Skip to content


MIKE MENTZER – HEAVY DUTY HIT Training For Size & Strength


The Mike Mentzer HIT training style became massively popular in the 80s and 90s, and influenced a wide variety of bodybuilders including Dorian Yates. Dorian credited his (Mike Mentzer) training principles to his training style after winning Mr. Olympia his first time.

“The single most important factor is intensity of effort” –Mike Mentzer

Mike Mentzer was focused on High Intensity, Low Volume training, capitalizing on a six to nine rep range.  The three techniques Heavy Duty prescribed most were forced reps, negative reps, and rest-pause.

Mike believed in training with a partner who can assist when reaching failure. The training partner would assist in forced reps removing enough stress to two to three forced reps. For negative reps, the training partner would raise the weight so it could be lowered as slowly as possible for an extended negative. Further the training partner would act as a spotter for rest pause set as the lifter would add “singles” with time in-between single rep mini sets.

Unlike most believe, Mike Mentzer did warm up his clients with a few lighter weight sets with slow cadence and controlled form with no momentum.

Mike often reminded his trainees
“Remember, you have three levels of strength, the positive which is the lifting and the weakest, the static or the holding which is stronger than the positive, then the negative which is the lowering and the strongest.”

Cadence was instructed with a 4 to 5 second positives, held for 5 seconds, and then 4 to 5 second negatives.

Often using super sets with the slow cadence was a key to the HIT program.

Here’s how the Mike Mentzer program on the HIT video is laid out.

Day One – Chest, Back

Incline Press Warm Up – 3 x 12

Peck Deck super set with incline press rest pause set – 1 set

Lat Pull downs Warm Up – 1 set

Pull overs super set with lat pull downs –1 set

Deadlift – 4 sets

Day Two – Legs

Leg Press Warm Up – 3 x 8 to 3

Leg Extensions SS with Leg Press – 1 set

Leg Curls SS with Calf Raise – 1 set

Day Three – Delts, Biceps and Triceps

Delt Flys Warm Up – 2 set

Delt Lateral Flys – 1 set

Delt Rear Flys – 1 set

Barbell Curl Warm Up – 1 set

Barbell Curl – 1 set

Triceps Extensions SS with Machine Dips – 1 set

“Viewers don’t make the issue of going to failure complicated, when you can’t do one more positive rep in proper form, then that’s it”

See The Mike Mentzer HIT Video Below


  • Go to full-rep failure in the six- to nine-rep range. Try to grow increasingly stronger in this range.
  • Always maintain proper form.
  • Push sets past failure with forced reps and negatives.
  • Rest-pause is another excellent method of transcending failure.
  • Divide your body parts into two workouts and allow 48 hours between workouts. For example, do workout A on Monday, B on Wednesday, A on Friday, B on Sunday (or Monday, if you prefer to take weekends off).

This program is PERFECT for breaking plateaus in your training. If you are stuck and feel like you are spinning your wheels, if nothing else, applying the 5 5 5 rep cadence, static holds, rest pause, and super sets will be sure to end your search for new muscle growth.