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Mike Mentzer's training program


In the world of fitness, Mike Mentzer's training philosophy is making a comeback. High-intensity training is more popular than ever, and people want to learn about Mentzer's training system.

Here's a complete review of Mike Mentzer's training program and everything you need to know about this style of training.

Who was Mike Mentzer?

Mike Mentzer, bodybuilder

Before we get into Mike Mentzer's training program, let's talk about who Mike Mentzer was. Mike grew up in Pennsylvania and was involved in physical education and bodybuilding from a young age.

He began training seriously as a teenager, rising through the ranks to become an influential figure in bodybuilding.

Mentzer's approach to bodybuilding was heavily influenced by his philosophical background. This intellectual approach set him apart from many of his peers in bodybuilding.

A forward thinker, Mentzer developed a highly structured and scientific approach to training. His training philosophy focused on intensity rather than volume.

Mike believed that the key to muscle growth and strength was to train at maximum intensity in just one set.

Mike Mentzer's training program

Mentzer's training philosophy centered on the idea of ​​prioritizing intensity over volume. He believed that the key to muscle growth and strength was training at maximum intensity.

Mike Mentzer's entire training program revolves around one set to failure. Whenever Mike was in the gym, he would choose no more than three exercises and perform one set to failure.

Mentzer claimed that this approach allows for maximum stimulation of muscle fibers without performing multiple sets. He believed that following this training philosophy would reduce the risk of overtraining and minimize time spent in the gym.

Mike Mentzer's training split

Mike Mentzer's training program is a training split divided into three days of training per week.

  • Day one: chest and back
  • Day two: legs and abs
  • Day Three: Shoulders and Arms

Day one: chest and abs

  • Dumbbell chest fly, cable crossover: 1 set to failure.
  • Smith Incline Press: 1 set to failure.
  • Machine pullovers or straight bar lat extensions: 1 set to failure.
  • Close-grip lat pulldown: 1 set to failure.
  • Deadlift: 1 set to failure.

Day 2: Legs and Abs

  • Leg extension: 1 set to failure.
  • Back squats or leg extensions: 1 set to failure.
  • Leg curl: 1 set to failure.
  • Standing calf raise: 1 set to failure.
  • Incline Squats: 1 set to failure.

Day 3: Shoulders and Arms

  • Lifting on a machine or with a dumbbell to the sides: 1 approach to failure.
  • Pectoral twist or rear dumbbell lift: 1 set to failure.
  • Barbell curl: 1 set to failure.
  • Triceps cable press: 1 set to failure.
  • Weighted push-ups: 1 set to failure.

How long is Mike Mentzer's workout?

Mike Mentzer on the beachMike Mentzer on the beach

Mike Mentzer's workout program should last no more than 30 minutes per workout. Mentzer believed that hours spent in the gym would simply burn muscles.

He felt that in just 30 minutes of training he could get everything he needed.

How often should you do Mike Mentzer's workout program?

Mike Mentzer's training program was based on a split system. Typically, different muscle groups are used on different days of the week.

Mike advocated low frequency training, where each muscle group was worked every 4-7 days to achieve adequate recovery.

Mike Mentzer's workout programs are enjoying a resurgence in popularity.

In the years following Mentzer's untimely death, the popularity of his workouts has risen again. There are now many avid Mike Mentzer workout fans online who have adopted Mike Mentzer's training philosophy.

It's no surprise that Mentzer's training theory has a huge following because there are a lot of good things about it. The best part is that you will get results while spending less time in the gym.

The Positives of Mike Mentzer's Training Program

There is a lot of good in Mike Mentzer's training theories, but there are two reasons why they are still used today. These two reasons are that Mike Mentzer's training program is simple and effective.

His training system is easy to follow and will get you results. All you have to do is train hard, one set per body part, and you will see results.

Criticism of Mike Mentzer's training program

Although Mike Mentzer's workout program can be an effective form of training, many exercise professors have problems with it. Here are some of the biggest criticisms of Mentzer's training style.

Outdated teaching methods

Mike Mentzer poseMike Mentzer pose

The biggest criticism of Mike Mentzer's training is that the training methods are outdated. This does not negate Mentzer's influence as a progressive thinker, but in his era science was inaccessible.

Now that more research and studies have been done on the best teaching methods, we know what works and what doesn't. Mentzer was ahead of his time, but as more research has been done, we can see the flaws in his theory.

Mentzer progression algorithm

In Mentzer's progression algorithm, he starts each exercise with 8 repetitions and continues with that weight until he completes 12 repetitions. Once he completes 12 reps with that weight, he adds 10% to the load and resumes the progression.

The latest exercise science has shown that you can achieve hypertrophy with a rep range of 5-30, not just 8 reps. Another disadvantage of Mentzer's progress algorithm is that it will ultimately take longer to make progress.

The best progression would be to keep the same rep range but add 2.5 to 5 pounds in the next workout. You will experience more frequent progress and better results.

Mike Mentzer vs Arnold Schwarzenegger

The biggest opponent of Mike Mentzer's training theory was the legendary Arnold Schwarzenegger. The two were bitter rivals who hated each other.

Mentzer's training theories and diet went against everything Arnold based his training on. The two were constantly shooting at each other at Gold's Gym and almost came to blows.

At the 1980 Mr. Olympia, Mentzer placed fourth and Arnold took first, although many believed he did not deserve it. This caused Mike to retire from professional bodybuilding, citing that it was all political and in favor of Schwarzenegger.

The Legacy of Mike Mentzer and His Training Program

Despite his tragic death in 2001, Mike Mentzer's training program is more popular than ever. More and more people are now using the training principles Mike developed decades ago.

It's a shame Mike didn't live to see his theories proven, but people will continue to use his training philosophy.


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