This is an article from another website critiquing Mentzers Heavy Duty Training. Good points and bad:
Back in the day Mike Mentzer caused a lot of controversy in the sport of bodybuilding. He was one of the few to call out Arnold and Joe Weider. He was not afraid to say his rather negative and yet very true opinion regarding the whole bodybuilding industry.
Unfortunately, not all that came from Mike Mentzer was truth and honesty. His so-called Heavy Duty workout assembled under the principles of High-Intensity Training does not work unless you’re pinning them glutes a.k.a. taking steroids.
What is Heavy Duty training?
In the beginning the Heavy Duty routine underwent many stages and one of the most popular versions looks like this:
– five working sets per workout;
– only one working set to complete muscular failure per exercise;
– 4 to 10 days of rest between workouts to ensure perfect recovery;
– stick to compound exercises but also use machines for some movements;
– use special techniques such as complete muscular failure, pre-exhaustion, forced negatives, assisted reps, isometric holds…etc.
Each workout should be relatively short, but the intensity must be taken to the ultimate limit. The working set should leave the lifter with water running out of his eyes and vivid hallucinations of his mother.
Mentzer believed that high intensity and adequate recovery were the keys to grow, or at least that’s what he presented as main growth factors in his books.
The exercises of choice were usually solid compound movements such as the bench press, dips, squats, deadlifts. However, the regimen also calls for a lot of machines since that’s the only way to safely introduce training ideas such as forced negatives and assisted reps. It’s much safer to do negatives on a bench press machine than with an actual barbell. The latter can literally cut your head off.
Many of the principles presented in Mentzer’s books were a breath of fresh air compared to the reigning super high volume routines at the time. Arnold and his friends were training six days a week, two times a day. Mentzer’s principles had a superb goal – to finally place quality over quantity. However, it seems that he took everything to the other extreme rather than balancing things out.
Will high intensity Heavy Duty routines work for naturals?
Short answer: No.
While High-Intensity Heavy Duty Workouts have some good sides they also carry a lot of baggage that would hold naturals down.
Too hard on the CNS. While there is no doubt that Heavy Duty training leaves your muscles in agony, the most damage is actually taken by the Central Nervous System. If you are not used to Heavy Duty training, you may find it extremely refreshing. However, once you’ve done a couple of workouts you will feel mentally drained.
When you begin every set knowing that you will have to go until complete failure, you start hating training. At this point it’s also not uncommon to question your existence as a whole. Your mind is tired and sooner or later everything breaks down.
It may surprise you, but stopping your set just 1 or 2 reps before complete failure could prevent this problem.
Infrequent training causes de-adaptation. The body adapts to training by building more muscle and getting stronger. In order for adaptation to take place there must be stress. When the stress is too infrequent de-adaptation could occur. You can try the following experiment to understand this point precisely.
Start training each muscle part 7 to 10 days apart. You will notice that after each workout you’re sore as hell. Now, start training the same body part 2 times a week. The soreness after your workouts will be significantly less or there won’t be any at all. Why?
When your training is infrequent you’re giving your body a chance to de-adapt to the stress fro