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"Doing more exercise with less intensity,"
Arthur Jones believes, "has all but
destroyed the actual great value
of weight training. Something
must be done . . . and quickly."
The New Bodybuilding for
Old-School Results supplies
MUCH of that "something."

 

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What Do You Think Of Mike Mentzer's Final Recommendations?
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HeavyHitter32

Before his death in 2001, Mike Mentzer was recommending a baseline routine which consisted of the following every 7 days:

Workout A

Squat
Pulldown

Workout B

Deadlift
Dips


These workouts were to be alternated, so in essence, each movement is trained once every 14 days --- or even less --- as Mike stated to increase rest days over time, particularly as one grows stronger.

Has anyone trained with such a routine with any results?



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Ellington Darden

Mentzer's routines seem too complicated to me. Why don't you try dropping 1 exercise from each routine? If that doesn't work better, subtract 2 exercises from each workout.

Ellington
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Brian Johnston

Ontario, CAN

Having worked with Mike for a few years, and having followed his advice/recommendations during that time, I have found (as well as dozens whom have crossed my path, including students of the I.A.R.T.) that lifting proficiency increased tremendously, since you practice only a few movements repeatedly and with plenty of recovery. However, muscle actually decreased (determined with reliable body comp) and fat increased (since most people will maintain the same kcal while reducing exercise/activity).

I used a very similar routine as the one above, by the way, along with a few variations. My physique transmorphed into one of a fat powerlifter from my previous bodybuilding look. My muscles flattened out and I felt terrible (overall deconditioning of both muscular endurance and cardiovascular endurance).

Theoretically, Mike's ideas were sound, since they (by and large) were adapted from Jones' work). His practical application of that theory, however, went to extremes and could not be supported. His conclusion was, if intensity (of effort) is as high as possible, then volume needs to be as low as possible. There are many errors with this extrapolation, but as Jones stated, as one case in point, show me a person who has developed maximum arm mass without including specific and/or single-joint movements for the arms, such as barbell curls or triceps pushdowns.

I detailed a critique on Mentzer's methodologies (from Heavy Duty II), in the book System Analysis, which also includes arguments on the Weider System, Western Periodization, and Functional Training (a la Paul Chek).
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parker1

I like the consolidated routine once in a while. It gaves me a chance to recover a bit and at the end, I am always ready to resume my regular training routines. I've found I don't lose muscle size at all and actually gain a bit of strength because the body's recovery systems aren't being stressed as heavily during this cycle.

Thinking back to the original Nautilus books and training cycles, I seem to recall the recommendation to take a week off once a month. Having lived out in California, I had seven or eight training sessions with Mentzer and had phone consultations.

I wouldn't go spending money on someone's critique of Mentzer...find out what works for you. Experiment. You might find you benefit from the reduced work for a short period of time, or, you might not.

Dr. Darden...can I ask: is this board going to turn into yet another advertising site for IART products and materials? I'd rather it stay focused on your writings and information.
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Drew Baye

Florida, USA

I got great results following Mike's routines from the early 90's which had more volume and frequency than his HDII routines.

Most recently, the best results I've experienced have been from following routines based on those in Dr. Darden's book, with added emphasis on the neck (I have to work my neck regularly to prevent it from becoming stiff due to a car accident years ago) and grip strength. Each workout has about 10 exercises and is performed once every three to four days.

Drew Baye
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Ellington Darden

Parker,

In my opinion, Brian Johnston has a lot of practical strength-training experience. And he does nice job of answering questions concisely. You certainly have the option "not" to read what he writes and "not" to visit his Web site.

I also appreciate your concern about about my Web site and my writings.

Thanks.

Ellington
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crazeeJZ

Mike's routines are a good strength-building routine, but not the best muscle-building routines. A certain same-muscle frequency range is needed for better muscle growth. Occasional same-muscle frequency isn't optimal.
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HeavyHitter32

Yes, Mike's early 90's routines usually consisted of 1-3 exercises per body part (ala Heavy Duty I).

Ellington and Jones seem to generally recommend training a muscle at least twice a week. However, Mentzer seemed to think training a muscle once every 15-21 days wasn't a big deal. I think the lack of training frequency was the biggest downfall of his training application.
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henry_bordeaux

If you should train a muscle once, twice or maybe three times a week depends largely your fibers / recovery ability /lifestyle / stage as a trainee (beginner, advanced...)etc...
Arthur Jones says (in his latest writings, middle 90ies) that you can only find out for yourself.
Me, for myself, am only able to progress if i train every forth day (full body routine), if i train every third day there`s not much progress...
Arthur Jones might had a good recovery ability and was able to train every second day, same with casey viator...that`s why Jones thought (around 1970) everyone should train three times a week. Later he discovered (and testet) that...as we all know... people are different.
I know friends of mine who can only train once a week on a full body routine...to make progress...
Are they HARDGAINER?
Maybe...
Also...as we all know...if you get stronger...the time you need for recovery changes...
That`s why Arthur Jones, Ell Darden, etc. said that you should switch after training three times a week to two times a week to three times in two weeks to...

I think Mike Mentzer just needed something new (to sell to his clients???), which was different to the Jones/Darden thinking...
He couldn`t increase the JONES INTENSITY...
So he decreased the JONES VOLUME...

But after all...i ask you...
what do you like best...
Mighty Mike...who went a little overboard with decreasing the Volume
or people like Arnold, Bill Pearl, Ronnie Coleman, i could go on for at least 1000 names...who tell you...that for a good body...you have to work out 6 days a week...never go to failure...and if you want to be the Mr. Olympia in the near future...try the triple split...3x2x7...hours in the gym...
PUMP IT UP...
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NeuroMass

Guys,

I think Mike's IDEAL ROUTINE is the more reasonable and sensible HIT program. On the otherhand his CONSOLIDATED and ATHLETE'S Routine I think was a MISTAKE! In fact the whole premise of doing THE LEAST AMOUNT OF EXERCISE AS POSSIBLE to stimulate optimum growth is PURELY THEORETICAL and PHILOSOPHICAL in nature and doesn't really apply to the REALITIES and the SCIENCE of the body's Physiological adaptation. In fact in a way Mike did to the issue of RECOVERY what Weider did to the issue of training volume and frequency. Like if 2-3 days rest in between could deliver results then a 7-10 days rest and reducing the volume more would deliver better results! Another thing I do not agree with is how Mike looked at the body's recovery ability, as if it is a very FRAGILE and could tolerate significant amounts of stress. I do agree that our RECOVERY ABILITY is LIMITED and must be managed well through the right amount of exercise, nutrition and rest BUT not to the extent of LIMITING exercise to the BAREST MINIMUM.

Don't get me wrong I'm a MENTZER follower,although not as strict as the others becasue I did found some INCONSISTENCIES in some of his ideas. At the presnt I still follow his IDEAL ROUTINE with great success.

PEACE.
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NewYorker

New York, USA

Mike Mentzer contributed a tremendous amount to body building. He was also an extremely intellegent, accomplished and gifted athlete. He was always willing to try new ideas. I think he would have enjoyed and contributed to this forum.
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liftnbig

Having followed Mike and his methods since he burst onto the bodybuilding scene in the late 70's I believe Mike did the bodybuilding world at large a tremedous service. But having said that, I can't say I ever got the gains I expected at the rate Mike promised, despite being more than familiar with every aspect of his Heavy Duty system.

When Mike disappeared during the 80's Elligton was my sole source of viable HIT advice, and I am pleased to say that he replied to every letter--these were the pre-email days--I wrote him. I still have those cherished letters, and I'm impressed with how Ellington is still strongly promoting HIT. I am half way through re-reading his latest tomb, and loving it as much as I did the first time around.
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simon-hecubus

Texas, USA

Parker,

I'm not sure what your prejudice is towards IART. Let me start by saying I am not a member of IART but I have read many of their articles and some of their books. Their thinking is very much in line with Dr. Darden (the very biggest difference is the reliance on split routines for intermediate and advanced trainers). The only detraction I can level is that their system is overly complicated. However, if you want to spend the time, they have excellent methods to quantify your ideal training frequency(s) and duration(s).

The most important thing I wanted to say is that the articles Brian J. referred to are FREE! You can read or print them from the IART web site --- unless you're afraid of different opinions (which I doubt, since you took the time to learn about HIT).
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Drew Baye

Florida, USA

Regardless of what you think of the IART, you should read their materials. As a matter of fact, if you are really interested in exercise, you should read as much as you possibly can about the subject, from a variety of sources. You'll come across some nonsense in some places, but you'll also find some very useful information in places you might not expect.

Read about physiology, mechanical physics, psychology, anthropology, nutrition, logic, etc. Some of you should also invest in a copy of The Elements of Style, by Strunk and White. ;)
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Mr Nautilus

LOGIC

"Man has such a predilection for systems and abstract deductions that he is ready to distort the truth intentionally, he is ready to deny the evidence of his senses only to justify his logic."

Fyodor Dostoevsky
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parker1

Just to explain, I've used Nautilus equipment since the late 70s when the first gym opened in my area, traveled to DeLand, read all of Jones' materials, Dr. Darden's, have read materials by other HIT trainers, had one-on-one sessions and discussions with Mentzer, etc., etc. (or yada yada...) I've also read a wide variety of journals and books ranging from college textbooks, journals to commercial pbulications and had pursued a degree in a related field for several years & had professional instruction as a trainer. So, while I'm obviously aging myself (heh) by identifying when I started on all of this, I can assure folks like Drew and others I've got some knowledge and background in this area.

Having lurked on a couple of other sites focused on HIT or slow lifting, the subject of purchasing IART materials seemed to arise on a regular basis. Out of curiuosity, I then took a look at the actual IART site. From what I've then read on the site, eg, the free materials, etc., I haven't seen a lot of value in purchasing the materials as it is either available for free elsewhere or I didn't agree with the information. I'd assume there may be some value in the IART publications as Mr. Johnston has obviously receives accolades from others whom I respect.

Dr. Darden welcomes and respects Mr. Johnston's opinion and I always welcome the chance to learn something new. But I'm just not interested in another IART sales pitch was the intent of my post.

Parker
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chaos138

Florida, USA

Using the Superslow protocol, From 9/10/02 to 5/13/03 I used Mentzer's "Ideal Routine". I found this combination to be very effective. I started by training every 3 days and added a day of rest every 6 weeks. There are a lot of mixed reviews on a split routine, however, I have found that after you reach a certain level of strength and size you need to shorten your workout's. I think a split routine allows a person to use all there favorite exercises and still keep your workout's brief. Curently I have an A-B-C-D routine that I cycle through on monday's and thursday's. My A and C are full body and my B and D are splits.
A:Calf raise
Leg press
Overhead press
Biceps curl

B:Lateral raise
Arm cross
Pullover

C:Compound row
Chest press
Leg curl

D:Low back extension
Leg press
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simon-hecubus

Texas, USA

We're with you on the intent. But all the things Brian mentioned: "a critique on Mentzer's methodologies (from Heavy Duty II), in the book System Analysis, which also includes arguments on the Weider System, Western Periodization, and Functional Training (a la Paul Chek)" are free. One that Brian didn't mention was the critique on Doug McGuff's Training Bulletin No. 1, which also espouses continuing consolidation and increased spacing of routines over time.

Unlike many other web sites I've been to, there's nary a sales pitch. An IART publication is sometimes mentioned, but these are stand-alone articles for anybody with a moderate HIT / Heavy Duty /Super-Slow background who wants to augment their knowledge and expand their horizons. Drew hit the nail right on the head about learning anything and everything we can.
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NeuroMass

Guys,

I say let BRIAN JOHNSTON or other HIT theorists out there who would want to contribute speak. It's always good to hear other people's opinion. I beleive that eventhough we might have some differences of opinion on some issues I guess by discussing things and listening to other's expreiences and reasoning we could eventually learn something new and useful. I suggest we don't close our minds to new ideas because that could be the WORST mistake we could ever make.

In reality no one can claim to have ALL THE ANSWERS, not Jones not Mentzer or anybody else. It's strange but in a way FANATICISM oftentimes gets in the way of REAL PROGRESS.

PEACE.
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HeavyHitter32

I have Mentzer's Heavy Duty I and II books released in the 90's. I also have the latest book.

I am just finding that using 8 sets for a total body workout is just killing me.

After I train legs, I am wiped! Anyone else feel this way?

I know Ellington and Jones don't recommend splitting the body up, but I feel I need to.

I think I am going to break my routine down to something like Mentzer's Heavy Duty I routine:

Workout A: Chest, delts, tris
Workout B: Lats and BIs
Workout C: Legs

Generally, I can tolerate two 'hard' workouts a week as far as recovery is concerned.

However, I am just wondering if training a muscle every 9-12 days is too infrequent. I am an advanced trainee, so maybe I can get away with it more.
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parker1

HH32 - Ideas and new approaches, great. We should never be too old to learn. Just don't keep trying to sell me something...

Mentzer had me on the following cycle, as an example:

Mon
Chest (a pressing movement)
Deltoids (one set of laterals)
Triceps (dips)

Thur or Fri
Leg Presses
Calf raises
Abs

(following week)

Mon or Tues
Pulldowns
Deadlifts
Bicep curls of some kind (optional)

I'd toss in some static work periodically during these cycles. ex. One bench session might be a static hold in three positions (which would require changing the weights out to achieve this). ex.

Top - 550lbs
Mid - 495
3" off of chest - 430

Using these in the same cycles Mentzer advised, I was able to achieve some PRs pretty quickly.
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bday

I enjoy Brian Johnsons contribution to the forum he has very clear thoughts on weight training and express them well .
I havent thought he is using this forum to sell IART products or information .

As far as Mentzer is concerned I did use a 3 exercise routine similar to the one in Heavy Duty 2 while training for another sport , it worked well and I did make improvements in strength and certainly didnt loose any muscle , my frequency was different than Mike recomended though usually twice per week
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bday

Brian Johnston wrote:
Having worked with Mike for a few years, and having followed his advice/recommendations during that time, I have found (as well as dozens whom have crossed my path, including students of the I.A.R.T.) that lifting proficiency increased tremendously, since you practice only a few movements repeatedly and with plenty of recovery. However, muscle actually decreased (determined with reliable body comp) and fat increased (since most people will maintain the same kcal while reducing exercise/activity).

I used a very similar routine as the one above, by the way, along with a few variations. My physique transmorphed into one of a fat powerlifter from my previous bodybuilding look. My muscles flattened out and I felt terrible (overall deconditioning of both muscular endurance and cardiovascular endurance).

Theoretically, Mike's ideas were sound, since they (by and large) were adapted from Jones' work). His practical application of that theory, however, went to extremes and could not be supported. His conclusion was, if intensity (of effort) is as high as possible, then volume needs to be as low as possible. There are many errors with this extrapolation, but as Jones stated, as one case in point, show me a person who has developed maximum arm mass without including specific and/or single-joint movements for the arms, such as barbell curls or triceps pushdowns.

I detailed a critique on Mentzer's methodologies (from Heavy Duty II), in the book System Analysis, which also includes arguments on the Weider System, Western Periodization, and Functional Training (a la Paul Chek).



Brian I understand your reluctance to give spesific advise without first assessing a person , but out of interest how are you training these days ( average week not blitz cycle )

BD
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guzzo

Switzerland

I trained for 0.5 years the Mentzer way.
My problem was that I maintained 3000kcal/day(which was the minimum in terms of my body weight to build muscles even on non-training days) which turned out to be too much as I further reduced the exercises/activity according to Mentzer's book and consistently increased body fat. I didn't increase my overall strength greatly by training only one time(Mentzer's 4 exercises workout) a week. Both ''heavy duty II'' and Dr. Darden's ''super arms'' programm didn't work out for me. Mentzer's workouts were too short and infrequent and Dr. Darden's ''super arms'' program was overtraining for me(remember you had to train three times a week and 12exercises/workout).
The intermediate routine in Dr. Darden's new HIT book seems to work better. I train now twice a week(10 exercises/workout) and the results are slow but not bad.
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HeavyHitter32

Ellington,

What are your thoughts about training a muscle every 9-12 days? Bad idea?
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