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What did guys think of Mike Mentzer?


Jun 5, 2002
I have been reading alot about him and I just bought his book "heavy duty 2". He has some odd views on protein through. He says that people dont need 100's of grams like once believed. He has some studys done by the universty of Michigan... To grow around 10 lbs of mucles of year works around to 80g of protein a day. I have been following his protein advice and lowered my protein by 3/4 and kept my cals the same and my weights are still gowing up......The only things is that im Powerlifting but every week my bench/squat/deadlift are going up at least 4-5 xtra reps/ And im only training 2x a week! ANy input on what you think about him/his thoughts?????
Heavy Duty is applauded by many. I agree with it in part. Mentzer (no disrespect to the dead) was a big asshole and an extremest. There was no room for anything but his way-exactly as he stated it with absolutely no variation. Ive seen him at shows and he was a big ass, arguing with everyone-name calling, cussing the whole bit. Plain and simple he was nuts.
maximize your genetic potential in one year

im gonna catch hell for this...but fkit, pseudo psycho babbling wanna be intellectual, impressing only the most low level intellects with his seemingly drug induced tangets=mike mentzer. that being said, if you can wade thru the loads and loads of utter bullshit, he had a few excellent ideas with training, in his never ending disire to remain relevent though....he took things way way to far.

The guy was pompous,but he had some valid ideas.I just didnt like how his was the end all be all approach.You can apply his ideas to others and make your own plan.HIT is in someways HeavyDuty isnt it? Similar but not exact. I believe in failure,forced reps,beyond failure,drops,pain,pain and more pain,but I also believe in rest,and thats the key to Mentzers philosophy.Although his idea of rest was alittle too long in my view.I will say that he had one of the great bodies of his time and he was robbed that one time,when he should have taken it all.His body just had that perfect combination of thickness,full muscle bellies,symetry.He looked awesome......
I like the story of him directing traffic on venice blvd while nude, lol. Meth induced psychosis.
After Arnold and a few others beat him in 1980
It messed his head/EGO pretty bad.

Dorian took his raw concepts and perfected them.

Otherwise, I agree with judas stone.
i think he was a great bodybuilder.

kinda of hard to say his ideas were bad because they obviously worked for him. I think the biggest thing about bodybuilding is that everyone responds differently to different things so just because it worked for him doesn't mean it would work "as well" for other athletes and i think thats what he failed to realize.

for example arnold trained chest 3 times a week.....up to 25 sets at times...IMO that would be overtraining for 99.9% of all bodybuilders. but who can argue that he was overtraining when IMO he had the most complete chest in bodybuilding history

I do feel that Mentzer had some good points though that were perfected by Dorian yates. I think that is what made Dorian so great. Everything was carefully thought out before it was executed.
agreed. I like his views on protein and rest. I just dont believe in 1 total set to failure...
I knew Mike, and talked with him many times, as well as trying all of his training ideas. We both spent time with Nautilus in DeLand, FL, before Jones sold the company in 1987.

Mike was sincere, but poorly educated. He took Jones' ideas to their logical, yet ridiculous extreme - like training two sets per workout once every two weeks. I've posted my opinions before on the whole Nautilus/Superslow/HIT nonsense, so will spare you all that speech. Toward the end of his life, Mike was beginning to privately acknowledge that training to failure every set of every workout was too much, even for those on the gear. The regular use of forced reps, negatives and the rest of these so-called intensity increasing gimicks just makes the situation worse.

What people have already posted about his antics and personality were certainly true at times, but he was also very alone most of the time, very troubled, felt misunderstood, and struggled with various chemical dependancy problems. He always wanted to do something grand to "awaken" the public, and get them to actually think, and was constantly frustrated in his attempts to do so. He felt the 1980 Olympia robbed him of his true status as the greatest, thinking bodybuilder ever.

He died too young, alone, and deeply frustrated - something we can all hope won't happen to us. Rest in peace, Mike.
The key point to this post is simply every one is differnt and differnt things work for differnt people. Metzers whole ideology could work great for some but not for others.
he had a great body where he wasnt too big or too small, a good body for someone who wants to look great and not get far in this sport.
Jimbo said:
agreed. I like his views on protein and rest. I just dont believe in 1 total set to failure...

I've seen a great number of guys who believe and preach the 1 total set to failure training. All are fat fucks :p
I got fat using that too :p
I knew a kid in the 80's that followed his training to a T. He gained incredible size (muscle mass) but also got pretty fat as well.

diverz said:

I've seen a great number of guys who believe and preach the 1 total set to failure training. All are fat fucks :p

You did get me there. I was a 100% beliver in 1 set. Now more of that. I do believe that a moderate amount of volume (or powerlifting) does build muscle just as well.

I did also get very fat just trying the 1set thing. Hey bodybuilding is a lifetime learning process!

If it is not true, you arent talking about him at any time.
To the guys that get fat, man you are what you eat, you eat fat or if you eat to many calories for your body, you can look like a pig, but any training system cant retain fats....People use your heads!!!
I know that Mike Metzer was crazy, addicted to drugs, but Heavy Duty works and beliveme it works. Ive been training Heavy duty since 1993 to 2001 and a lot of my friends in my country and in USA too...A LOT OF PEOPLE!!!!
I prepare a lot of people to win a lot of countest with Heavy Duty.


But no mather how you train only you have to know what you are doing and you have to do it write.

and remember......
......There is no space for the littles!!!!!!!!
I worked up to 5 plates on the squat to failure. It took me four sets to get there, but that is not that much different from H.I.T. I just like my joints. I also saw a photo of Mentzer doing One-Arm Cable crossovers. I don't see how that is Heavy Duty.
Heavy Duty works in a VERY small group

I said I wouldn't enter this debate, but recent posts changed my mind.

Heavy Duty, SuperSlow, and all the others are simply variations on Arthur Jones' training ideas. Jones had no science background, nor did Mike Mentzer, or Ken Hutchins of SuperSlow Fame. They were all openly distainful of science and ideas other than their own, even thought they hadn't bothered to research any of them. Here's the real story on these guys.

Jones used to hunt and film wild animals in Africa. He'd be gone for 6 months or more with no training, then come back and resume training. When he'd hit a plateau, he'd reduce his workload and resume progress. This would go on for a few months, and then he'd be back in Africa. This was the genesis of "high intensity."

When he got the idea for his machines, he did so in an attempt to solve the physics of strength curves generated by free weights - like the way the squat, barbell curl, or chest press get "easier" at the lock-out position. To do this he used cams, but you'd need a cam specifically designed to each individual's limb lengths to really make this work. His "training" ideas came about when, having difficulty convincing gym owners of the "suoeriority" of his machines, he sold them on the idea that they could get better turn-over and more members if the gym weren't so full all the time. This could be accomplished by having people do circuit-type, one-set-per-bodypart workouts. It had some merits for conditioning, but none for bodybuilding. In an effort to get people to use his stuff, he wrote a series of articles in Ironman Magazine in the late 60's full of all kinds of speculation, and unsubstantiated claims. Bodybuilders, ever seeking the "Holy Grail" of training, tried this stuff - it didn't work. Not one of them who worked with Jones continued to train this way.

Ken Hutchins of SuperSlow, was a tech that ran an osteoporosis project for Nautilus to see if resistance training would help that condition (it does). They dreamed up SuperSlow since they had a frail population of old people they couldn't risk hurting (a good idea). It has been a dismal failure for bodybuilders who've tried it. Timmy Paterson was another of Jones' "go-fers" who now runs T-mag.

Mike used an very early version of Jones' training that had him doing as many as 6 sets for chest, and more for back, all after several warm-up sets. He published a small set of training booklets in the 70's outlining this. Ell Darden's off the record comment to me was that the Mentzer brothers could have trainind any way they wanted since they were built like rhinos. Mike knew little about physiology, biochem, and anatomy. The Weider mags claimed he was "Pre-med," but if so it was only because he attended college briefly. He refered to things like "throwing that switch to stimulating muscle growth" by training to failure. The fact was, he had no idea why or if any of this worked. How does exhausting the short-term anaerobic energy source in one set stimulate muscle growth? Also, go look at my earlier post about the "famous" Colorado Experiment with Casey Viator.

Muscle growth has been research for well over 100 years, and most of these finding contradict what the HIT people have to say. Are there some flawed studies? Sure - in every discipline.

Finally, in a select group of people, HIT will work on a limited basis. These generally are people who are GROSSLY overtrained that reduce their volume by 80% or more - this was most of Mike's and Jones' bodybuilding clients. Also, in people with very high ratios of white fast-twitch fibres (probably less than 2% of trainess - i.e. greater than 2 standard deviations off the norm), low numbers of sets with heavy weight will work better than volume routines.

Dan Duchaine talked about the flaw of assumming knowledge or intellegence simply because of greatness. Mike was a great bodybuilder, but his ideas, as well as those of the other HIT proponents lack an understanding of physiologic reality. They are ususally defended by those with very limited training experience, or those too young to remember this 35+ year line of nonsense that keeps being re-worked and promoted by one after the other who claims the have "THE" answer.
Here is the problem Dad with your argument--first with science. If we listened to what science had to say we would all be doing 3 sets of 10, eating according to the food pyramid, thinking insulin has very little to do with muscle growth, thinking steroids are a placebo effect, that HMB, OKG, myostatin inhibitors are the greatest supplements ever made etc etc etc I could go on for days. Ill take what 198 out of 200 bodybuilders say works over two guys in lab coats (who have never stepped into a gym) who are doing experiments on labrats. Regardless of how you want to look at it there is very very little out there sciencewise in regards to building herculean muscle mass. There is no demand for it. So you take a little bit of pertinent science with a little bit of experience with a little bit of watching what is working for people and try to put it all together. The greatest advances in this sport came from people who dared to theorize and their theories proved out regardless of a NEJM abstract.
As far as HIT training-EVERYBODY ON THIS EARTH IS DOING HIT TRAINING-no matter how you want to look at it. Chris Cormier goes in and does incline chest and he does 135 225 315 and then 455 for his work set. The first 3 were warmup sets! They dont count toward muscle building- I count that as one set! Do you think he grew on the 135 set? He then goes on and does 3 or so more exercises with the same up the scale weight scheme with the last set being the heaviest and hardest. Thats 4 sets for chest! What does chris say it is? He will tell people he did 12-16 sets for chest. Yea if you want to count warmups he did
HIT training. I have my own way of training which is low sets and extremely heavy weights but do you think a HIT trainer who squats 580 for 8 just goes in and goes for it? No warmup? That would be absolutely ridiculous. No he does 135 225 315 405 495 etc and then goes all out on his work set. One guy would say that he did 6 sets and another guy would say he did one all out set. If he is hitting 8's all the way up how the hell is 405 and 495 going to give him greater muscle mass than the 495 for 8?
You base your opinion on the fact that you tried Mentzer training and you lost size and seriously overtrained. Well I fault you then. Part of your job as a bodybuilder is to recognize your recovery ability and take the precautions neccesary. Secondly I fault Mentzers reasoning because he became quite unstable and went from CNS overload in his early days to overtraining anal retentiveness in his latter days. Ronnie Coleman trains 6 days a week hitting bodyparts twice a week. He warms up going up the scale in weight to his extremely heavy work set. That is HIT training. Someone else who is very weak might warmup with one set and then have his work set. That is also HIT training. People want to put these labels on everything but its pretty much the same thing. If your extremely strong your going to have to make your way up the ladder in weights until you get to your main work set. Now if I try Ronnie Colemans training and I get smaller and grossly overtrain should I go on message boards and say Ronnie is an idiot and his training sucks? NO I suck because I should realize I dont have the recovery ability to accomplish that and I dont. Ronnie is growing twice in a week while almost everyone else is growing once a week. If I had Ronnies genetics and could recover from hitting bodyparts like that twice over 6 days hell yea I would do that.
I got a post on Animals board called cycle for pennies thats been going for a couple years now. Ive trained alot of guys now online and I have guys warming up and doing one all out rest pause set with one exercise per bodypart twice every 8 days. Ive lost count on how many guys on that thread that have gained 30-60lbs in bodyweight but Ill guesstimate if you read thru it theres about 100 who have posted. Ive been taking heavies and turning them into superheavies very very quickly. Im helping two 330lbers and a 313lb guy (all lean)get even larger and I myself have gone from 137 at 19 to 300lbs at 34 so Im pretty sure my methods have some merit. Now are you going to tell the people on that 137 thousand viewed post that what they are experiencing is some kind of placebo effect? I believe you also conversed with Chris250 about this in emails who is a guy Ive worked with who is a national competitor for quite a few years now. Chris weighed 252lbs when I started working with him and about 5 months later he hit close to 290lbs. Thats from a guy who has been lifting over a decade. If everything else stayed the same with him (supps, super supplements, an admitted increase in protiein though) but the training was pretty radically different how to you account for a 40lb gain in predominantly muscle mass? Theres some damn good competitors on this board (phil, bigA, fathead, excel, lats, patk etc) and we probaly all have different ideas and methods but I take offense to a opinion that something doesnt work because "it didnt work for you" It sounds like you took Mentzers theories and went to the absolute extreme with them, it didnt work out and now in your generalization all HIT is bunk. I hate the label HIT which some people throw onto my methods--I really do--because if I can generalize a little bit-I think every successful bodybuilder who is growing is training within his recovery ability with progressively heavy weights regardless of what kind of label you want to throw on it.
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I got back DC on his methods. I dont do it by the book but pretty damn close. I trained almost a year and made more consistent clean gains then when I was a 20 yr old schmuck playing with roids. In fact I just started training again after a 5 month layoff due my head get batted in and I havent lost a speck of strength. I was quite surprised to say the least. And now the cells are volumnizing back to were I was.

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