In order to understand exactly how radical Mike Mentzer's training ideas were in the 1970's you need to understand the underlying principal that governed the training of all top bodybuilders at the time. The professional bodybuilders were all doing volume training sometimes twice in one day doing set after set.
When Mike told the bodybuilding world after he won the Mr. America title that he got his muscles training to failure for only one to two sets for each exercise the bodybuilding world thought he was crazy. Mike then published his HIT (high intensity training) routine which slowly got more and more followers.
Mike was the first to admit that professional bodybuilding is all about genetics and not everyone will respond to the new radical ideas he had on building muscle, most of which have since been proven to be true. He went on to win the heavyweight Mr. Olympia title in 1979.
Mike Mentzer was born in Ephrata Pennsylvania on November 15, 1951 and was reading bodybuilding magazines since he was 12 years old. He started competing in 1969 and won the Mr. Lancaster title in 1971. In 1976 he won Mr. America and two years later won the IFBB Mr. Universe contest held in Acapulco, Mexico with the only prefect score which he did again at the Mr. Olympia in 1979.
Mike developed his HIT theory by perfecting the methods he learned from Arthur Jones of Nautilus fame. He explained that depending on your genetic potential you can get contest ready by training brief and intense and infrequently, he based his philosophy on the body being an indivisible entity and that the body is an integrated unit of the mind and the body.
Mike Mentzer Workout Routine
The Mike Mentzer training routine below is for training 4 days a week with the deliberate intension of lifting a heavier weight with each new week.
Warm-ups which is vitally important when lifting a heavy weight to avoid injury.
Leg extensions 1 set of 6-8 reps
Leg presses 1 set of 6-8 reps
Squats 1 set of 6-8 reps
Leg curls 2 sets of 6-8
Calf raises 2 sets of 6-8
Toe presses 1set of 6-8
D/B flyes or pec deck 1-2 sets of 6-8 reps
Incline presses 1-2 sets of 6-8 reps
Dips 2 sets of 6-8 reps
Push-downs 1 set of 6-8 reps
Lying triceps ext 2 sets of 6-8 reps
Nautilus pull-overs 2 sets of 6-8 reps
Close-grip pull-downs 2 sets of 6-8 reps
Bent-over barbell rows 2 sets of 6-8 reps
Universal machine shrugs 2 sets of 6-8 reps
Upright rows 2 sets of 6-8 reps
Nautilus laterals 2 sets of 6-8 reps
Nautilus presses 2 sets of 6-8 reps
Rear-delt D/B rows 2 sets of 6-8 reps
Standing barbell curls 1 set of 6-8 reps
Concentration curls 2 sets of 6-8 reps