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"Doing more exercise with less intensity,"
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destroyed the actual great value
of weight training. Something
must be done . . . and quickly."
The New Bodybuilding for
Old-School Results supplies
MUCH of that "something."

 

This is one of 93 photos of Andy McCutcheon that are used in The New High-Intensity Training to illustrate the recommended exercises.

To find out more about McCutcheon and his training, click here.

 

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Mentzer's Consolidation Routine
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Butters

I was recently reading the newest Mentzer book "Wisdom of Mike Mentzer." John Little quotes some pretty big claims from Mike about the progress clients made on his consolidation routine. Most of the people seemed to average 10 lbs of muscle for their first 3-4 months on the program.

Anyone ever have experience with the consolidation routine? Also how was your progress after switching to it?

It's just crazy enough to make sense in the vein of the comment Jones made to do the opposite of what everyone else in the gym is.
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TheDudeAbides

Michigan, USA

Butters wrote:


Only 10 lbs? I tried the routine and gained 20 lbs. No, but seriously. I gained in strength, but nothing to write home about on muscle gain. Were these clients new to lifting? It's a good program to use (currently on it), however I do two sets to failure, and workout out every two days instead of every 4-7. Why? I can't reach his level of failure by myself. With a training partner, it might just be possible. I also don't do legs every other workout, but every third.
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ron33

I used his first routine,with a few mods. to suit my needs after cancer surgery and radiation treatments to groin lower abdomoinal area, It must have worked because everytime i went to oncologist for checkup ,i would gain weight even though i couldnt eat right and had to skip workouts because of pain and colon problems.they would look at me befuttled after they weighed me and could'nt understand why i was'nt losing weight.

I supersetted stiff deads-squats,dips-reverse grip pull ups one day, pull-ups-overhead press,deadlifts -calf raise the other day.i did 2-3 sets depending on energy level and how i felt that day. im 48 yrs. old 5'8 235pds.i dont consider myself bb'er.just person who trains for health.i'm not cut by any means,my kids call me Chunk.I am planning to try lose some bodyfat.Good Luck!
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Welshace13

i did it from january 2007 up until april.

dips deadlifts and pull ups once a week, not the exact routine.

my gaines were... 14lbs in body weight

deadlift... 100kg to 160kg

pull ups... bodyweight to BW + 40kg

dips... BW to BW + 40kg

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medici

Spain

Butters wrote:
I was recently reading the newest Mentzer book "Wisdom of Mike Mentzer." John Little quotes some pretty big claims from Mike about the progress clients made on his consolidation routine. Most of the people seemed to average 10 lbs of muscle for their first 3-4 months on the program.

Anyone ever have experience with the consolidation routine? Also how was your progress after switching to it?

It's just crazy enough to make sense in the vein of the comment Jones made to do the opposite of what everyone else in the gym is.


Your remark is a little confusing. As a world class bodybuilder firmly in the industry, Mentzer well knew the value and importance of maintaining photographic records - you know, the before and after photos - the kinds of photos that made him famous and sold his services.

Some have wondered about his claims since he didn't back them up with the photos he knew say it all. So does the book include photos?
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Benjamin Dover

There are no photos Kayo. So what? There are hardly an abundance of photographic comparisons on this site and check some of the wild claims that are posted!

The routine's good. It's not set in stone that you have to do it forever...you might just want to though.

If Mike Mentzer had been your personal trainer for any length of time, you would have delivered. Period. Just saying the great mans name should be motivation enough.
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Jeremy McClinton

By Mentzer's consolidated routine I am thinking that you are referring to the routines advised in Heavy Duty 2: Mind and Body. I performed these routines regularly for about a year and did gain weight. Unfortunately the weight gain was fat and not muscle. Others I have trained with who performed the same routines or those very similar had results about on par with mine.

I have also met people who I have talked with on forums who supposedly have had great results with Heavy Duty consolidated training. When I met these people my personal opinion was that they were big but had the appearance of more of a large powerlifter, just general mass instead of lean muscle. I think many trainees who have said that they have had great success with this program may not be able to differentiate between fat and muscle. They begin to rationalize their appearance when all evidence suggests that the program is not working. It is hard to admit that something you have invested both time, money, and plain hard work on is not working.

Even though I did have some initial success with his original Heavy Duty book I remain very skeptical of anything Mike Mentzer touted or proclaimed after the early 90's.
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NATUREBOY

I've been using variations of Mentzer's consolidation routine for about the last 6 months. I have gotten extraordinarily strong, but I've also gained a ton of fat and my cardiovascular conditioning is terrible.

A
Squats
DB Bench
BB Rows

B
BB Stiff Legged Deadlift
Press Behind Neck
Reverse Grip Pulldowns
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coomo

Jeremy you say when you met "this big guys" they had general mass not lean tissue.If its not lean tissue its fat.Nature boy you say you gained fat not muscle when using the routine,that because you ingested too many calories above your maintainence level.Guys dont blame the routine if your getting fat!! its your mouth thats the problem not the routine.Mentzer told me that a gain of just 5 pounds of pure muscle a year is good, that equates to 25 pounds in five years.the average lean male weighing 165 would be 190 of lean muscle that wolud be a pretty muscular build.
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MDieguez

I think a program like the one mentioned in Natureboy's post can definitely work if performed twice every 7-10 days. Not 2-3 wks apart. As far as people getting fat if you eat accordingly and maintain a few brief and intense cardio sessions becoming overly fat should not become an issue at all. If you are trying to get as large and as strong as possible you need to put the mirror away. I f you are trying to maintain a degree of leanness then be sensible about your eating and results can still be had on a very brief routine.
Mike
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OSAKA/J

James T and MDieguez have it right.
Mentzers' programme is only a template,
as is any programme, whether high/low
volume, powerlifting, Olympic weightlifting, etc. The basics are
there; the finer details can and should
be adjusted to fit the individual. I
think this is what Mentzer had in mind.
It is only natural that if you
ingest more calories than you burn off
you will eventually gain weight. It
doesn't matter what programme you use;
more calories than burned off equals
excess weight. In most cases, that
means fat gain. Unfortunately.
As for how often, I think that
the frequency issue is the most
contentious point. Much as I admired
Mentzer, I never agreed with the 2-3
weeks between sessions he advocated.
I did try his programme about five
years ago--I found that three to four
days (in my case) between sessions
provided the best results.
What I did was the following:

Session 1

Squats
Incline benches
Bent rows
Abs

Session 2

Deadlifts
Military presses
Close-grip chins
Calf raises (standing)

This programme gave me good results; my bodyweight didn't increase
all that much--about 7 kilos over a
period of 8 months--but I did get a lot
stronger. Did I look like Mr. Olympia?
No; I looked more like a powerlifter.
However, this programme was never
intended to achieve the "finished" look
of a bodybuilder; it was designed to
attack the major muscles of the body.
Definition is largely a matter of
genetics and diet. (Cardio is, of
course, an option to increase one's
definition--I'm not against it per se,
as long as it's not done to extremes).
But, in my opinion, it is a good
programme for those strapped for time,
or those who are looking to increase
strength and size somewhat. It works;
how well depends on how much effort you
put into it, and how carefully you watch your diet.

Osaka/J
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Jeremy McClinton

The last time I read his books Mentzer was also interested in Bodybuilding which means to acquire lean muscle. He was also interested in strength as you have said. My opinion on the fat gains is that if you follow these programs exactly as published you will need to follow as very low calorie diet. I would say something around 1500 calories per day. I generally have run into trouble trying to gain muscle on any routine with calories that low.

Keep in mind, that I had a phone conversations with Mike and he did not recommend cardiovascular training at the time (this was right before his death)so if you are doing so than you have altered in my opinion his routines, which I think you probably should because of all the inactivity and recovery time that he suggests you need.

To respond to one poster who suggests that you put the mirror away. Mike was a bodybuilder who actually dedicated a whole chapter of one of his recent books to posing routines and the use of a mirror to determine your results. It sounds like his intentions were to publish a book that would help you gain lean body mass and strength. So if you are using his book to purely gain strength than we had different goals at the on set of our programs.

I think you will have much more success though if that is your only goal since his later programs have really been unsuccesful for those interested in bodybuilding purposes. There may be exceptions but they are just that.

I have nothing against the man though. Whenever I would talk to him he was very, very polite and articulate and just a general pleasure to discuss different things with. As I said I just remain skeptical of his later training advice as I feel he became somewhat fanatical about his training and philosophy and that he wouldn't accept the facts that many trainees did need more frequent training. Purely my opinions, I doubt anything a poster says otherwise will change them so don't bother.
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dipsrule

Pennsylvania, USA

Mike's Heavy Duty is not for everyone.Ive been a phone client of Mike's and Ray's.Ive done both,Ideal,and Consolidation.I ate to many calories a day and Added to many rest days in between work outs.All the consolidated routine is a hardgainer routine,with more rest days.

If you read Dr.Ken or Dick Conner or have a hardgainer book or two you know what Im talking about.

Another good read for me is Arthur Jones #68 in My first century in the iron game.I have crohn's disease and I could not do anything for over a year.Mentzer talked about stress alot.I cant really aford do much stress in my life since I got sick.

Ive been able to come up with a routine that only has a few sets once a week,that hits my whole body.I dont have a choice anyway and Im greatfull I can still do a routine that works for me.If anyones interested I can post it later,I have to go for now. Dave
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Benjamin Dover

dipsrule wrote:
Mike's Heavy Duty is not for everyone.Ive been a phone client of Mike's and Ray's.Ive done both,Ideal,and Consolidation.I ate to many calories a day and Added to many rest days in between work outs.All the consolidated routine is a hardgainer routine,with more rest days.If you read Dr.Ken or Dick Conner or have a hardgainer book or two you know what Im talking about.

Another good read for me is Arthur Jones #68 in My first century in the iron game.Ive have crohn's disease and I could not do anything for over a year.Mentzer talked about stress alot.I cant really aford do much stress in my life since I got sick.Ive been able to come up with a routine that only has a few sets once a week,that hits my whole body.I dont have a choice anyway and Im greatfull I can still do a routine that works for me.If anyones interested I can post it later,I have to go for now. Dave


This is a great post. Anyone that still doing a bit after that is a legend.

Anyway...

If you're too fat then don't blame the routine. Exercise isn't to be relied on as a calorie burner in itself. The results of exercise - more muscle - that's the calorie burner.

Any routine that builds more strength will build the most muscle FOR YOU, genetics allowing. Forget everything else of what exercise can do in terms of fat "burning".

Fatness is a dietary issue AS LONG AS you're stimulating muscular growth. When you consider how few calories exercise burns and how many calories fat contains (3500 per lb), how can you possibly rely on exercise to do the job????

Let's say that performing 2 exercises to failure burns 50 calories, performing 10 would burn 250 calories and 3 times per weeks still only 750. You still have 2750 net calories to burn in order to reach the magic pound of fat!!!! Training that frequently may actually retard muscular growth and prevent an increase in you basal metabolic rate.

Fat loss is dietary

Flexibility, Muscular Size, Strength and Cardiovascular Condition are exercise dependant.

This is yet another case of individuals blaming a perfectly good program, when the real fault lies with their (dietary) application.

If you want to lose fat, I have the magic answer, it's complex, mysterious and top secret...until now...

EAT A BIT LESS
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Bastion

I've used Mike Mentzer's consolidation routine on and off with very good results.I'm currently training every 4-5 days doing 1.Squats 2.Pulldowns 3.Incline press.

The routine might not appear very magical on paper,but it works better than anything I've done in the past 15+ years.

Like said above there's nothing written in stone that you can't alter the routine by adding an exercise or two.Nobody says that you must train every 7 days.And you don't have to do it forever.

It's a great progressive routine,and it also allows me more time to spend with my family,and to do more important things with my time.

I'm not massive or ripped,just a normal guy who works long hours and odd shifts and has a family,but also loves to train and see progress every workout.

At one time when I hardly any time/energy to train,I split the consolidated routine into 3 workouts and still made good progress.Mon Incline press. Wed Squats. Fri Pulldowns.

Nothing fancy,no magic numbers,just progressive training suited to my lifestyle.
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dipsrule

Pennsylvania, USA

Im ok with my weight.It was when the HD 2 book came out that I was over eating.

I used to think that leg press,chins and dips and low back was a good routine for me.In one of Jones articles he writes about the pullover and pulldown hits every thing in your torso.I knew with my illness I had to return to a consolidated type routine.This is what works for me once a week.

nautilus pullover/ss with pulldown
nautilus compound leg press.Thats it.If im not feeling good I just do pullover/pulldown.Every third workout I do lowback in place or leg press.Sometimes I do neck work with a bullworker.You can kneel down,put your hands on top of the bullworker,and put your chin on top of your hands.You can use any rep speed you want.Sometimes not alot I do a drop set with the pullover/pulldown.Or a static hold with the pulldown.

I know there is no pushing movement.I dont need one.The pullover nails my chest,and tri's enough and the pulldown puts the iceing on the cake,and hits my bi's as well.My wife does the same,but she does neg.push ups and lowback all in one workout.If she is not feel well or tired,she either does what I do or leg press and pulldown.

I have to add she works very hard and im happy that we do this on the same day together.We help each other with the work out.Helping get the last rep or two etc.She lost 15 pounds in six week and is getting stronger.It dont get that much better for me. :)
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Benjamin Dover

Dipsrule,

Sorry, the bulk of my last post wasn't aimed at you. Looking back it may have read that way.

It was aimed at those who seem to believe that reduced frequency training leads to fatness...insane
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STanner

Texas, USA

NATUREBOY wrote:
I've been using variations of Mentzer's consolidation routine for about the last 6 months. I have gotten extraordinarily strong, but I've also gained a ton of fat and my cardiovascular conditioning is terrible.

A
Squats
DB Bench
BB Rows

B
BB Stiff Legged Deadlift
Press Behind Neck
Reverse Grip Pulldowns



I'm having a hard time understanding this: are you implying that the additional fat is because of the lack of total sets?

I don't want to jump down anyone's throat if they're not stating the obvious. ;)
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STanner

Texas, USA

One could just split the difference and follow the advice of Bass/Landau/Flanigan: Once a week but with more exercises and regular variation.

Looking back, this is how I made the most progress in the shortest period of time. It's when I went full consolidation (Leg Press/Row/Chest Press) that I failed to gain mass.

I've gone back to once a week, mostly as a result of my taking up mostly negative-only training with our X-Centric Edge equipment.
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dipsrule

Pennsylvania, USA

mentzer
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Tomislav

New York, USA

Butters wrote:
Anyone ever have experience with the consolidation routine? Also how was your progress after switching to it?

Hi Butters,

I find consolidation routines to be very effective; I do one set of a few compound exercises every 10 days or so.

h.i.t.27 wrote:
I've used Mike Mentzer's consolidation routine on and off with very good results.I'm currently training every 4-5 days doing 1.Squats 2.Pulldowns 3.Incline press.

Hi h.i.t.27,

Do you mean that you do all three exercises every 4-5 days or one at a time with 4-5 days off between each?

Also curious if anyone else has found just one alternating compound exercise every 4-5 days to be effective?
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NATUREBOY

STanner wrote:
I'm having a hard time understanding this: are you implying that the additional fat is because of the lack of total sets?

I don't want to jump down anyone's throat if they're not stating the obvious. ;)


It's certainly a part of it. And before you jump down my throat, yes, I realize that the conventional wisdom here tells us that exercise doesn't burn many calories. But that statement is only really a half truth. The complete truth is that exercise doesn't burn many extra calories while you are exercising, but exercise elevates metabolism for several hours thereafter, and over time, that really makes a difference. Honestly, I don't see how ANY person can stay lean using Mentzer's consolidation routine. Maybe if you starve yourself...
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NATUREBOY

JamesT wrote:
Dipsrule,

Sorry, the bulk of my last post wasn't aimed at you. Looking back it may have read that way.

It was aimed at those who seem to believe that reduced frequency training leads to fatness...insane


Hmm...

So you're basically saying that if you take person A and person B and place them on the same diet but person A only lifts weights once a week for 3 TOTAL MINUTES (as I do now) and person B lifts weights AJ-style 3 times per week for 30 minutes at a time (as I did when I was in shape), person A would be just as lean? Bologna. I've had that mindset before (typical HIT dogma), but it's simply not true. Not over extended periods of time at least...
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Bastion

Hi Tomislav,

I'm currently doing all 3 exercises each workout,and am currently training every 4-5 days.

A few years ago when my daughter was born and I wasn't getting much sleep,I did 1 exercise per day 3 days a week.Mon Incline press Wed Squats Fri Pulldowns.At first I was just hoping to maintain my strength,but I was still able to get stronger almost each workout despite the lack of sleep.I think that is the perfect "working man's Routine"...At least for me.

You said that you do some compounds every 10 days,How many do you do?.What does a typical workout look like?.
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spud

In one of his articles in 1998 Dr Darden wrote:

"I've never trained an athlete or advanced bodybuilder (and I've trained some big, strong men) who needed to reduce past the level of three times in two weeks, nor do fewer than five exercises per routine. I suppose there are a few Goliaths somewhere who might thrive on such a schedule. I'd like to hear from you if you think you're in this category, or if you know anyone who is."

Now, knowing what I know about Dr Darden's teachings it would seem that his scale of volume and frequency runs, from a high of 12 sets performed 3 times a week, to a low 5 sets performed 3 times every 2 weeks.

3 times every 2 weeks is basically training every 4 or 5 days.

I believe that you shouldn't be doing 5 sets or less, every 4 or 5 days unless you are naturally large and muscular. By that I mean you were always the most muscular guy around, knew even before you started training.

I hate to think of the number of genetically average people, who as Jeremy says, adopt such a minimal approach to training and convince themselves that their fat is actually muscle.

Look at "I Would've Trained Less" in the back of The New HIT.

It ends up with 2 routines, 8 sets in each routine, routine A performed every Monday and routine B performed every Thursday.

That, in my opinion is as low as most folks need to go on volume and frequency.

I remember not so long ago a thread about consolidated routines, where somebody mentioned a guy apparently progressing on 2 sets every 10 days. Is that even classed as exercise?
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