Mike Mentzer Heavy Duty Training Program
3 athletes joined
Mike Mentzer's preferred training program from his book Heavy Duty
2.50
(2 ratings)
Program Description

The Mike Mentzer Heavy Duty Training Program Overview

Mike Mentzer remains a celebrated figure in bodybuilding, renowned for his revolutionary approaches to fitness and training. His legacy, encapsulated in the Mike Mentzer Heavy Duty Training Program, continues to influence enthusiasts aiming to push their physical limits. This program is a testament to Mentzer's philosophy of prioritizing quality over quantity in training, which deviates from conventional high-volume workouts.

Who is Mike Mentzer?

Born in Philadelphia in 1951, Mike Mentzer was a distinguished bodybuilder, author, and trainer. He began his bodybuilding career at 18, quickly ascending the ranks with notable victories such as the Mr. America title in 1976 and a perfect-score win at the 1978 Mr. Universe. His prowess was further acknowledged in the 1979 Mr. Olympia where he clinched the heavyweight title. Mentzer's career was marked by his critical view of the sport's judging standards, leading to his early retirement at 29 after a controversial defeat in the 1980 Mr. Olympia. Beyond competition, Mentzer was a revered trainer influencing many, including six-time Mr. Olympia Dorian Yates.

Overview of the Heavy Duty Training Program

Mentzer's program advocates a three-day split routine, emphasizing full-body engagement across the week with days dedicated to combined muscle groups. This approach was detailed in his books, transitioning from traditional splits to more integrated routines towards the end of his career.

  • Day 1: Chest and Back

    • Exercises include chest flies, Smith machine incline presses, and back workouts like machine pullovers and close-grip underhand lat pulldowns, concluding with deadlifts.

  • Day 2: Legs and Abs

    • Begins with leg extensions and progresses to compound movements like squats or leg presses, followed by leg curls and calf raises, and finishing with weighted decline sit-ups.

  • Day 3: Shoulders and Arms

    • Focuses on deltoids and arm muscles, starting with lateral raises and rear delt flys, followed by bicep curls and triceps exercises such as pressdowns and dips.

Key Training Principles

Mentzer’s method contrasts sharply with traditional bodybuilding regimes that mimic the high-frequency routines of icons like Arnold Schwarzenegger. His principles include:

  • High Intensity: Emphasizes training to failure to maximize muscle engagement and growth.

  • Low Volume: Advocates fewer sets to maintain intensity and avoid unnecessary muscle strain.

  • Progression: Stresses the importance of gradually increasing weight and reps to challenge the muscles continually.

  • Low Frequency: Recommends adequate recovery time by limiting workouts to two to four days per week.

  • Strict Technique: Ensures effectiveness and safety by advocating a full range of motion and controlled movements.

How to Progress on the Program

Implementing the double progression method in the Mike Mentzer Heavy Duty Training Program can be outlined concisely with the following steps:

  • Select Initial Weight: Choose a weight that lets you perform at the lower end of your target rep range (typically 6-10 reps) with proper form.

  • Increase Reps: In each session, aim to add more reps until you can perform the maximum in your target range.

  • Increase Weight: Once you reach the upper limit of your rep range, increase the weight by a small amount (5-10%).

  • Reset Reps: With the new weight, return to the lower end of your rep range and repeat the progression.

Program Overview
Level
Novice, Intermediate, Advanced
Goal
Bodybuilding
Equipment
Full Gym
Program Length
12 weeks
Days Per Week
3 days
Time Per Workout
60 minutes
down_app
Week 1
Week 2
Week 3
Week 4
Week 5
Week 6
Week 7
Week 8
Week 9
Week 10
Week 11
Week 12
Day 1
#
Exercise
Sets
Reps
Intensity
1
Chest Fly (Dumbbell)
1
6-10
-
2
Incline Bench Press (Smith Machine)
1
6-10
-
3A
Pullover (Machine)
1
6-10
-
3B
Underhand Lat Pulldown
1
6-10
-
4
Deadlift (Barbell)
1
6-10
-
Day 1
#
Exercise
Sets
Reps
Intensity
1
Chest Fly (Dumbbell)
1
6-10
-
2
Incline Bench Press (Smith Machine)
1
6-10
-
3A
Pullover (Machine)
1
6-10
-
3B
Underhand Lat Pulldown
1
6-10
-
4
Deadlift (Barbell)
1
6-10
-
Day 1
#
Exercise
Sets
Reps
Intensity
1
Chest Fly (Dumbbell)
1
6-10
-
2
Incline Bench Press (Smith Machine)
1
6-10
-
3A
Pullover (Machine)
1
6-10
-
3B
Underhand Lat Pulldown
1
6-10
-
4
Deadlift (Barbell)
1
6-10
-
Day 1
#
Exercise
Sets
Reps
Intensity
1
Chest Fly (Dumbbell)
1
6-10
-
2
Incline Bench Press (Smith Machine)
1
6-10
-
3A
Pullover (Machine)
1
6-10
-
3B
Underhand Lat Pulldown
1
6-10
-
4
Deadlift (Barbell)
1
6-10
-
Day 1
#
Exercise
Sets
Reps
Intensity
1
Chest Fly (Dumbbell)
1
6-10
-
2
Incline Bench Press (Smith Machine)
1
6-10
-
3A
Pullover (Machine)
1
6-10
-
3B
Underhand Lat Pulldown
1
6-10
-
4
Deadlift (Barbell)
1
6-10
-
Day 1
#
Exercise
Sets
Reps
Intensity
1
Chest Fly (Dumbbell)
1
6-10
-
2
Incline Bench Press (Smith Machine)
1
6-10
-
3A
Pullover (Machine)
1
6-10
-
3B
Underhand Lat Pulldown
1
6-10
-
4
Deadlift (Barbell)
1
6-10
-
Day 1
#
Exercise
Sets
Reps
Intensity
1
Chest Fly (Dumbbell)
1
6-10
-
2
Incline Bench Press (Smith Machine)
1
6-10
-
3A
Pullover (Machine)
1
6-10
-
3B
Underhand Lat Pulldown
1
6-10
-
4
Deadlift (Barbell)
1
6-10
-
Day 1
#
Exercise
Sets
Reps
Intensity
1
Chest Fly (Dumbbell)
1
6-10
-
2
Incline Bench Press (Smith Machine)
1
6-10
-
3A
Pullover (Machine)
1
6-10
-
3B
Underhand Lat Pulldown
1
6-10
-
4
Deadlift (Barbell)
1
6-10
-
Day 1
#
Exercise
Sets
Reps
Intensity
1
Chest Fly (Dumbbell)
1
6-10
-
2
Incline Bench Press (Smith Machine)
1
6-10
-
3A
Pullover (Machine)
1
6-10
-
3B
Underhand Lat Pulldown
1
6-10
-
4
Deadlift (Barbell)
1
6-10
-
Day 1
#
Exercise
Sets
Reps
Intensity
1
Chest Fly (Dumbbell)
1
6-10
-
2
Incline Bench Press (Smith Machine)
1
6-10
-
3A
Pullover (Machine)
1
6-10
-
3B
Underhand Lat Pulldown
1
6-10
-
4
Deadlift (Barbell)
1
6-10
-
Day 1
#
Exercise
Sets
Reps
Intensity
1
Chest Fly (Dumbbell)
1
6-10
-
2
Incline Bench Press (Smith Machine)
1
6-10
-
3A
Pullover (Machine)
1
6-10
-
3B
Underhand Lat Pulldown
1
6-10
-
4
Deadlift (Barbell)
1
6-10
-
Day 1
#
Exercise
Sets
Reps
Intensity
1
Chest Fly (Dumbbell)
1
6-10
-
2
Incline Bench Press (Smith Machine)
1
6-10
-
3A
Pullover (Machine)
1
6-10
-
3B
Underhand Lat Pulldown
1
6-10
-
4
Deadlift (Barbell)
1
6-10
-
Day 2
#
Exercise
Sets
Reps
Intensity
1A
Leg Extension
1
12-20
-
1B
Squat (Barbell)
1
6-10
-
2
Leg Curl
1
6-10
-
3
Standing Calf Raise
1
6-10
-
4
Decline Crunch (Weighted)
1
12-20
-
Day 2
#
Exercise
Sets
Reps
Intensity
1A
Leg Extension
1
12-20
-
1B
Squat (Barbell)
1
6-10
-
2
Leg Curl
1
6-10
-
3
Standing Calf Raise
1
6-10
-
4
Decline Crunch (Weighted)
1
12-20
-
Day 2
#
Exercise
Sets
Reps
Intensity
1A
Leg Extension
1
12-20
-
1B
Squat (Barbell)
1
6-10
-
2
Leg Curl
1
6-10
-
3
Standing Calf Raise
1
6-10
-
4
Decline Crunch (Weighted)
1
12-20
-
Day 2
#
Exercise
Sets
Reps
Intensity
1A
Leg Extension
1
12-20
-
1B
Squat (Barbell)
1
6-10
-
2
Leg Curl
1
6-10
-
3
Standing Calf Raise
1
6-10
-
4
Decline Crunch (Weighted)
1
12-20
-
Day 2
#
Exercise
Sets
Reps
Intensity
1A
Leg Extension
1
12-20
-
1B
Squat (Barbell)
1
6-10
-
2
Leg Curl
1
6-10
-
3
Standing Calf Raise
1
6-10
-
4
Decline Crunch (Weighted)
1
12-20
-
Day 2
#
Exercise
Sets
Reps
Intensity
1A
Leg Extension
1
12-20
-
1B
Squat (Barbell)
1
6-10
-
2
Leg Curl
1
6-10
-
3
Standing Calf Raise
1
6-10
-
4
Decline Crunch (Weighted)
1
12-20
-
Day 2
#
Exercise
Sets
Reps
Intensity
1A
Leg Extension
1
12-20
-
1B
Squat (Barbell)
1
6-10
-
2
Leg Curl
1
6-10
-
3
Standing Calf Raise
1
6-10
-
4
Decline Crunch (Weighted)
1
12-20
-
Day 2
#
Exercise
Sets
Reps
Intensity
1A
Leg Extension
1
12-20
-
1B
Squat (Barbell)
1
6-10
-
2
Leg Curl
1
6-10
-
3
Standing Calf Raise
1
6-10
-
4
Decline Crunch (Weighted)
1
12-20
-
Day 2
#
Exercise
Sets
Reps
Intensity
1A
Leg Extension
1
12-20
-
1B
Squat (Barbell)
1
6-10
-
2
Leg Curl
1
6-10
-
3
Standing Calf Raise
1
6-10
-
4
Decline Crunch (Weighted)
1
12-20
-
Day 2
#
Exercise
Sets
Reps
Intensity
1A
Leg Extension
1
12-20
-
1B
Squat (Barbell)
1
6-10
-
2
Leg Curl
1
6-10
-
3
Standing Calf Raise
1
6-10
-
4
Decline Crunch (Weighted)
1
12-20
-
Day 2
#
Exercise
Sets
Reps
Intensity
1A
Leg Extension
1
12-20
-
1B
Squat (Barbell)
1
6-10
-
2
Leg Curl
1
6-10
-
3
Standing Calf Raise
1
6-10
-
4
Decline Crunch (Weighted)
1
12-20
-
Day 2
#
Exercise
Sets
Reps
Intensity
1A
Leg Extension
1
12-20
-
1B
Squat (Barbell)
1
6-10
-
2
Leg Curl
1
6-10
-
3
Standing Calf Raise
1
6-10
-
4
Decline Crunch (Weighted)
1
12-20
-
Day 3
#
Exercise
Sets
Reps
Intensity
1
Lateral Raise (Dumbbell)
1
6-10
-
2
Reverse Pec Deck
1
6-10
-
3
Bicep Curl (Barbell)
1
6-10
-
4A
Tricep Pushdown (Cable)
1
6-10
-
4B
Dip (Weighted)
1
6-10
-
Day 3
#
Exercise
Sets
Reps
Intensity
1
Lateral Raise (Dumbbell)
1
6-10
-
2
Reverse Pec Deck
1
6-10
-
3
Bicep Curl (Barbell)
1
6-10
-
4A
Tricep Pushdown (Cable)
1
6-10
-
4B
Dip (Weighted)
1
6-10
-
Day 3
#
Exercise
Sets
Reps
Intensity
1
Lateral Raise (Dumbbell)
1
6-10
-
2
Reverse Pec Deck
1
6-10
-
3
Bicep Curl (Barbell)
1
6-10
-
4A
Tricep Pushdown (Cable)
1
6-10
-
4B
Dip (Weighted)
1
6-10
-
Day 3
#
Exercise
Sets
Reps
Intensity
1
Lateral Raise (Dumbbell)
1
6-10
-
2
Reverse Pec Deck
1
6-10
-
3
Bicep Curl (Barbell)
1
6-10
-
4A
Tricep Pushdown (Cable)
1
6-10
-
4B
Dip (Weighted)
1
6-10
-
Day 3
#
Exercise
Sets
Reps
Intensity
1
Lateral Raise (Dumbbell)
1
6-10
-
2
Reverse Pec Deck
1
6-10
-
3
Bicep Curl (Barbell)
1
6-10
-
4A
Tricep Pushdown (Cable)
1
6-10
-
4B
Dip (Weighted)
1
6-10
-
Day 3
#
Exercise
Sets
Reps
Intensity
1
Lateral Raise (Dumbbell)
1
6-10
-
2
Reverse Pec Deck
1
6-10
-
3
Bicep Curl (Barbell)
1
6-10
-
4A
Tricep Pushdown (Cable)
1
6-10
-
4B
Dip (Weighted)
1
6-10
-
Day 3
#
Exercise
Sets
Reps
Intensity
1
Lateral Raise (Dumbbell)
1
6-10
-
2
Reverse Pec Deck
1
6-10
-
3
Bicep Curl (Barbell)
1
6-10
-
4A
Tricep Pushdown (Cable)
1
6-10
-
4B
Dip (Weighted)
1
6-10
-
Day 3
#
Exercise
Sets
Reps
Intensity
1
Lateral Raise (Dumbbell)
1
6-10
-
2
Reverse Pec Deck
1
6-10
-
3
Bicep Curl (Barbell)
1
6-10
-
4A
Tricep Pushdown (Cable)
1
6-10
-
4B
Dip (Weighted)
1
6-10
-
Day 3
#
Exercise
Sets
Reps
Intensity
1
Lateral Raise (Dumbbell)
1
6-10
-
2
Reverse Pec Deck
1
6-10
-
3
Bicep Curl (Barbell)
1
6-10
-
4A
Tricep Pushdown (Cable)
1
6-10
-
4B
Dip (Weighted)
1
6-10
-
Day 3
#
Exercise
Sets
Reps
Intensity
1
Lateral Raise (Dumbbell)
1
6-10
-
2
Reverse Pec Deck
1
6-10
-
3
Bicep Curl (Barbell)
1
6-10
-
4A
Tricep Pushdown (Cable)
1
6-10
-
4B
Dip (Weighted)
1
6-10
-
Day 3
#
Exercise
Sets
Reps
Intensity
1
Lateral Raise (Dumbbell)
1
6-10
-
2
Reverse Pec Deck
1
6-10
-
3
Bicep Curl (Barbell)
1
6-10
-
4A
Tricep Pushdown (Cable)
1
6-10
-
4B
Dip (Weighted)
1
6-10
-
Day 3
#
Exercise
Sets
Reps
Intensity
1
Lateral Raise (Dumbbell)
1
6-10
-
2
Reverse Pec Deck
1
6-10
-
3
Bicep Curl (Barbell)
1
6-10
-
4A
Tricep Pushdown (Cable)
1
6-10
-
4B
Dip (Weighted)
1
6-10
-
What People Are Saying(2 ratings)
Only ratings with written feedback are displayed here.
2.50/ 5
D T.Man
3 days ago
0 weeks complete
3 years of prior experience
As expected strength gains
As expected muscle gains
None modifications
Ignore the review by the self-proclaimed fat guy who “wouldn’t break a sweat” doing this program. Weight is lost in the kitchen, btw. With even a modicum of understanding about Mentzer’s philosophies on training, this program can be very effective. Apparently it needs to be said, but program is only prescribing the top set for that exercise. Warm up sets are required, and the single set is an all-out, max intensity, until failure set.
CoreyAge 39, Man
4 days ago
0 weeks complete
8 years of prior experience
Significant modifications
I can't even begin to break a sweat doing this as written and I'm over weight so I can sweat easily..then 3 times a week..the only way I see this could work if you are working out on a deficit and already in top notch shape ...I'm a big man and I already have to work out intense but I have to work out at least 5 days a week with 45 minutes to 70 minutes with short breaks ..if I was to do this I would. Get fatter and just keep muscle I already have