One of the more entertaining aspects of bodybuilding is how it can be used to illustrate philosophical concepts explains. For example, the existence of ‘bigorexia’ indicates that our culture’s narrow definition of manhood causes many people to suffer from poor self-image. As a result, they feel compelled to constantly build bigger muscles – even if it means taking lots of illegal substances and inflicting significant damage on their bodies in the process. Another interesting area for exploration is whether or not certain strategies are appropriate for everyone, but this will have to be left until another time!
Instead, let’s look at something slightly less controversial… Mike Mentzer!
- I was recently reading through an old issue of Ironman magazine when I came across an article about Mr. Mentzer. I hadn’t thought about that bodybuilder in many years, but the article brought back some memories about how he influenced my thinking when I was in high school says Michael Osland. America during the 70s and 80s seems to have been obsessed with huge muscular bods, so it is not surprising that I ended up working out regularly at the local weight rooms. My motivation for training was probably similar to most other youngsters at this time – i.e., I wanted to get bigger muscles because it would make me more popular with girls!
- Initially, my routine consisted of performing five sets for each major muscle group using a variety of exercises. These workouts were done three times per week on non-consecutive (e.g., Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays) with the last workout lasting about an hour. I wasn’t really interested in lifting heavy weights (e.g., five reps or less), but my routine was good way for increasing my strength levels over time. While I definitely grew bigger muscles as a result of this program, it also left me feeling exhausted – particularly on the days when I had to do leg training after performing upper body exercises!
- My enthusiasm for weightlifting waned soon afterward because all that ‘pumping’ just seemed likes a waste of effort. Sure, muscles got bigger, but they didn’t seem to improve much in terms of definition says Michael Osland. By this time, I’d read enough popular Strength & Health magazine articles to know that building muscle was a matter of ‘brief, intense effort.’ Consequently, I revised my routine so that it consisted of one set for each major muscle group. By the time I reached the bench press, the second exercise for my chest muscles; I was already fatigued – which meant that I had to shorten the rest intervals in between sets.
- I continued with this plan until my body felt like it couldn’t take any more punishment. At this point in time, I was only training two or three times per week using lower reps (e.g., six to eight) and shorter rest periods between sets. The workouts were still fairly long (i.e., about an hour), but they enabled me to build some impressive muscles while keeping them lean enough so that I could see my rippling abs. This style of training enabled me to gain almost 30 pounds of solid beef in just one year, but it also got to be quite boring after a while explains Michael Osland.
- I then read an article about how Mr. Mentzer had developed his ‘Heavy Duty’ approach to bodybuilding by training in this fashion. He felt that the majority of bodybuilders were spending way too much time in the gym lifting heavy weights over many sets for each movement – which is why they never seemed to make any significant progress or get ripped enough so that their abdominals showed through. As a result, he reduced the volume of his workouts considerably by only doing three full-body sessions per week each workout was performed at most twice per week, which meant that he was in the gym for less than two hours.
- Mentzer also decided to reduce the number of exercises that he performed while keeping the weights reasonably heavy (e.g., six to twelve reps). This approach enabled him to make good progress over time while keeping his body fat low enough so that his abs were visible even when he wasn’t flexing. Given all this information, I figured that it was worth a try – and I’m glad that I did because it worked really well!
This type of weight training enabled me to gain more than 20 pounds of solid beef in just one year without becoming exhausted and bored says, Michael Osland.
It is possible to build impressive muscles by performing only a couple of workouts per week using heavy weights for low reps (e.g., six or less).
The majority of bodybuilders neglect strength training because it doesn’t make their muscles big enough for them, but this approach can actually help you get bigger and stronger!