's my opinion that anyone who uses the words "only" and "scientist" in any discussion of bodybuilding training significantly errs. It's perhaps noteworthy that none of the other popular training gurus who have attempted to provide a rational theoretical bodybuilding base -- such as Shawn Phillips, Steve Holman, Stuart McRobert, John Little, Fred Hatfield, Leo Costa, Fred Koch and others -- claim to know the only path, or the only valid scientific say to realizing a big, ripped body.
Once more, nothing Mike or I or anyone else has ever stated consists of anything but opinions and theories -- not facts but opinions and theories.
SCIENTIST BODYBUILDERS? In a past article in Flex, Mike compared Arnold Schwarzenegger's rate of muscle gain over a certain time period in relation to Casey Viator's. The comparison is specious. Casey, in the Colorado experiment, showed that one regains lost muscle tissue quickly with training, especially when starting from a conditions far below normal, as Viator did. He was coming back from a severe infection, literally almost a gangrenous condition as a result of an industrial accident that almost caused his demise.
Mike ignored this in his discussion. Plus, there is substantial evidence that Casey did more than just train a total of six hours using strict Nautilus protocols during that period, and that he spent a considerable amount of time using free weights in other sessions. (If anyone is interested in the true story, talk to Boyer Coe.)
We should ask if it was genetics that allowed Arnold to be superior to everyone else in his day, or if it might have had to do with what Arnold did during his first three years of training.
In another Flex article, Mike responded to a statement by Rick Wayne (perhaps the guru of training practicality) that each bodybuilder needs to be his own scientist to find what works best for him by replying, "What if that bodybuilder is not a very good scientist?"
To this I respond, so what? Bodybuilders will need to prove themselves scientists when pigs fly. A wise man once said that science exists only to disprove, not prove things. Alas, science can prove anything you want it to. How does that relate to bodybuilding training?
I agree with Mike that bodybuilding has often been an arena for the absurd, based on unsubstantiated beliefs. But do we have to be good scientists to be good bodybuilders? Do we really have to be able to scientifically differentiate among types of vanadyl sulfate, glutamine and creatine to grow muscle? Gee, how did Reg Park and Steve Reeves ever make it?
.UNIVERSAL TRUTHS As I said, though I wholeheartedly agree that Mike Mentzer is right on about the general training ideas, should anyone espouse universal dogma about bodybuilding when bodybuilding science is at best, an oxymoron?
Why is it that Mike Mentzer is the only person who clings to the idea that there is only one valid theory behind bodybuilding training or that only he has deciphered the scientific code to success? It's noteworthy that Mike's patron saint, Arthur Jones, himself once said, "Simply believing something doesn't make it true."
For most people, I submit that the more time they spend on being scientists, the lousier bodybuilders they will be and the more time they spend on education per se, the more confusion they develop when trying to become a great bodybuilder. In point of fact, as I have become more educated and more scientific, I have also become a worse bodybuilder. (What the hell? No great loss.)
Consider those who are respected as having investigative minds, knowledge, education and intelligence -- as being "scientific" in our industry. In no particular order, who are the scientists in our sport who also avidly bodybuild? Dr. Scott Connelly, Anthony Almeda, Dan Duchaine. Dr. Tom Deters, Dr. Brain Leibowitz, Dr. Michael Colgan, Dr. James Wright, Dr. Fred Hatfield, Jerry Brainum, John Parrilo, John Balik, Fed Koch, Chris Lydon, Arthur Jones, Steve Holman, Charles Pilliquin, Clarence Bass, Keith Klein, Bill Starr, Steve Wennerstrom, Dr. Mauro Dr. Pasquale, Dr. Bob Goldman, Dr. Terry Todd and a few others I surely missed.
With apologies to all, none of these individuals are, or were, great bodybuilders in the Robinsons / Wheeler / Coe mold.
All are fairly good but not great. If they know so much about science and also bodybuilding, why is that?
Consider all those self-styled "scientists" who inject themselves with massive doses of GH, HCG, testosterone, insulin and other toxic nonsense on a daily basis --is that scientific? I believe that most great bodybuilders are too unscientific to worry about what they might doing to their insides and will inject away with anything they can get their hands on. Call it "weird" science.
Are some bodybuilders scientists? Lee Labrada has a degree in engineering. Is building a bridge a bridge like building biceps? We can say something cute, like Lee Labrada engineered his symmetry. Although I have always said his head was too big for his body, Lee's not a scientist and, to his credit, never claimed to be.
Frank Zane taught math and has a master's degree. However, we refer to Frank as a chemist. If you think this had to do with stereoisomerism, think again, Sherlock. Besides, most scientists don't float in water tanks. Such action disqualifies. Bob Paris was burning when he stated that bodybuilding was not rocket science.
What about the Oak? If Arnie was scientific enough to develop those great arms, what about his thighs at the Mr. Olympia in 1980? Maybe Arnold was an upper-body scientist, but a lower-body janitor. Was the greatest bodybuilder in history the greatest because he was the best exercise scientist?
Indeed did Arnold become the chairman of the President's Council of Physical Fitness because of his scientific experiments on the displacement of the oxygen-hemoglobin curve, correlated with the acid-base balance of the kidney and respiratory alkalosis in bodybuilders using a stair climber at altitude?
Bob Kennedy once suggested that Schwarzenegger would go further and be bigger if he trained his biceps more scientifically. Bob felt that the young man from Graz, who worked his arms nearly every day, was working them too much. Arnold was wrong --- so wrong that he went on to develop biceps never equaled, and win seven Mr. Olympia titles in the process.
Perhaps, Arnold knew little about formal scientific methods, but he knew how to train hard, and he must been a better scientist than everyone else in 1980 because he won Mr. Olympia, right? Not!
Zulak concludes, like Rick Wayne once did, that all bodybuilders must discover the method that works best for them. Curiously, he doesn't mention anything about being a scientist. Guess what? That's because, until pigs fly, you don't have to be one to be a bodybuilder.
10-10-2010, 02:45 PM #3
Everson is right, Mentzer is wrong, end of story. Mentzer had a bad case of messiah complex and read to many Ayn Rand books and started to think he was a character in one of her novels. Mike claimed to have uncovered universal truth and anyone who lays claim to the universal truth should send you running in the opposite direction. The truth is we are in our infancy in our understanding of how the human body works, muscle hypertrophy, etc.. Mike was making a huge leap in logic in thinking and his entire premise is based entirely upon this gross error in thinking, that we have perfect knowledge of how the human body works, how the human body responds to training, and how the human body recovers and repairs itself. No scientist in the world would claim to know the exact answers to these questions, but Mentzer was such a narcissist that he had the gall to call his ideas scientific while his entire approach bore more similarities with dogmatic religious zealots and made a complete mockery of science, the scientific method, and objective evaluation. Mike was a zealot, plain and simple, and he did not care what the truth really was, all he cared about was proving that his HIT ideas were true, not in the truth of HIT. Mentzer is a complete clown and I still can not understand the status conferred upon this guy. I guess he somewhat contributed to the idea of abbreviated training, but his ideas were just second rate imitations of Arthur Jones who is the true innovator of these ideas. I guess that as long as you say something loud enough and with enough conviction and confidence you can draw a following no matter how insane you are.
10-10-2010, 03:51 PM #4
10-10-2010, 04:02 PM #5
If you have the will power to make your HIT intense enough, then IMO it is the best method for those without super elite genetics. Ive been training HIT for a few months now and have had great gains after hitting a platue with a higher volume training. i went from training 4 times a week for about an hour to and hour and a half, to training one to two times a week doing only 4-5 sets perwork outtattoos - http://facepolution.deviantart.com/
10-10-2010, 04:29 PM #6
I must admit, I've trained my brain to switch off when I hear someone say "scientifically proven" in relation to bodybuilding.
For some reason these "scientifically proven" techniques always seem to involve you giving them money.We're dodging more ninjitsu attacks than Flex Wheeler. We're ducking more bullets than George Farah. We're facing more death than a kid leg pressing at Branch Warren's gym.
You can't stop us. You can't hold us back.
IFBB brahs über alles.
10-10-2010, 04:59 PM #7
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The fact whether we want to face it or not. Is no one can defy nature naturally. If your genetics determine you require 120 hours to fully recover and grow from training. Then training every 48 hours will result in little if any progress for that individual. Mentzer for all his faults correctly identified this fact.
And that's why he has my respect. The idea that we can all do 50 sets a day and progress is beyond madness. And anyone who cannot see this has a problem. And that is the absolute truth.
11-16-2015, 06:06 PM #14
11-19-2015, 12:49 AM #15
HIT is unbeatable for muscle gain but 9 out of 10 are not tough enough to be able to do it. Also, 9 out of 10 don't have a metabolism fast enough to only train HIT year-round with sufficient fat-loss. You'd end up doing as much as cardio work as weight-training to get in shape, about 45mins each. That's catabolic right there.
Nobody is saying HIT won't build the most muscle, it obviously will - that's common sense. But it's impractical. Less free weights = less balance/stability/coordination/flexibility. More cardio when not off-season = catabolism and slowing of metabolism. More free weights = too much risk of injury. Less cardio = not enough calories burned to not be fat.
Dorian had a hideously fast metabolism, and was clearly ultra-tough/determined/focused, to put 150% into that one all-out set, failing at 5-6 reps and then going 3-4 reps beyond at max effort. No chit-chatting at all in the gym! Dorian couldn't put on body fat if he tried. It was perfect for him. If he did high volume, with his metabolism, he might of even ended up losing muscle mass.
11-20-2015, 11:10 PM #16
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