Mike Mentzer was born on November 15, 1951 in Ephrata, Pennsylvania and grew up there. In grammar school and Ephrata High School, he received "all A's", He credits his 12th grade teacher, Elizabeth Schaub, for his love "of language, thought, and writing. In 1975, he started attending the University of Maryland as a pre-med student where his hours away from the gym were spent in the study of "genetics, physical chemistry, and organic chemistry."
Mentzer started bodybuilding when he was 12 years of age at a body weight of 95 lb (43 kg) after seeing the men on the covers of several muscle magazines. His father had bought him set of weights and an instruction booklet. The booklet suggested that he train no more than three days a week, so Mike did just that. By age 15, his body weight had reached 165 lb (75 kg), at which Mike could bench press 370 lb (170 kg). Mike's goal at the time was to look like his bodybuilding hero, Bill Pearl. After graduating high school, Mentzer served four years in the United States Air Force. It was during this time he started working out over three hours a day, six days a week.
In late 1979, Mentzer won the heavyweight class of the Mr. Olympia, again with a perfect 300 score, but he lost in the overall to Frank Zane who was awarded the title for a third time that year. In the 1980 Mr. Olympia he placed fourth (in a tie with Boyer Coe) behind Arnold Schwarzenegger, Chris Dickerson and Frank Zane.
Mike Mentzer's training routine
|Leg extension super setted with Leg Press||One set to failure with a weight that allows you approx, six reps, and then force yourself to do more. Immediately with no rest proceed to the leg press which should already be set sup.|
|Leg Press||1 set immediately following the leg extensions. Any rest time will drastically reduce the results.|
|Squats||After a sufficient warmup do 1 set of squats with a weight that allows you six reps, then out of sheer effort perform two more. The rep protocol should be the same on all exercises|
|Leg curls||2 sets until failure|
|Toe raises||On standard toe raise machine or on leg press; 3 sets with a heavy weight going as high as you can on your toes each rep. 8 reps with a heavy weight then force out two more.|
|Dumbbell flyes or double cable crossover super setted with||1 set with a heavy weight followed immediately by incline press|
|Incline press||Incline press with barbell or dumbbell or else dips with the elbows pointed out: By pre-exhausting the pecs with the first exercise, which is an isolation movement you "preserve" the strength of the triceps for the second exercise where they are directly involved.|
|Heavy incline flyes||one set to failure|
|Triceps||Choose two different exercises and do them both for two sets. Employ forced reps when possible. Remember to use strict form when doing all of your exercises. Also make soure to increase the weight in a particular exercise whenever possible. You must continually force a muscle to perform beyond it's existing capacities; this is what makes a muscle grow.|
Tues. and Fri. (back, traps, delts, biceps)
|Stiff Arm Pullover On Lat Machine or Pullover Across Bench with Dumbbells or Nautilus Pullover supper setted with:||1 set of either of these above exercises for approx. six reps then force out two more and use forced and negative reps after the initial six reps.|
|Close grip palms-up chins or bent over rows or close grip palms up pulldown on the lat machine||This second exercise should be set up and ready so that there is zero rest time following the first one above. Do two cycles.|
|One arm dumbbell rows||with as much weight that allows good form perform two sets with each arm emphasizing a high row with the dumbbell hitting the pec or higher.|
Note: Supersets with two exercises ( Squat and Leg press) constitute a cycle.
|Shrugs super setted with:||Shrugs with dumbbells, barbell or on a universal; keep the chest out and the shoulders back, shrugs the shoulders as high as possible until the shoulders almost touch your ears.|
|Upright rows||upright rows with a shoulder width hand spacing pull the bar at least nipple high and lower under control. 2 cycles of the two exercise incorporating forced and negative reps.|
|dumbbell laterals super setted with||1 set of dumbbell laterals to failure with weight that allows six good reps|
|Press behind neck||with forced and negative reps. 2 cycles|
|Bent over laterals||two sets to failure|
|Biceps||Same as the triceps: two exercises for two sets a piece using forced and negative|
Mike Mentzer's workout and diet philosophy
Fight the tendency to add more sets to the suggested workout. Don't think that you can make up for performing the sets haphazardly by doing more. More is never the answer to stimulating growth, harder is the answer and the harder you train the less will you be capable of doing.
You can either train hard or you can train long, but you can never do both, it is just physically impossible. If the workouts are taking more than an hour you are either doing too much or resting too long.
Follow a well balanced diet. Don't get much more than 1 gram of protein for every two pounds of bodyweight. If you weigh two hundred pounds then 120 grams of protein is enough. Too much extra will turn to fat.