Mike Mentzer in his later works went so far as to recommend workouts with one working set per exercise and breakes of one week and more between workouts. His concern was that many athletes he saw on volume plans seemed to be constantly overtrained and therefore not progressing ideally.

Intensity instead of volume might not be the common wisdom presented by most bodybuilding experts. Intermediate bodybuilders who want to find out how brief, intense and infrequent training could work for them will still find this program an interesting starting point.

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Template For High Intensity Bodybuilding

This program with three Workouts follows Mike Mentzer’s template for high-intensity bodybuilding from 1993.

Day 1: Chest – Shoulder – Triceps
Day 2: Back – Biceps
Day 3: Legs – Abs

You will learn a lot more on this method reading Mike Mentzer’s book Heavy Duty (1993) or High-Intensity Training the Mike Mentzer Way, with John Little (New York: McGraw Hill; 2002).

Principles

– Work with a professional trainer to prepare you for high intensity on each of the exercises
– Always maintain proper form
– Slow controlled reps – 4 sec up – 2 sec hold – 4 sec down
– Increase weight for upper body to go to failure in the six- to ten rep range
– Increase weight for legs to go to failure in the twelve- to twenty rep range
– Only one set to failure, per exercise
– Have someone there to push you

Tips

If you are new to this program, we don’t recommend to push sets past failure with forced reps, negatives or rest-pause yet. Talk to a professional coach before you start this and train with at least one partner to assist each other in going this far.

– Increase the weight for upper body exercises to go to failure in the six- to ten rep range
– Increase the weight for leg exercises to go to failure in the twelve- to twenty rep range
– Slow controlled reps – 4 sec up – 2 sec hold – 4 sec down
– Always maintain proper form
– Rest shortly, about 1 minute between exercises
– Don’t rest between exercises in supersets

DAY 1: Chest – Shoulder – Triceps

One set to failure for each exercise:
Dumbbell Incline Fly
Barbell Incline Bench Press (as Superset)
Dumbbell Standing Side Lateral Raise
Dumbbell Lying Rear Lateral Raise
Cable Triceps Push-Down
Parallel Bar Dip (Superset)
Rest shortly, about 1 minute between exercises.
Don’t rest between exercises in supersets.

DAY 2: Back and Biceps

One set to failure for each exercise:
Dumbbell Bent Arm Pullover
Parallel Close Grip Front Pull-Down (Superset)
Barbell Reverse-Grip Bent Over Row
Smith Machine Shrug
Barbell Deadlift
Barbell Standing Biceps Curl
Rest shortly, about 1 minute between exercises.
Don’t rest between exercises in supersets.

DAY 3: Legs and Abs

One set to failure for each exercise:
Leg Press
Sitting Leg Extension
Lying Leg Curl
Smith Machine Standing Calf Raise
Sit-Up
Rest shortly, about 1 minute between exercises.
Don’t rest between exercises in supersets.