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  1. #1
    The Search Nazi EvilLion's Avatar
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    Mike Mentzer workout - what did he do?

    I'm interested in what exercises Mike Mentzer did for each of his bodyparts? I find it difficult to believe that he didn't directly train abs for example. Was it any exercises as long as he did it HIT-style with plenty of rest?

    Many thanks to anybody that can help this noob with HIT training
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  2. #2
    Registered User Awnold79's Avatar
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    Mentzer used a variety of exercises. A typical heavy duty routine woudl look something like this:

    Workout A:
    LEGS
    Leg extention: 1 X 10-12 superset with
    Leg press or squat: 1 X 10-12
    Hamstring curl: 1 X 10-12
    Calf raise: 1 X 10-12
    Crunches: 1 X 10-12

    Workout B:
    CHEST/BACK
    Incline DB flys: 1 X 6-10 superset with
    Incline BB press: 1 X 6-10
    Straight arm lat pulldown: 1 X 6-10 superset with
    CG palms in pulldowns: 1 X 6-10
    Deadlifts: 1 X 6-10

    Workout C:
    SHOULDERS/ARMS
    DB lateral raise: 1 X 6-10 superset with
    Bent over DB lateral raise: 1 X 6-10
    Tricep pushdown: 1 x 6-10 superset with
    Dips: 1 X 6-10
    Concentration curl: 1 X 6-10
    Wrist Curl: 1 X 6-10

    That it in a nutshell. Some exercises are frequently changed and the ue of high intensity principles such as negatives, forced reps, heavy partials etc were used from time to time. Not a lot of direct ab work however your abdominals get a really good workout from stabilizing the rest of the body etc. I can vouch for that. I have great abs and I haven't trained them in nearly 6 months. This is an overal excellent program however it's not for beginners or those with little training experience. The training frequency was 1 workout every 4-7 days typically.
    I eat to failure.
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    My uneducated opinion

    My two cents, I have read a little bit about Mentzer and his "philosophy". I am not a scientist, trainer, etc...but I have been around gyms and have worked out all my life. But to me, this whole HIT is bs and mentzer himself was even worse. Training once every 4-7 days, 6-10 sets per session. This may work if you use the same special "supplementation" that he used. There is something to be said for working hard, but having to work to complete failure every time or you won't grow-I see a lot of big people in the gyms, they don't do this. Plus, it's pretty hard on the body as well. I could go on, but I don't feel like ranting.
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    Squats traps to grass Defiant1's Avatar
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    Originally Posted by Awnold79
    Mentzer used a variety of exercises. A typical heavy duty routine woudl look something like this:

    Workout A:
    LEGS
    Leg extention: 1 X 10-12 superset with
    Leg press or squat: 1 X 10-12
    Hamstring curl: 1 X 10-12
    Calf raise: 1 X 10-12
    Crunches: 1 X 10-12

    Workout B:
    CHEST/BACK
    Incline DB flys: 1 X 6-10 superset with
    Incline BB press: 1 X 6-10
    Straight arm lat pulldown: 1 X 6-10 superset with
    CG palms in pulldowns: 1 X 6-10
    Deadlifts: 1 X 6-10

    Workout C:
    SHOULDERS/ARMS
    DB lateral raise: 1 X 6-10 superset with
    Bent over DB lateral raise: 1 X 6-10
    Tricep pushdown: 1 x 6-10 superset with
    Dips: 1 X 6-10
    Concentration curl: 1 X 6-10
    Wrist Curl: 1 X 6-10

    That it in a nutshell. Some exercises are frequently changed and the ue of high intensity principles such as negatives, forced reps, heavy partials etc were used from time to time. Not a lot of direct ab work however your abdominals get a really good workout from stabilizing the rest of the body etc. I can vouch for that. I have great abs and I haven't trained them in nearly 6 months. This is an overal excellent program however it's not for beginners or those with little training experience. The training frequency was 1 workout every 4-7 days typically.
    Agreed, though he started out doing a 4 day split. His frequency decreased over the years.

    Despite my negative comments about his training, he really was a tragic character, and at one time he was my "hero" believe it or not. I guess I kind of miss him being in the BB world.

    He tried to make sense of an almost completely arbitrary field (BB'ing)-making some incorrect conclusions IMHO but still an interesting guy.
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  5. #5
    Registered User Awnold79's Avatar
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    Exactly....he did start out with traditional higher frequency and higher volume routines. Mentzer was definately an interesting character and although I do not agree with a lot of what he said, I do agree with and practice the HIT - Heavy Duty training theories and programs and i can vouch for them that they do work and no I dont' use drugs.

    Many of the ideas surrounding heavy duty are so abstract that people do not want to give them any consideration whatsoever. As far as science goes, there have been studies for both sides. To say that HIT is stupid program is exactly the same as somebody saying high volume is stupid. The trick is finding and using the correct combiniaition of training programs, diet, and recovery, mixed with the right genetic makeup, to create and maintain your physique.

    Compare a more traditional HIT routine, full body 3 days a week split to the popular HST methods. As far as sets, reps and exercises go, they are very similar. It's training to failure that seems to get everyone's goat. Even HST, if my understanding is corect, utilized training to failure. Weeks 1-2, 15 rep max, weeks 3-4 your 10 rep max and so forth.

    I conisistantly see posts of "hardcore training programs" where after a leg day for ex. the trainee will carry on about how he was puking and couldn't walk out of the gym after doing 15 plus sets and the corresponding group of followers will praise and admire the hard working trainee, who by his own accounts has trained to failure. Yet the traine who goes in and achieves the same objectives with 5 sets is scorned and told that his training methods are stupid.

    Uh oh...I'm starting to sound like Mentzer now......lol.
    I eat to failure.
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  6. #6
    The Search Nazi EvilLion's Avatar
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    Much, much thanks to Awnold and Defiant1, you've been a huge help.
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  7. #7
    Olympic Cowbell Champ PHbalanced's Avatar
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    Mike did train abs, here's a photo from mikementzer.com:
    http://www.mikementzer.com/dhmm.jpg

    The caption is by a guy that used to lift with him in the 70s, it says:

    [describing part of Mike and Ray's routines] Abs were 85-degree incline sit-ups with a 100-pound plate supersetted with hanging leg raises with a 25-pound dumbbell. "Inhuman weights!"
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    For what it's worth...,

    Mentzer's "final word" before he died was what he called the Athlete's Routine, or Improved Consolidation Routine. It went as follows....

    Workout A
    Squats 1 x failure
    Underhand Grip Chins 1 x failure

    Rest 7 days.

    Workout B
    Regular Deadlifts 1 x failure
    Dips 1 x failure

    Rest 7 days.

    Repeat. As progress slows, increase rest days even more to once every 10-14 days. Once you're down to training this little, you're close to your genetic potential.

    He said this was the best routine for size and strength for EVERYONE, including rank beginners and the most advanced guys on the planet. I'm not joking. You should start with this and end with this he said, just increasing rest days as progress slows.

    Mentzer himself never trained like this. From what I remember, he generally trained with 1-2 sets per exercise to failure, 3-4 days per week.

    Again, for what it's worth...,
    Dirk
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  9. #9
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    lol dirk, is there such thing as undertraining? jk bro
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    Registered User the iron addict's Avatar
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    Dirk,

    That is NOT what Mike considered the "final word" on training. That was his consolidation routine though. And a pretty ****ty one at that.

    Iron Addict
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    I wouldn't even get changed for that workout. 1 workout a week for 10 mins.
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    Originally Posted by PHbalanced
    Mike did train abs, here's a photo from mikementzer.com:
    http://www.mikementzer.com/dhmm.jpg

    The caption is by a guy that used to lift with him in the 70s, it says:

    [describing part of Mike and Ray's routines] Abs were 85-degree incline sit-ups with a 100-pound plate supersetted with hanging leg raises with a 25-pound dumbbell. "Inhuman weights!"
    That's a pullover machine... for lats.
    "However, the strength of the hamstring muscles is crucial to fully exploit the strength potential of the quads and ultimately the vertical force that the athlete is able to impart to the barbell." - Andrew Charniga, Jr.
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    yeah no kidding. i wouldnt even bother either
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    Mentzers Most Productive Routine
    “The routine I followed was the essential basic Heavy Duty routine consisting of four to five sets per bodypart and broken into two workouts,” he began. “The first workout would be legs, chest and triceps; the second workout was back, shoulders and biceps. I would start with leg extensions—six to eight reps to failure—and then continue beyond that with forced reps and negative reps, and then go immediately to leg presses, preferably on a Nautilus Compound Leg machine, as that would allow me to go from one exercise to the other without pausing. After that I would do one set of squats to positive failure, usually in the neighborhood of 400 to 500 pounds, and then proceed on to leg curls for two sets.

    “Then I’d work calves, typically two sets of standing calf raises on a machine, followed by one set of toe presses on a leg press machine to failure. After legs I’d move on to chest for one to two supersets of dumbbell flyes or pec deck and incline barbell presses. I’d follow that up with one or two sets of dips. I always selected weights for my exercises that allowed me to get at least six good positive repetitions and then continue with forced and negative reps. With any preexhaust set, such as leg extensions to leg presses or pec deck to incline presses, I would take no rest at all between exercises, but I would rest long enough to catch my breath, and I’d only do the negatives once a week on each exercise. Moving on to triceps, I’d limit myself to fewer than four sets for triceps, doing one preexhaust cycle of triceps pressdowns followed immediately by a set of dips. Then I might finish off with two sets of lying triceps extensions. That would be it.”

    “What about your second workout of the week?” I inquired. Mike’s forearms rippled as he carefully placed a pen on his desk and answered, “That would be back, shoulders and biceps. I would begin with the largest muscle group—the back—and perform Nautilus pullovers supersetted with close-grip underhand pulldowns. I’d complete two cycles of those two exercises and then move on to two sets of bent-over barbell rows to finish up my lat work.

    “From there I would move on to traps and perform two preexhaust cycles of Universal machine shrugs supersetted with upright rows. Then it would be on to shoulders, for which I would do two superset cycles of Nautilus lateral raises followed by Nautilus behind-the-neck presses and two sets of either rear-delt rows—performed by sitting backward in a pec deck machine and squeezing your elbows as far back as they can go—or two sets of bent-over dumbbell laterals. And finally, I’d finish up with biceps, where I’d do one set of standing barbell curls to failure followed by one or two sets of either seated concentration curls or preacher curls.”

    Workout 1 (Monday)

    Legs
    Superset
    Leg extensions 1 x 6-8
    Leg presses 1 x 6-8
    Squats 1 x 6-8
    Leg curls 2 x 6-8
    Calf raises 2 x 6-8
    Toe presses 1 x 6-8

    Chest
    Superset
    Dumbbell flyes or pec deck 1-2 x 6-8
    Incline presses 1-2 x 6-8
    Dips 2 x 6-8

    Triceps
    Superset
    Pushdowns 1 x 6-8
    Dips 1 x 6-8
    Lying triceps extensions 2 x 6-8

    Workout 2 (Wednesday)

    Back
    Superset
    Nautilus pullovers 2 x 6-8
    Close-grip pulldowns 2 x 6-8
    Bent-over barbell rows 2 x 6-8

    Traps
    Superset
    Universal machine shrugs 2 x 6-8
    Upright rows 2 x 6-8

    Shoulders
    Superset
    Nautilus laterals 2 x 6-8
    Nautilus presses 2 x 6-8
    Rear-delt rows 2 x 6-8

    Biceps
    Standing barbell curls 1 x 6-8
    Concentration curls 2 x 6-8

    Workout 3 (Friday) Repeat
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    If you really want to understand Mentzer's philosophies (he had a few) then read his books. One of the last articles I read by Mentzer was a discussion about his amphetamine use. Being a teenage product of the 60s I unfortunately have some long term experience with dextroamphetamines. In a nut shell, speed wears you out! I often wondered why the Mentzers workout frequency streatched out over the years. This is strictly one of my opinions but I truely believe that the intense workouts, steroids and speed aided in limiting workout frequency. You better believe they needed more rest between w/os. You try duplicating their drug regimes, perform a HIT routine on Monday and see how long it takes to recuperate.....kinda sad.

    gm
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    What time is it in Malta? Madcow2's Avatar
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    Originally Posted by geriatricmuscle
    If you really want to understand Mentzer's philosophies (he had a few) then read his books. One of the last articles I read by Mentzer was a discussion about his amphetamine use. Being a teenage product of the 60s I unfortunately have some long term experience with dextroamphetamines. In a nut shell, speed wears you out! I often wondered why the Mentzers workout frequency streatched out over the years. This is strictly one of my opinions but I truely believe that the intense workouts, steroids and speed aided in limiting workout frequency. You better believe they needed more rest between w/os. You try duplicating their drug regimes, perform a HIT routine on Monday and see how long it takes to recuperate.....kinda sad.

    gm
    Maybe you know more about this. I've always kind of attributed Mentzer's breakdown years after the Olympia loss to maybe psychosis or paranoia perhaps brought on by or assisted by the amphetamines and maybe other drugs (lots of maybe's but it's tough to find anything about that period as most it deifying him and HIT). Piecing himself back together again, I find it pretty logical for him to be drawn to an objectivism/Ayn Rand type of philosophy governing the mind and action (hence why HIT was so appealing to him and perhaps why, although proclaiming a love of science, he never ventured out beyond it as the field expanded).

    Any thoughts on this? I'd be interested as I used to read Mentzer's stuff quite a bit a long time ago.
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    Mike ended up using Objectivism to the point of being totally non-objective about his training beliefs. his statement that "there can be only one correct theory of excercise science" is TOTALLY contridicted by the fact that many things work well for different people. His statement that one set per bodypart was the ONLY correct way to train was of course contridicted by the fact that the majority of the BB'ing pros use volume work. His analogies of sunlight exposure and such seemed very logical sounding but missed the mark since we all vary in our degree of tolerance to sun exposure before burning (overtraining) results. He was very dogmatic and so fixed in his beleifs he could not look out at the other lifting camps and their successes and see that a wide variety of methods work well for different people during different phases in their training carrers.

    His second Book was actaully not a bad LOW VOLUME training ROUTINE. But it was just that, a routine not a well thought out SYSTEM to allow for the adaptive response to continue over time. For that, some method of periodization is needed, and without the loading parameters modulated, one becomes STUCK very fast.

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    What time is it in Malta? Madcow2's Avatar
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    LOL - I actually have grown to hate the word "routine" from these forums. Because that's what most people do, a routine. Same thing, again and again, train and hope it works - no underlying system of progression and generally no thought to that effect other than work hard at random a bunch of stuff and hope.
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    Originally Posted by Madcow2
    LOL - I actually have grown to hate the word "routine" from these forums. Because that's what most people do, a routine. Same thing, again and again, train and hope it works - no underlying system of progression and generally no thought to that effect other than work hard at random a bunch of stuff and hope.

    i take it you're a fan of instinctive training
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    Registered User the iron addict's Avatar
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    I certainly can't answer for madcow, but that is likely the last thing he is a fan of.

    Here is my take on it.

    For the training load to continue to elicit a response the loading parameters must change. But to do so "instinctively" is the last thing one needs to do if the loading and this results are to be optimal. Well thought out short term and long term planning is needed for this to occur and as a trainees strength and weaknesses change, the loading must be setup to address this. I am not sure how madcow does this, but I check my trainees core lifts, squat/bench/deadlift/bent row or pull-downs every 5-8 weeks depending on the individual trainee, and address weaknesses, and change the loading accordingly. most train all out all the time which is always a mistake, and ultimately results in non-optimal results.

    Once a trainee commits to a long-term agreement I look at where I want to take them over the next 6 months, but how they will get their is a dynamic changing process. None of my trainees ever do the same thing for more than 4 weeks, and advanced trainees have some lifts changed every 1-2 week, and all lifts done are geared towards carryover to the core lifts. There is nothing instinctive about this, it is all well thought out, but can be changed anytime as needs and strengths change. I use a conjugated periodized system (WSB for BB formats of my own design) and ALWAYS work on the trainees overall conditioning level also.

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    Last edited by the iron addict; 11-08-2005 at 09:29 PM.
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    Originally Posted by the iron addict
    Dirk,

    That is NOT what Mike considered the "final word" on training. That was his consolidation routine though. And a pretty ****ty one at that.

    Iron Addict

    See for yourself Iron. Read the latest book by John Little called "The Wisdom of Mike Mentzer." It was just published in October. If it's not that exactly, it's not far off to make it significant. It was called the "Improved Consolidation Routine." Mentzer fans call it by it's old name, the "Athlete's Routine." Best for everyone he said. Little, as you know, was Mike's "right hand man" for years, and Joane Sharkey named him Heavy Duty capitan after Mike's passing. If anyone knows what his last word was, it's Little.

    For the record, I'm not advocating anyone actually train like this.

    Again, for what it's worth,
    Dirk
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    Heavy Duty is only credible if famous people use it.


    At least that's what it's starting to seem like around here.........
    I eat to failure.
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    Originally Posted by raffiki
    That's a pullover machine... for lats.
    Oops, sorry. I thought it was an old school ab machine because of the caption preceding the pic! D'oh!
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    Registered User the iron addict's Avatar
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    Originally Posted by Dirk D.
    See for yourself Iron. Read the latest book by John Little called "The Wisdom of Mike Mentzer." It was just published in October. If it's not that exactly, it's not far off to make it significant. It was called the "Improved Consolidation Routine." Mentzer fans call it by it's old name, the "Athlete's Routine." Best for everyone he said. Little, as you know, was Mike's "right hand man" for years, and Joane Sharkey named him Heavy Duty capitan after Mike's passing. If anyone knows what his last word was, it's Little.

    For the record, I'm not advocating anyone actually train like this.

    Again, for what it's worth,
    Dirk
    All I will see is a book written by John Little. Mike included that routine in "Heavy Duty Mind and Muscle" which I own, and it was his consolidation routine according to HIM.

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    What time is it in Malta? Madcow2's Avatar
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    Originally Posted by Mammoth3
    i take it you're a fan of instinctive training
    LOL - Iron Addict got it right. That's even worse than a "routine"

    Instinctive training is the worst followed closely by someone doing a "routine" where they just go in and do the same stuff with no longer term management or plan and hope to find out that they got better. I guess programming is the other side of this and understanding enough to at least sketch out a shorter macro-style plan and manipulate basic factors over time. First make sure you are working smart and then go in and work hard at it.
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    Originally Posted by the iron addict
    All I will see is a book written by John Little. Mike included that routine in "Heavy Duty Mind and Muscle" which I own, and it was his consolidation routine according to HIM.

    Iron Addict
    Interesting, I've never heard of this book. When was it published?

    I have "Heavy Duty II: Mind and Body," (1996). It sounds similar to your "Mind and Muscle" title, but it seems that I've missed this one.

    Yes, in HDII the routine mentioned earlier was similar to the Consolidation Routine he suggested, but not exact. The version in HDII included a third exercise per workout actually. The "Improved Consolidation Routine," or "Athlete's Routine," had never been published before now. Shortly after Mind and Body he actually started all his trainees on this "Improved Consolidation Routine" and said it was the best for everyone all the time. You just needed to add rest days as progress slows. Menster clearly states this in his underground seminar which was taped in 1998 in Toronto Canada. Little has also now printed it for you to read if you want to.

    You can believe what you want I guess. It's not that important. We can both agree that they're equally crappy programs.

    Dirk
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