All About Heavy Duty Bodybuilding Training

There is no single way to build muscle. If you look at history and analyze different bodybuilders, it is clear that different methodologies work. However, some methodologies may be more efficient than others and many are the subject of controversy, including Mike Mentzer's famous Heavy Duty.

The technique gained notoriety in 1992 when Mentzer applied it to Dorian Yates, who won the title of Mr. Olympia. More than a decade after his death, his philosophy continues to be the subject of controversy among bodybuilders.

High Intensity Training

The Mentzer technique is based on Arthur Jones' High Intensity Training (HIT). High intensity techniques focus on repeated weight training until muscle fails briefly. The idea is that the number of repetitions of the exercise will lead to tension and maximize the creation of muscle fibers.

The characteristics of this training school are:

The workout is as intense as possible until the muscles fail momentarily. And the series should have few exercises. The training should not last longer than 60 minutes. Training is less frequent than in more traditional training methods. You should not compromise on safety, should perform in a perfect manner every move. As in all schools, there are several streams of High Intensity Training. Heavy Duty is one of them.

Heavy Duty Training

According to Mentzer, Heavy Duty was more than a training methodology, but a philosophy. In addition, he argued that the technique was a scientific approach to building muscle mass and that using it would produce more results than any other training system.

His goal was to help people (without the use of chemicals) reach their full genetic potential in the shortest possible time. He believed that weight training should be as short, intense and infrequent as possible to achieve the best results in a short period.

For this, the most fundamental point of Heavy Duty is the intensity. Mentzer believes that overload is the most important factor for the growth of a muscle. That is, it is not how much more workout you do or how much more time you train, but how intensely you train that it matters.

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To build muscles according to the Heavy Duty methodology, you need to do the exercise until muscle failure. You should repeat the movement slowly until the muscle can no longer move. It is at this point that the muscle is stimulated to grow. After the failure, repeating the exercise will not yield better results.

It is critical not to stop when the exercise starts to get difficult - it is at this moment that the muscle is being stimulated to grow, but this does not mean making the movements fast and of form explosive Doing the exercises slowly and keeping pace until the muscle no longer responds to your command is the goal.

The purpose is to perform each repetition in about six seconds: two seconds for the concentric part of the exercise (the go) and four seconds for the eccentric part (the turn). Great care must be taken not to lower weights quickly, as well as compromising exercise efficiency, can cause injury.

Security and Overtraining

Although the slogan is "intensity" it is obvious that security should not be abdicated. An error in a high-intensity exercise can be much more serious than in another type of exercise. It is vital to move the weight in a controlled manner, with the correct posture - a wrong posture can even compromise the stimulation to the muscle.

The biggest enemy of the bodybuilder is overtraining, the so-called "overtraining". It is the greatest enemy of training. is the major cause of loss of size and strength. It can cause:

  • Decreased muscle and strength
  • Longer time to recover
  • Fast heartbeats upon waking
  • High pressure
  • Severe joint and muscle pain
  • Headache
  • Tremor in hands
  • Excessive tiredness
  • Lack of interest
  • Insomnia
  • Decreased appetite
  • Injuries

This all happens because when we exercise in excess the body uses the muscles to create energy. It releases a substance called cortisol, which causes catabolism. Catabolism is when the body's protein is broken down and synthesized as glucose in the liver. Cortisol also weakens the connective tissue around the muscles and bones, increasing the possibility of injury. In addition, problems can still occur in the immune system, leading to illness.

A good way to avoid excess cortisol is to consume plenty of carbohydrates and protein from 1h to 2h before and after workouts, in addition to drinking plenty of water. Obviously, do not overdo it in the exercises.

How to Get Started with Heavy Duty Training

Initially, Mike Mentzer advised to work with three workouts spread over a week: chest and back, legs and arms. Each day working a series of nine repetitions, with one or two days of rest between each workout.

However, he later adapted the technique and began to reduce the volume to frequency. Currently, the most indicated routine of a Heavy Duty workout is four workouts (chest and back, legs, arms and legs) with an interval of three to five days between workouts. According to the Mentzer methodology, adding a leg workout between upper limb training prevents the upper limbs from being worked very often. Each part of the body is worked directly or indirectly at most every seven days. In the first version, the arms were stimulated every three days and the legs only every eight days.

If you are a beginner, it is very easy to build muscles because of no exercise for some training is already a huge difference, it is easy to achieve muscle level and exhaustion. So just go slowly increasing the weights.

When you're already at an intermediate level, it's harder to get to the level of stress you need. Getting training until muscle failure without too much training can be difficult. If you are no longer progressing, you should not increase the intensity of the exercise or do more repetitions - this will only cause overtraining.

If this is your situation, adjusting the volume and frequency to let the body rest is best; if you see progress decelerating, reduce volume and frequency. Instead of doing three days of rest, try four, or five.

Setting up the training:

Mentzer recommends six sets of ten exercises until failure, except for sloping bench press (a series of three), parallel (three of five) and planar (twelve of twenty) elevations. But it is critical that the fault occur within the series.

Muscle hypertrophy occurs between 30 and 90 seconds in duration. Any exercise that goes beyond 70 seconds will be more aerobic, increasing stamina, not size and strength. At the same time, a series run in just ten seconds does not bring many benefits.

You can make substitutions, but avoid changing series exercises too much. However, always keep the order of the exercises, first doing the isolation exercises and then the compounds that stimulate the same region. Being that the compound exercises produce more mass and the insulators serve to create the pre-exhaustion.

Remember to always warm up before training. Warming up is essential to prevent injury and improve blood circulation. Cooling is also important, you can walk until the rate of beating back to normal.

Rest as much as you need between workouts, it's not a race. Feel free to pause between sets. Fast training causes a substantial cardiovascular response, while the goal in Heavy Duty is to build mass.

And remember to never hold your breath during exercise - which compromises the muscle's ability to withstand high intensity and even increases blood pressure. It's best to keep your mouth open.

Heavy Duty Diet?

For this methodology, the diet is not so important. Mentzer criticizes many bodybuilders who ingest more calories than necessary, turning them into fat. The idea is to have a nutritious and well balanced meal.

Although a person who does the Heavy Duty workout needs more protein than sedentary, there is no need to overdo it. Remember that the muscle is composed 72% by water. According to Mentzer, a diet should have between 60% and 65% carbohydrates, 15 to 20% fat and between 15% and 20% protein distributed between four and six meals. The only requirement is to eat immediately after training because the body needs too many calories to build muscles.

Additional references

  1. Mentzer, M. Heavy Duty II: Mind and Body. 1996, M. Mentzer.

Do you agree with the concepts linked to Heavy Duty Bodybuilding? What methodology is your preferred and adopted? Would you use it? Comment below!

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