T Nation

Heavy Duty


Hi everyone,

I am new to this forum and I thought I would get in on posting some knowledge.

age: 31
weight: 180

I have been training for 13 years on and off and I recently started the Heavy Duty program, with a 30/30/30 caloric split @ 3000 calorie per day.

Before going HD I was 1 on 2 days off....

4 weeks now and I am up from 170 to 180 I am very happy training to "complete" failure once or twice a week and making gains naturally no pro hormone no test just food and dedication.

"Mike Mentzer knows his shit"


Everything works, but nothing works forever.

If memory serves, Mikey hated that phrase and had a lengthy philosophical diatribe rebutting it.

Makes one think...


Yeah I did some heavy duty type training a couple of months ago and blasted through a plateau. Now I'm lifting heavier weights than ever before and making strength gains every week.

When my gains start to peter out I'm going to do another 4wks or so of heavy duty training again and see if it works again. I want to do 100kg cleans and bench presses.


So, do you think no one else ever tried Mike's shit before you? HIT has been around since 1970.

Actually, you've just unloaded and went through an intensification phase, after a period of higher volume (accumulation). Poliquin wrote about this years ago:


and there's plenty more to read about the whole concept here.

Glad you're having progress, keep it up as long as you can, but when you eventually stall, don't get caught up in Mike's philosophical ramblings. He really had no clue about physiology or proper training.

Have you checked the routines on this site?


What is "proper training"? Id guess that its training , that brings results. Many have gotten results using Mentzers theories ( or objective truths , as he would have put it).

I think he has benefit the body building world. Remember , he was one of the first too realise that bb train too long and too often.

Why did he have no clue about physiology? It he truely had no clue , then his theories wouldnt have worked for anyone.


Actually from what I have read so far a lot of people here know about Heavy Duty, Charles Poliquin, High Intensity, Flipping large tires, and jumping around with sand bags

But I really do think a lot of people here have not really taken the time to explore any of the Mentzer principles of Heavy Duty. These principles also include brutal workouts with plenty of rest between each session ??not 1- 3 days 5 or 7 rest days and gains certainly follow.

I myself have just recently took the time to explore those teachings and although very easy and straight forward and uncomplicated ?..they really work and they do not stop after 3 weeks.

I have yet to explore Charles Poliquin's theories he is next on my list ?.any books you would recommend?


The problem with Mike is that he rests too long between sets and then rests too long between workouts(because of failure). In that same week just about any person can train heavily at least three times without failure, easily exceeding weekly volume, tonnage and results of HIT training. The old "Hit it hard once a week and then stay on the couch in a coma" approach is not the best or even one of the better ways to build mass or strength.

If you've never done something then it'll work for at least a couple of weeks - anything will work when it's new. But try to do Heavy Duty for a few months and soon enough you'll end up with heavy doodie.

I've tried it. Maybe you think that when it still hurts three days after the workout means it's working it's magic. Nope, pain has little to do with progress.


As far as I know, Mike Mentzer didn't have any formal education regarding physiology or a life science. I would love to be corrected, as I've often been curious as to exactly what his credentials were.

What I was trying to suggest earlier was that sure, HD works for a while, as does everything, then it's time to move on. Cycling between it and another program is probably the best way of implementing it. One of the reasons people who use it likely see gains is because it does seem to force them to use a greater load, or more repetitions then they are accustomed, implying they weren't working hard enough in the first place.

Be aware I foresee a decrease in limit strength for those practicing strictly Heavy Duty type training.

Personally, I think there are better programs out there then HD, but by all means feel free to use it as you see fit. Just be sure to keep an open (and objective) mind.

Good luck and above all, do what gets results for you.


"Training to a point of momentary failure, at which the completion of another full rep is impossible despite your greatest effort, is the only way to force the body to resort to its reserves sufficiently to stimulate real growth. None of us needs to be reminded that growth never comes easy"......
......."more brutal moment to moment-will raise the intensity and the effectiveness"

Update on my stats now at 181 Love this Heavy Duty life style....workout once or twice a week and free up some precious time ........



You're so right. He calls it "Heavy Doodie"

Welcome aboard.


Outstanding! At the rate of one pound a day you'll be 545 lbs in year!!


Well if you like alot of pain and a little progress...


i have a degree in Phys ed. I took all the the ex science type courses. Alot of what they said was of great benefit ,and alot of what they said was bull !
My point is ,just because one has or doesnt have a degree really doesnt mean alot. Yes , it can help.
Getting off topic a bit , ex science seems to be trendy. I remember when the academics use to say" stay away from the olympic lifts and deadlifts. Dont deep on squats.
Now they are saying the opposite


I'm in an exercise science course of study and I'll be the first to tell you it has certain failings in scientific rigor and can be very dogmatic. That being said, I believe there is value to a systematic course of instruction for whatever field you are in. I respect that one can acquire quite an impressive education without formal studies, but I don't believe Mentzer had it as far as the relevant sciences go. I think Mentzer used alot of psuedointellectual posturing and overly elaborate philosophical arguments to explain what is a simple thing (lifting, eating and growing) without having to delve into the underlying mechanisms in a scientific or rational way.

Now, I don't want to be too harsh on the old dead feller, as I think everyone should try first then examine, and if HD gives them results, keep at it 'till it doesn't. I just hate to see people treat HD or HIT or 10x3 or any training methodology like a silver bullet when one doesn't exist. Don't deify the gurus, this includes Mentzer, Arnold, even our esteemed contribs, respect their input, but explore for yourself.

I just wanted to try to temper some of the dogmatic awe I saw developing here, that seems so common among the HIT/HD Jedi.


Ha, been a while since I've read anything related to this HIT dribble. Good stuff. Hopefully, some more HIT Jedis (Darden anyone) pipe in so I can laugh.


I think Heavy Duty gets a bit of a bad rap. In my opinion this is at least in part because of Mentzer's strident assertions that it was 'the one valid theory of bodybuilding exercise'. This understandably put a few noses out of joint.

Having said that, I personally have found HD style training to be very useful. I'll be the first to admit that I don't use it exclusively, as like with pretty much any system the gains start to slow down over time. But it's a style of training that I go back to on a regular basis and has yielded some very good gains. As one of the other posters above mentioned, I have also found it to be a very good 'plateau buster' type of routine.

So while I don't agree with the hardcore HIT guys that it's neccessarily the 'best' system of training, I do think it's an excellent system and quite underrated (especially by those who've never tried it). I think that most (not all) trainees can get some excellent gains on this style of training.


I have tried HD but realized it does nothing for functional strength.


It's great to see such a debate. It's also great to see so many with open minds! Of course Heavy Duty "works". Ass-kicking workouts almost "have to" work at least for a stretch and then one (hopefully) would change up to another type of routine. I see there was one or two laughing at the HD and HIT based programs. What a shame. Anyone who wouldn't at least accept the notion of HD producing some quantifiable results is close-minded at best. And this is coming from someone who has implemented the theories of Charles Poliquin, Ian King, Mike Mentzer/Arthur Jones, Mike Robertson, Bill Starr, Brooks Kubik, JB, John Davies, Dave Tate/Louie Simmons, Bradley J. Steiner, Stuart McRobert and tried Strongman, Powerlifting and Olympic lifting at one time or another.


The problem with HIT and functional strength is that Mentzer believed in using isolation exercises. If one were to use HIT with only multi joint exersices supplemented with more mid section type exersices , it should improve one funtional strength.

If I remember correctly , he didnt do alot of mid section type movements .But I could be wrong.


I'm not sure what you mean by "functional strength" but I tried HD a few times (3) and I noticed that my strength kept going up while my size only did for a couple of weeks.

I believe it was a super compensation effect similar to the intensification phase after an accumulation phase.

In the end I believe the nervous system got a training effect by going to failure, hence the strength increases, but the volume was to low to promote hypertrophy. Again, the hypertrophy that I gained was probably due to super compensation after accumulation.