Mike Mentzer Once Revealed an Important Lesson Learned During Mr. Olympia Training

Radha Iyer

It’s no secret that Mike Mentzer has been one of the pillars of the bodybuilding world with his innovative approach towards the sport. His dedication to bodybuilding went far beyond his competing days, transcending to training and mentoring.

In a bunch of resurfaced interviews, the late veteran opened up on how his routine worked for him. After training for over 15 years, his strategy for the Mr. Olympia championship at the time was to hit the gym for fewer hours with more intensity. His signature heavy-duty training was hence born.

The logic behind the routine was recovery enabled growth. Therefore, intense training must be followed by sufficient rest periods to gain more mass and size. At that time, his method was revolutionary and rebellious.

To trace the history of how Mentzer discovered the sheer effectiveness of recovery for growth, one must go back in time to when the elite bodybuilder trained with his brother for competitions. One day, both he and Ray Mentzer had exhausted every muscle fiber in their body and realized how they couldn’t train the next day. Their bodies hadn’t completely recovered, and they ran the risk of injury.

“We haven’t even recovered from our workout yesterday, we’re not going to be able to invest with our our workout today with the intensity that is required to stimulate maximum muscle growth.”

Recovery not only brought the body back to its original state but also made the muscles stronger due to all the repair work. Mentzer recalled how he began noticing visible results after taking a day or two to rest between his training days. Eventually, he set his schedule – training for four days out of a nine or ten-day split. This included a 72-hour recovery period in between.

“Our gains skyrocketed again even for advanced bodybuilders. At one point, there I had gained 10 lbs of muscle in 3 weeks and lost 4 lbs of fat at the same time.”

Once he understood that one didn’t need to spend the entire day at the gym, Mentzer walked through his path. His technique may have been unorthodox at the time, but he set the bar high. This situation helped upcoming bodybuilders draw inspiration for their routines.

New-age bodybuilders read through Mike Mentzer and his protege’s books

Six-time Mr. Olympia Dorian Yates had adopted Mentzer as his trainer early in his career. Since then, the bodybuilding Hulk followed the footsteps of the late legend by training heavy-duty. And now, Yates is an inspiration for upcoming bodybuilders.

Mr. Olympia’s elite contender, Nick Walker, recently opened up on his training plans. He recently suffered a horrific hamstring injury that forced him to pull out of the championship at the last minute. Post-injury, Walker switched his training methods to follow Yates and Mentzer’s heavy-duty plan. Judging by his prep for the upcoming New York Pro, it looks like the legend’s training routine has been working like a charm.

Post Edited By:Brandon Gabriel Isaacs

Share this article

About the author

Radha Iyer

Radha Iyer

Radha Iyer is a US Sports writer at The SportsRush. With a Master's degree in Media and Communication, and a background in content creation and production, sports journalism has been a part and parcel of her demonstrated history in the said field. Olympic sports hold a special place in her heart, and she is particularly interested in sports like track and field, gymnastics, and swimming. She also draws inspiration from legendary athletes like Michael Phelps, Usain Bolt, Simone Biles, and many more.

Read more from Radha Iyer