I have been doing Mentzer’s program for about a year now. Don’t beat me over the head please! I have made some gains but can’t lift more than two days a week because of a sore neck or a sore shoulder joint. I have taken a couple of months off to see if those two things go away. They would until I proceeded lifting again. I made sure I eased back into my usual extreme intensity. I am a classic “hardgainer” and thought HIT would be for me. I have a long wingspan and long legs. I like idea of additional rest but I believe this cycle is “damagingly redundant” to my joints as they can’t handle the roller coaster of this program. When I worked out more frequently, I never had these joint pains and I could do more sets. I am not looking to returning to my old 18-20 set workouts but I think I need a few more. Another thing that the Mentzer’s program can’t explain is: say I work legs on Monday to the hilt. Under Mentzer’s program I would wait 4 days or longer before I work another body part. It has taken the same amount of time for my legs to recover whether I work chest or back the next day or wait 4 days or longer. Same amount of time!!! I was convinced about Mentzer, now I am not sure. I am ready to quit aching. I am only 28!!! No arthritis found or anything. Sorry this is so wordy but I never realized T-mag had a forum!!
I would be more concerned about your aching joints than you seem to be. First I would ignore what kind of workout plan you are doing (ie. HIT vs. more sets) and figure out why your joints hurt. They shouldn’t hurt, neck problems are usually not great. Some questions: are you stretching and warming up before doing your workouts, including extensive warmups of the shoulders, traps, and neck before you do excersizes involving those ? do you sleep ontop of more than 1 pillow ? (i’ve seen people with neck problems resolve them by sleeping on only one pillow) How long after you workout do your joints hurt ? Do they hurt doing the workout ? If they do hurt during the workout do you stop the excercise you are doing OR do you work through the pain ? (you shouldn’t do the latter). If the pain in these joints doesn’t go away you should see a qualified pratictioner to resolve these issues.
I used Mentzer’s HIT for quite some time, and this philosophy actually brought me out of 4 years of unsuccesful training. I learned the principles and importance of intensity, perfect form and recovery, and I really thank Mr. Mentzer for that. I never had any joint problems like you did though.
For the first time in 3 years, I tried something else. 12 weeks to super strength by Ian King and it yielded EXCELLENT results. I didn't ditch the Mentzer's philosophy because I used the minimum volume suggested, and even less. I used Androsol too so I can't tell if King kills Mentzer, even though that's what people here will say. So from now on, I will only use HIT very sporadically, stick with Ian King's protocols without forgetting Mike Mentzer's philosophy. Some people may think that MM is a nut, but his contribution to bodybuilding can't be diminished. Throw me rotten tomatoes, but I love the guy.