Mike Mentzer Gone for 20 Years

Can’t believe 20 years have passed since Mike Mentzer‘s passing on June 10th,2001.

I remember vividly when my friend and I bought the German version of Heavy Duty in 1981. We were 15 years old and had just started working out.

I used HIT/ HD for my powerlifting training esp. for my squat and deadlifts with good results.

What are your memories?

From Germany,

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I loved having someone preach the low volume, intense workout, more recovery approach. I tried some of his 90s consolidation workouts though…then went right back to my Darden style workouts.

I love these physique pictures though.


People love to dwell on his flaws — I am certainly guilty of that myself! BUT, he was the one who started moving me in the right direction on training. He had a voice, that took many too long a time to finally listen to, about how the marathon magazine routines would NEVER work for the normal trainee. I enjoyed his writing style, lifted or not!
AND, without him, who knows how long before I found Arthur Jones and Ellington Darden!!!
In Memorium, Scott

THAT photo right there exemplifies the best of bodybuilding esthetics — the best of the High/Heavy end for sure — but still the best. He may have “used”, but it was a pittance compared to what the chemists of today use!!

I remember buying his cassette tape and reading HDII for the first time in 2000, made me start thinking about recovery…I never paid attention to recovery before that…just kept doing the 6 days a week Arnold style training, even tried his twice a day training (talk about being obsessed with the gym back then, :laughing:)…

Menzter took me on a journey away from weider and found my way to Jones and Darden

IMHO, the uncrowned 1980 Mr Olympia champion


A thinking man’s bodybuilder and a true inspiration! I have really enjoyed his thoughts/books (philosophy) on training - and do think he should have scored higher in the 1980 Olympia (or as he stated himself - Arnold did not deserve to win). A great loss for the lateral thinkers of bodybuilding. In memoriam.

Dr Darden: Do you have any special memory of Mike Mentzer to share?

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I talked with Mike many times and I always enjoyed sharing ideas with him. I never trained Mike, but I did train his brother several times. Ray was very strong, perhaps a little stronger than Casey Viator.


I saw the article where he mentioned his dosage. You’d be surprised how many past pros lied about their dosages.

From Nelson Montana, the author of “The Bodybuilding Truth”:

“I have fairly recently trained down in Florida with top pro of the 70’s and early 80’s CASEY VIATOR.

I asked him directly about steroid use in the 70’s and this is what he had to say… and I quote…

‘Don’t let anyone fool you about our low doses. We were just as reckless with steroid use as they are today.’

I asked him when the big doses started…

‘The big doses started around 1974 and yes we were all right on top of it". Yes we ALL used GH back then and it was from real cadavers. The GH we all used was called CRESCORMIN and nobody was going to morgues to get it.’

I wanted an example and I told him about what I heard my mentor, and his friend and former training partner, Mike Mentzer used…only 400 of deca/week and 30 of d-bol/day.

CASEY LAUGHED and then said this…

‘Mentzer used up to 2.5 grams of deca a week, God knows how much primobolin acetate, along with d-bol and growth, so as I said don’t be fooled about our low doses as we were just as reckless as theses guys are today.’”

Mike died at 49. That’s absurdly young - we may not know exactly what he took but I’d lean far more towards what Casey was laughing about in this interview. 400mg of deca ain’t killing someone in their 40s. They were all juiced up back then too.

I did my first phone consultation with Mike Mentzer in Jan 1993. I was 20 years-old, but still remember it so clearly. I became a huge Heavy Duty advocate during much of the 90s utilizing it and various HD routines during that time. Mind you, with no internet and not knowing anyone else at the gym training this way, it felt almost as if I discovered something mysterious and the “hidden truth”. Yes, I felt Weider and the establishment were hiding the truth to keep selling you magazines each month and supplements. His routines from HD I and II (and a couple of others he gave me that were not in print) were definitely were something that I found tolerable from a recovery standpoint given the high intensity effort and failure training. If anything, I think his influence on getting me starting to think about recovery was instrumental going forward. My training evolved further over time especially as he went further down that consolidation path. I started doing more volume and frequency, yet with lesser intensity. But there was no doubt, his voice and language could be very compelling.

I had many conversations with him during the 90s and we talked a bit about his competitive days and steroid use. He told me he and Ray were taking “well above the recommended dosages” but so was every other single top bodybuilder from his era. He also said he had no idea what the guys of the modern era (of the 90s) were even on as it seemed staggering to him.

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Sounds like only 3 chemicals. So ONLY they contributed to his death? Not the cigs he smoked heavily for decades? (and there as meth too). I say he did pretty good to make it to 49 after all that $#!+. (AND heart disease ran in his family)
What about these guys (and gals): Art Atwood-Heart failure-38
Andreas Muenzer-Heart failure-31 (Mr Diuretics)
Mohammed Benaziza-Overdose-33 (overdose of what? Diuretics? Droppped dead back stage)
Ron Teufel-Liver failure-??
Robert Benavente-Massive Heart attack-30
Charles Durr-Enlarged Heart-44
Fannie Barrios-Stroke-41
Eduardo Kawak-Heart Attack-47
Luke Wood-Kidney failure-35

If the 3-drug, cigarette, and meth guy made it to 49, what in God’s name were these MFers doing?!?!
Sorry to hit and run, but I will not answer any more in what was intended as a memorial thread. Sorry I did this much…


I would like to know: which (if any) of Mentzer’s routine’s worked best for you?

The Ideal Routine (early part of HDII) did wonders for my arms. I had done Push-Pull and similar splits for years, with biceps and triceps worked AFTER the larger muscles. Starting every third workout with Arms really helped a lot… Unfortunately, dropping exercises and inserting rest days diminished those gains, but it came around again after I realized what a dead end that pathway was and stopped!!

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I would like to try his routine from his peak sometime. He’s has one of my favorite Bodybuilder physiques ever. He got me into really thinking about how to structure a program and thinking about how you have to weigh Intensity, volume, and frequency. Definitely a great speaker and writer, I love reading his books and listening to his speeches. Would’ve loved to have talked to him and trained with him. He was gone too soon. RIP to a legend.


Why would the number of drugs matter in terms of toxicity? Swallowing a bottle of Tylenol will kill you. Taking several grams of “only 3 drugs” will, too. It’s not about the number of drugs you take - it’s the dosage, which was what your comment was about - golden era guys taking a fraction of what the new guys take. If someone takes a couple hundred mg’s of five different drugs, the guy blasting grams of two is gonna die.

Anyway, I think you’ve misunderstood my comment - I didn’t mean it as an insult, because I don’t care if people take steroids, and steroid use is literally everywhere, in every sport, and has been for longer than I’ve been alive. My comment wasn’t to smear anyone. The guy lived his way, was an influential figure to many, and its a shame he’s not around to share his knowledge. I just disagree that the old guys weren’t taking insane dosages - which is why half of the guys you listed are from that era. Personally, I wouldn’t care if they did away with steroid testing in all sports. I don’t care one bit.

Today 20 years ago Mike Mentzer‘s brother Ray passed away.

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My Mentzer stuff This leads to a page of links for stuff I wrote about MM over the last year, includes:
GQ Magazine 1980,Mike Mentzer Influence,Mike Mentzer: One Fan’s Perspective
Mentzer’s Routines,Muscle Builder & Power Magazine, April 1976
The Thinking Man’s Bodybuilder
Mail Order Muscle: Mentzer, the Mighty Muscle of George Jowett, and the Frank Lloyd Wright Connection
Memorabilia,Mentzer, Robinson, Night of Champions


I found Heavy Duty I to work best. The consolidation routine worked initially (especially with added calories), BUT, the consolidation routine he gave me was about two years before HDII was released and it was performed twice a week! It looked like this:

Workout A: Squats, Pulldown, Dips, and Calf Raise…then 3-4 days later…
Workout B: Deadlifts, Incline Press, Curl, and Calf Raise

I added a calf raise to one of the sessions as I was trying to bring up my calves. On any rate, over time, I took this routine and added rest days, reduced exercises, and got stronger, but looked worse (measurements shrunk, less trained looking) over time as happened with most people.

The very last time I spoke to him, fall of 1998, he recommended me to try one compound exercise a workout every 5-6 days.

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