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mike mentzer training method

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Posted by John

I found your post on Mike Mentzer most interesting. From June 1976 - June 1978, I was stationed at Headquarters Marine Corps, which at that time was located in the Navy Annex next to Arlington Cemetary in Virginia, and worked out at a place in Maryland called the Sparten Health Club. In March or April of 1978, shortly before his win at Mr. Universe with a perfect score, Mike and his brother Ray came to the club to work out. They asked if anyone would help assist them in their workout, and since I had just finished my workout, I volunteered. For about 45 minutes to an hour, I helped them with forced reps and negative reps. I have never seen any two human beings work out that hard, and I thought that both of them, especially Mike, were going to have a stroke. The intensity they exhibited was so far over-the-top that it had to be seen to be truly appreciated. I learned then and there what Mike meant by "Hi-Intensity" workouts. The routine is so difficult that very few people can get through it, and it requires at least one and preferably two spotters. After the workout, I had the chance to talk to Mike as he was calming down. When I asked him for advice (I was then about 5'9" and 150 pounds), he just told me to keep trying and don't give up. When I asked him for the real secret to bodybuilding success, he replied without hesitation, "Inherit good genetics" (he had inherited amazing calves, yet did only a couple sets for them). He said that great bodybuilders were born, not made, but that everyone could achieve a decent build if they put their mind to it. He also said that the need for high amounts of protein was greatly overstated.

Mike should have won Mr. Olympia, and the decision to award the crown to Arnold was even criticized by Joe Weider, who as you know had created the Mr. Olympia event.

I found both Mike and Ray to be very approachable and likable, and I felt sad when I heard of their passing. Nonetheless, after having lifted weights since age 14, and having tried most every system ever espoused (I read Mike's book on Hi-Intensity training), I believe that the Hi-Intensity routine is best utilized by individuals with extraordinary determination.

Editor's note: To learn more about the Mike Mentzer training method get the Mike Mentzer DVD

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