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Objective Bodybuilding

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#1
dondigitalia

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I just saw a couple of posts on another thread about Mike Mentzer's weightlifting system. I had never heard of him before, but have been lifting weights for a couple of years. I googled him, but was unable to find any of the key points of his system. I am very interested. Could one of you who is familiar with his system outline some of the basics for me?

BINGBANGSingh: You asserted that Mentzer's system is incorrect. I would also be interested in seeing your side of things in this thread.

#2
erik

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I've read some quotes from him online but have not read any of his books. From what I have read he advocates a HIT ( high intensity training method ) combined with rest and not overworking yourself. I tried lowering to one set and maxing out and increased strength for sure. It also cuts the workout time down!
I need more time!

#3
MinorityOfOne

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The basic idea behind Mentzer's system is getting the most progress out of the least time. He thinks that in order to induce hypertrophy, it's necessary only to push your muscles to their limits (i.e., to muscular failure); at that point, the muscle metaphorically "gets the message" and starts to grow in order to prepare for the next time.

Mentzer rejects the volume method espoused by many prominent bodybuilders. If you look at Schwarzeneggar's book, for instance, he says it's best to be in the gym six days a week for a few hours at a time. Mentzer says that's absurd -- when will you recover? When will the muscles grow? His field research over the course of his career led him to conclude that most people can benefit from exercising much more intensely and much less often than is commonly supposed.

So the idea in practice: minimal sets, medium (6-10ish) reps, extremely high intensity workouts, plenty of rest between gym visits. Some Heavy Duty (the name for Mentzer's system) lifters only go to the gym once a week, and they split their routines up into four different types, so that each muscle group only actually gets exercised once a month. There's a lot of variety in how the theory is applied, though.

Mentzer claimed that the success of the bodybuilders using the volume method could only be a result of a combination of incredible genetics and steroids -- the normal human body simply can't recover quickly enough to benefit from hours every day in the gym. He also pointed out that even if his system was only *as good* as the volume system (which he denied), you're still spending much less time for the same result. Incidentally, he made a big point of telling people NOT to expect to look like Arnold. Most people simply don't have the genetics to be giants, no matter how hard they work: genetics sets a sort of limit on how much muscle you can grow. He said that he thought most people could reach their genetic potential within about five years of Heavy Duty workouts.

You can get more info on his methods at http://www.mikementzer.com. For the record, I can't attest to whether or not they work. I'm pretty new to weightlifting, so I'm currently using a pretty standard three-day-a-week routine to get myself in shape... maybe I'll experiment a bit more at some point in the uture.

#4
dondigitalia

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This is very intersting. I'll have to skim through one of his books next time I go to Barnes & Noble. What you are describing is remarkably similar to the system I developed for myself. I work out each muscle group 1 day a week, doing no more than 3 sets at 6-10 reps each, working to failure each week.

I keep a log of what I do, and reference the previous week to ensure I am exceeding (or at the very least meeting) the amount of weight I lifted the week before. My general system: When I am able to do 3 sets of 10 reps, I raise the weight. I continue with the new weight until I am able to do 3 sets of 10 reps, then raise the wieght again. I have tried several methods since I started, and this has been BY FAR the most effective for me.

In the past couple of years, popular methods have been moving away from volume lifting. The reason is the same as you mentioned above - it is during periods of rest that muscles grow, and volume lifting every single day provides no rest period.

#5
MinorityOfOne

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Well, that's way more than Mentzer would suggest. He was big on single-set routines. Since you just have to hit failure, he thinks, why do it more than once? You'd just be tapping further into your reserves and making your recovery period longer than necessary.

And yes, he was big on tracking your progress, too. He said that, basically, if you're not able to lift more each workout than the one before, you're doing something wrong. One of the most common, and most plausible, criticisms I've heard of Mentzer's theory is that gains in strength don't necessarily equate to gains in muscle size. Mentzer was strongly in favor of the idea that there is a direct relationship between the two; by contrast, many bodybuilders think that volume, while perhaps not better for strength, is better for size. (They give a lot of reasons for this which I don't really understand, since I don't have much of a grasp of the involved physiology... it has something to do with different types of exercise stressing different types of fibers. I can't elaborate much more than that, though.)

#6
dondigitalia

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Well, that's way more than Mentzer would suggest.  He was big on single-set routines.  Since you just have to hit failure, he thinks, why do it more than once?  You'd just be tapping further into your reserves and making your recovery period longer than necessary.

That's why I said "similar" and not "exactly the same." I actually tried working to failure in one set (shorter workouts mean more time for everything else in life!), but found that it was extremely difficult to accomplish. Occasionally, immediately after I raise the weight, I do reach failure after 1 set, and stop. The important thing, though is to really reach failure. If you can still lift more weight after you're done, then you're not done. :D

My research tells me that the main difference between the way volume lifting builds muscle as opposed to high-intensity lifting (might as well use Mentzer's term) is that longer, less intense workouts build quick-twitch fibers, and shorter, more intense workouts build slow-twitch fibers. Slow-twitch fibers determine muscle power, whereas quick-twitch fibers determine endurance.

I haven't seen any data that determines which is more relevant for size, but I can make an assumption based on observation of runners. If you look at marathon (endurance) runners, you will usually see a thin, wiry build, whereas with sprinters (power runners), you will see a more muscular, bulky physique.

It has also been shown that lengthy exercise routines (both lifting and cardiovascular) promote the production of catabolic (muscle-burning) hormones, and that shorter, more intense workouts do not. This could be another reason Mentzer's system works.

At any rate, it's nice to see that someone has applied Objectivism to exercise. I'll be interested to see the content of Mentzer's books.

#7
MinorityOfOne

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Yeah, that's pretty much what he said, I think.

One criticism I've heard a number of times is that a single set wouldn't stress *all* the fibers -- even of a certain type -- whereas multiple sets would stress the muscle more completely. I suppose if this is true, then the question arises whether the higher recovery time is sufficiently outweighed by the increased number of stressed fibers. Do you know enough to comment on that?

#8
dondigitalia

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It is ONLY during periods of rest that muscle grows, so rest periods are the most important thing to have as part of your workout. I personally do not see why a full month is needed for recovery, as the average person will heal completely within 4 or 5 days.

Ideally, one would want to have a program that stressed both fiber types and provided sufficient recovery time. I feel that my system does that. Each time I exercise, I do a number of different lifts for the muscle group I am working that day, each lift exercise a different area of the particular muscle. For instance, on chest days, my workout includes bench presses(entire pecs), incline bench presses(upper pecs), decline bench presses(lower pecs), and flies(outer & inner pecs). The whole regime takes about 20 minutes, works to failure (exercising slow-twitch fibers), and because of the 20 minute time length, I do get some quick-twitch exercise (although not as much as the standard volume method).

Another important piece of advice: Each repition should be done slowly and smoothly - about 5 seconds up, and 5 seconds down. If you compare the *burn* you experience between doing quick repitions as opposed to slow, the difference is HUGE.

The development of this system really only came into fruition within the past six months or so for me; I have been working on it's development for 3.5 years. I have tried several different techniques, honing out the parts of each I found to be ineffective, and keeping the parts that showed the most results. Record-keeping and good research are absolutely essential to developming a routine.

Granted, I'm not like Arnold (I don't have the genetics for it), but I have seen such significant results in the past few months that I have no doubt this system works.

#9
BlackSabbath

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3 days a week is too much for me. I have Heavy duty 1 and 2 in the house.

I always recommend this system to anyone who is interested.

1 set to failure is the way I do it every time. More sets would mean overtraining or reduced intensity.

I don't believe in doing lots of overlapping movements either. The shorter the workout the better.

http://www.capitalis...p?t=570&start=0


My workout program:

Day1

Pek Dek flyes
Machine Bench Press
Lat Pulldown
Seated Rows
Shrugs
Shoulder press

Day 2+3 and sometimes 4 off

Day4 or 5

Leg extensions
Squat
Ham curls
Calf raises
Parallel Bar dips
Bicep curl machine

No muscle group is trained directly twice

Substitute similar exercises if you wish

#10
BIGBANGSingh

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I don't want to spend my time debunking Mentzer's theories, because it has been done many times before. What I will do however, is give you a brief insight into the science of hypertrophy. Once you study and understand the science, why Mentzer's system is wrong follows readily:

"There have been a lot of questions and potential confusion surrounding HST (hypertrophy-specific training) recently. What I'm going to attempt to do is give a very non-technical explanation of the program itself as well as the physiology behind it. The purpose is to clearly present the program as an effective means of achieving hypertrophy.

Bryan Haycock, the guy behind HST, has already done this before: http://www.hypertrop.../hst_index.html. The website is somewhat technical, and I remember feeling just as confused after reading it. What I'm going to try to do is fill in the gaps try to clarify, practically, why the program works.

Most training programs were conceived based on practical experience and modified based on medical knowledge. What makes HST special is that it is the opposite: it was formulated based on the way muscle grows in the lab, and then modified based on practical experience.

What is hypertrophy?
hypertrophy - n - A nontumorous enlargement of an organ or a tissue as a result of an increase in the size rather than the number of constituent cells

In other words, muscle hypertrophy is the enlarging of the muscle fibers as opposed to an increase in the number of muscle fibers (hyperplasia).

The principles behind HST:
1) Mechanical Load:
Tension upon muscle cells is necessary to induce hypertrophy. When cells experience tension, the delicate sarcomeres are disrupted. Given adequate nutrients, the muscle is then repaired to a greater size than it originally possessed.
Side note: It is commonly misunderstood that muscle failure is the stimulus for muscle growth. Intuitively, it makes sense. How can someone not sustain growth if they are working to the very limits of their capacity? Unfortunately, this is not true! The tension on the muscle is what actually causes growth.(1)

2) Frequency Potentially the most controversial, so I'll be spending a lot of time on it.

The various growth factors initiated by training all peak at around 24 hours post-workout, and than fall back to baseline by 48 hours. (2, 3, 4, and especially 6, 7) Typically, programs will sacrifice training frequency for the ability to add volume. This is counterproductive if your goal is to have bigger muscles. Given the average split of once/week, this means one will spend two days growing and five days maintaining muscle size without adding to it. This has been confirmed in the lab. One study compared the effects of a volume of weight training performed all on one day of the week to the same volume spread across three days of the week. The thrice-per-week group saw greater muscle gains as well as strength gains over 40% greater than the once-per-week group.(5)
This can also seem counterintuitive, as muscle soreness and strength often do not recover after a mere two days. In actuality, neither of those factors (soreness or voluntary strength) is related to muscle growth.

The ability to recover one's strength is directly related to muscle failure. Training to failure directly inhibits voluntary strength. Basically, training to failure fries your nerves (not the technical term ) and prevents them from being able to contract the muscles for long periods of time. So when one trains to failure and then waits until strength is recovered to train a muscle again, oftentimes the muscle has long recovered and is waiting for the nervous system to catch up.
This means that sometimes, with HST, you will be training through soreness. This is totally okay! Soreness is not harmful, and people generally find that training a sore muscle will cause the soreness to stop.

3) Progressive Load
Anywhere one goes, one hears "Changing one's routine is a way to prevent stagnation. If you're not growing, change things."

We're all in the business of growing muscle. Unfortunately, the body doesn't like to do that. It's rather expensive for the body to repair and produce new muscle tissue. It requires both lots of protein and lots of energy (sort of like the "parts" and the "labor). So, when an exercise is performed that damages the muscle tissue, in addition to the growth response the muscle also becomes resistant to further damage from that load. This is called the Repeated Bout Effect. (4) This is why routines fail to cause further progress. It is also why HST incorporates progressive load.

Side note: strength programs and growth
As anyone who's done WSB will tell you, strength programs can induce a good deal of hypertrophy. As a result, many bodybuilders adopt strength-training programs as a means of causing growth. By isolating and understanding WHY they cause growth, you can just skip straight to the growth-causing elements without wasting time with all of the neural tricks that strength training uses to increase your 1RM.
Strength programs typically have people work with very low reps, often to failure. Both of those have been shown to increase the nervous system's efficiency at performing a movement, thus increasing strength. So, when someone starts a strength training program, initially he/she sees a lot of growth. His/her muscles are not that resistant to damage, and at high tension levels the Repeated Bout Effect takes a little while to kick in. As long as he/she also continues making strength gains, he/she will experience progressive load, and will see muscle growth as long as he/she is overeating. Unfortunately, after a time the strength gains will slow to a crawl, and at that point the muscles are very resistant to damage and will simply not grow.

At this point, conventional wisdom would have our trainee change up his/her routine. This advice is somewhat sound, as new exercises can put new levels of tension on muscle fibers and thus elicit more growth. Also, a rep change can stimulate new growth as well, but ONLY if the new rep range is lower and allows more weight to be used, thus loading the tissue at new levels.

Instead of changing the routine, HST advocates...

4) Strategic Deconditioning
Before each cycle, in order to make the muscles responsive to the light weights in the beginning, a period of 9-14 days is taken off from all training. This reverses some of the effects of the RBE. It allows HST-users to experience rapid and sustainable progress.

This is one of the reasons why newbies experience such great initial gains. They have had such long deconditioning periods. Trained individuals also notice this; when coming off of a planned or unplanned layoff they often experience a renewal of gains.

References:
1) Warren GL, Hayes DA, Lowe DA, Armstrong RB. Mechanical factors in the initiation of eccentric contraction-induced injury in rat soleus muscle. J Physiol. 1993 May;464:457-75
2) Nosaka K, Clarkson P.M. Muscle damage following repeated bouts of high force eccentric exercise. Med. Sci. Sports Exrc., 27(9):1263-1269,1995
3) Smith LL., Fuylmer MG., Holbert D., McCammon MR., Houmard JA., Frazer DD., Nsien E., Isreal RG. The impact of repeated bout of eccentric exercise on muscular strength, muscle soreness and creatine kinase. Br J Sp Med 28(4):267-271, 1994
4) T.C. Chen, Taipei Physical Education College, and S.S. Hsieh, FACSM,. The effects of a seven-day repeated eccentric training on recovery from muscle damage. Med. Sci. Sports Exrc. 31(5 Supp) pp. S71, 1999
5) McLester JR., Bishop P., & Guilliams M. Comparison of 1 and 3 day per week of equal volume resistance training in experienced subjects. Med. Sci. Sports Exrc. 31(5 Supp) pp.S117 1999
6)MacDougall JD, Gibala MJ, Tarnopolsky MA, MacDonald JR, Interisano SA, Yarasheski KE. The time course for elevated muscle protein synthesis following heavy resistance exercise.
Can J Appl Physiol. 1995 Dec;20(4):480-6.
7)Phillips, S. M., K. D. Tipton, A. Aarsland, S. E. Wolf, and R. R. Wolfe. Mixed muscle protein synthesis and breakdown after resistance exercise in humans. Am. J. Physiol. 273 (Endocrinol. Metab. 36): E99-E107, 1997"
- Calkid of the HST Forums

"In order of importance:

1) Satellite cells must be activated, differentiated, and fuse with existing fibers, donating their nuclei.

2) Mechanical stress must be transmitted to the sarcolemma (mechanotransduction) and contractile protein structures within the sarcomeres. This will trigger focal adhesion kinases (FAK) that in turn initiate the downstream signaling events leading to an increase in the contractile and cytoskeletal protein expression/synthesis.

3) pH and oxidative stress must be acutely increased within the muscle fiber.

Focusing just on the workout, this pretty much sums it up. If #1 doesn’t happen, you will not grow…ever. If number two doesn’t happen, you will grow a little, but you will soon reach the limits of the sarcoplasmic/nuclear ratio and growth will stop. If #3 doesn’t happen, you will still grow quite significantly, but the rate of growth might be enhanced or facilitated if #3 is achieved.

#1 is achieved when a certain level of microtrauma is experienced by the fibers. This is brought about by load, eccentric contractions, and to a much lesser extent, hypoxia (A.K.A. #3) When load, eccentric contractions and #3 occur, each fiber will produce and release muscle specific-IGF-1 (sometimes called mechano-growth factor) The IGF-1 in turn seeps out of leaky sarcolemmas and acts on nescient satellite cells to initiate #1. Microtrauma is rapidly reduced from workout to workout (Repeated bout effect) thereby limiting the effectiveness of any given load to induce further hypertrophy.

#2 is achieved by loading a muscle that is actively contracting.

#3 is achieved by contracting a muscle (doing reps) until you create an oxygen deficit and subsequent hypoxic byproducts (e.g. lactate and oxygen radicals).

The afore mentioned physiological principles of muscle growth are what we follow in order to ensure that 1,2 and 3 happen.


First let me clarify that HST is based on physiologically sound principles not numbers. In short, they are:

• Progressive load
• Training volume
• Training frequency
• Conditioning (Repeated Bout effect)/Strategic Deconditioning

So we are dealing with 4 basic issues, Load, Volume, Frequency and Conditioning. Within these basic factors we have reps, sets, and rest. HST differs from previous training methods in many aspects, but particularly in how it incorporates knowledge of how the “cell” physiologically responds to the training stimulus in its methodology. Previous methods focus on effort (A.K.A Intensity), current voluntary strength, and psychological factors such as fatigue and variety.

• The number of Reps is determined by the minimum effective load (this changes over time based on Conditioning)
• The number of Sets is determined by the minimum effective volume (this changes over time according to current load and Conditioning.)
• The Rest between sets is determined by the amount of time required to regain sufficient strength to successfully achieve the minimum effective Volume.
• The Frequency (rest between workouts) is determined by the ability of the CNS to recover sufficiently to maintain baseline “health” indicators. It is also determined by the time course of genetic expression resultant from the previous workout.
• The interval of Strategic Deconditioning (SD) is determined by the time course of adaptation to the individuals maximum weight loads. In other words, SD is required to reset growth potential after plateauing. The duration of SD is determined by the level of conditioning attained during the training cycle.

Mechanical tension on the protein structures of the muscle cells is the primary stimulus for hypertrophy. This tension can elicit anabolic processes with or without damaged to the cell membrane. However, some damage to the cell membrane seems to be critical for the action of autocrine and paracrine growth factors (FGF, IGF-1, etc). Without the activity of these growth factors outside the cell there will be no increase in myonuclei, and thus no significant increase the the volume and/or number of the cells.

Some improvements in muscle cell function do occur even if the number of myonuclei remains the same. These won't lead to significant hypertrophy though. These improvements in muscle cell functional capacity involve ERK1/2. This is the pathway activated most when you get an intense burn and/or train to failure.

Muscle "activity" such as the typical repetition, and the metabolic byproducts and change in the internal millieu of the cell also "contribute" to hypertrophy, but only indirectly. Reps, and fatigue activate signaling proteins and transcription factors that increase protein synthesis. This increase in protein synthesis allows an increase in crucial enzymes, receptors (yes even androgen receptors), membrane and structural proteins. Remember that protein breakdown is also accelerated so the net effect is most often merely a maintenance of muscle protein levels. This is what goes on after each workout when plateauing after years of training.

As mentioned, without the activity of IGF-1 and FGF outside of the cell, satellite cells will not contribute significantly to hypertrophy. The process is dependant on microtrauma at some degree.

Studies have shown that the ability of a given amount of tension to elicit hypertrophy decreases over time in a given muscle. This is because the same adaptive process that leads to muscle growth, also leads to resistance to the stimulus of muscle growth. It has a lot to do with the principle of homeostasis, in other words, the body will always fight further change as it’s changing.

Studies have shown too much microtrauma is a bad thing. The rapid infiltration of immune factors (the primary cause of DOMS) actually causes significant breakdown of muscle proteins and the death of some cells.

Now, the ability of mechanical tension to cause microtrauma to the cell membrane is dependant on the condition of the extracellular matrix. If it is robust as a result of chronic strain, is will take an unaccustomed load to induce any trauma. Your ability to apply this load is dependant on your voluntary strength. Your body is able to protect your muscle cells from microtrauma even when using max loads. It isn't always able to protect tendons.

Anytime you do a set and it burns like crazy (painful burn) you are creating the same conditions of the occlusion studies. In other words, its not that the effects seen in this study don't happen without cutting off the blood supply, they do depending on the type of set. I would guess the vascular occlusion is increasing phosphorylation of MAPKerk1/2. erk1/2 appears to be more sensitive to acidosis, and oxygen radicals, both of which would be increased by lack of blood flow. Although less of a contributor than p38, erk1/2 does appear to contribute to hypertrophy.

Keep in mind that as a muscle contracts, it squeezes the blood out from the blood vessels around it. That is why your blood pressure goes up as large muscle groups contract (even clenching your fists actually raises blood pressure). This is also why pilots learn to contract their musculature to keep from passing out during high G-forces.

Contracting and relaxing a muscle acts like a blood-pump and plays a role in proper function of the cardiovascular system during exercise.

As was mentioned earlier, if you can increase the level of metabolic byproducts, decrease the pH and increase the level of oxygen radicals you will "help" to stimulate hypertrophy. However, this is not sufficient to elicit significant hypertrophy in the absence of progressive loading. In other words, flexing your muscles until they really burn won't really make you grow all that well. But combine it with progressive load and you will facilitate growth.

There is an excellent issue of The Journal of Pysiology that ties in the participation of mechanical strain vs Metabolic strain to muscle hypertrophy. In the issue you will get good explanations of mechanotransduction and how it relates to genetic expression leading to muscular hypertrophy. Its a must read for anybody into the science of contraction induced hypertrophy. J Phys Vol 535 No.1

There are studies showing passive stretch eliciting a greater influence on erk1/2, and less so on p38.

Passive stretch puts the strain of the load on “structural” proteins (both collagenous and otherwise) and the cell membranes. When the fibers contract, it shifts the load to the contractile proteins (myosin, actin, z-discs, etc). This appears to be crucial for activation of p38, which of course leads to significant fiber hypertrophy.

I still like the loaded stretching. I do it where I can, shrugs, incline curls, chins, etc. But not all movements lend themselves to this kind of stretching.

Whether actual detrimental disruption of the structural proteins is required for growth or not is a good question. But what is not in question, is that mechanical (as opposed to metabolic) strain is required. The load must be transfered through mechanotransduction to the cell membrane and contractile structures.

I have used "muscle damage", "microtrauma" and "tissue strain" interchangeably...just easier to grasp I guess.

I would have to argue with the concept of the need for inflammation. With the release (autocrine & paracrine) of intracellular IGF-1 and subsequent activation of satellite cells, inflammation per say isn't required at all...

So, erk1/2 is phosphorylated in response to a drop in pH (lactic acid) and increase oxygen radicals. These are the two primary effects of metabolic activity. Thus, the cell will respond by increasing its metabolic and oxidative capacity in response to increases in erk1/2 and its associated transcriptional factors.

p38 on the other hand is not really effected by either pH or oxygen radicals. It is phosphorylated in respnse to strain on the contractile proteins in a muscle cell. This is why moderate "passive" stretch has little effect on muscle cells in-vitro.

In-vivo is a different situation using stretch. Animal models using stretch are not true stretch conditions because the animal will contract the muscles being stretched. The stretch is like holding onto a set of dumbells for days at a time. You will naturally contract against the pull of the weight by contracting the traps, even if it isn't hard enough to actually shrug the shoulders, you will hold a static contraction as long as you can. Make sense?

This is why in animal stretch studies you see significant hypertrophy associated with both erk1/2 and p38 activity."
- Bryan Haycock

For more information, go here:
http://www.hypertrop.../hst_index.html
http://www.hypertrop...m/articles.html
http://www.hypertrop...cgi?act=SF;f=13
---------------------------------------------------------
Objectivism
http://www.aynrand.org/objectivism/
Hypertrophy-Specific Training
http://www.hypertrophy-specific.com/hst_index.html

#11
BIGBANGSingh

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Here's also a brief critique of Mentzer's system:

"HIT or HD

To understand any comparison to HIT or HD use the following definitions:

Intensity = percentage of voluntary strength. In HIT terms it is equal to “perceived effort”.

Maximum capability - maximum voluntary strength

HST does not equal HIT. Except perhaps that they both have an H and a T in their acronyms.

- HIT's measuring stick is based on strength (performance).
- HST's measuring stick is based on growth (size).

- HIT is based on how hard it feels to lift a weight.
- HST is based on progressively loading the tissue.

- HIT's goal is fatigue.
- HST's goal is hypertrophy.

- HIT is based on a philosophy of stress.
- HST is based on the physiology of muscle cells.

- HIT came from the imagination of Mr. Jones.
- HST came from the research of dozens of independent researchers.

Understand that it is not necessary to train at 100% voluntary strength levels to stimulate "growth". This is one fundamental difference between Hypertrophy-Specific Training (HST) and HIT. HST is designed only to stimulate growth. Strength of course will increase as well during HST training but this is not the primary goal of the method. It isn't necessary to push against a weight that won't move (due to load or fatigue) to induce the necessary strain to muscle that leads to growth.

After years of training I realized that I would never get any bigger training the way I was unless I could get stronger, but I couldn't get any stronger until I got bigger. I had to discover a way to get bigger without getting stronger first. The HST method allows a person to get bigger before they get stronger. Accomplishing this is dependent on frequent loading (hitting same muscle at least 3 times per week), rapid progression in loading (mandatory increase in weight every workout), and Strategic Deconditioning (a week or so completely off to allow the muscle to become vulnerable to the training stimulus).

HIT training takes this "deconditioning" too far. They think the muscle is "recovering" when it is actually past recovery and beginning to decondition thus allowing the stimulus to work the next time the muscle is trained. Unfortunately, the rate of growth is greatly dependant on the frequency of the stimulus. So with HST you hit a muscle at least 3 times as often as with HIT, and growth is greatly accelerated."
- Bryan Haycock

"I used HIT-type training principles before I began to analyze muscle-cell research. It should be understood that HIT and Heavy Duty are not based on muscle-cell physiology. HIT and HD are actually based on Selye's GAS (General Adaptation Syndrome) more than anything. Jones and Mentzer loved to talk about philosophy and logic, but seldom ever mentioned a sarcolemma, MAPk, myogenic stem cells, or even such obvious things as intracellular IGF-1. The reasons they chose to ignore such basic principles of muscle cell physiology remain with them.

HST differs methodologically from HIT primarily in the fact that HIT uses extremely infrequent workouts and requires that the lifter always use 100% RM weight loads regardless of the condition of the muscle. Conversely, HST incorporates a training frequency based on the time course of elevated protein synthesis after training, and weight loads sufficient to induce hypertrophy based on the muscle's current condition. These types of things can't be determined without acknowledging how muscle cells respond to loading, so HIT and HD couldn't be expected to incorporate these methods.

My only other problem with HIT is its blind devotion to "intensity." Intensity as described by Jones, is based on perceived effort, and doesn't necessarily measure a set's ability to stimulate growth of the tissue itself. The authors of HIT and HIT-type routines believed fundamentally in GAS, supercompensation, and the intensity myth perpetuated by popular muscle magazines in the 80's. All three of these principles are, at best, only indirectly related to muscle growth."
- Bryan Haycock
---------------------------------------------------------
Objectivism
http://www.aynrand.org/objectivism/
Hypertrophy-Specific Training
http://www.hypertrophy-specific.com/hst_index.html

#12
DavidV

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BIGBANGSingh, do you realize that you have just added several megs to the database that this forum runs on? If you are copying and pasting content from other sites, it should be just as simple to link that site.

#13
dondigitalia

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Not to mention the annoyance of scrolling past all of that for people uninterested reading all of that information. I, personally, am interested, but as David said, a link would have sufficed.

#14
BIGBANGSingh

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BIGBANGSingh, do you realize that you have just added several megs to the database that this forum runs on?  If you are copying and pasting content from other sites, it should be just as simple to link that site.

Sorry, I didn't know that text took up that much space. The reason I didn't simply link is because I cut out some non-essential portions.
---------------------------------------------------------
Objectivism
http://www.aynrand.org/objectivism/
Hypertrophy-Specific Training
http://www.hypertrophy-specific.com/hst_index.html

#15
BlackSabbath

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I don't want to spend my time debunking Mentzer's theories, because it has been done many times before.  What I will do however, is give you a brief insight into the science of hypertrophy.  Once you study and understand the science, why Mentzer's system is wrong follows readily:

Mentzer's system is superb and I am making steady increases in strength on it all the time.

End of story.

HST looks suspiciously like standard volume training with a few knobs on as far as I can see.

#16
AwakeAndFree

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I am currently looking for a good weight training program.

I considered Mentzer's, but it bothers me that he died from a heart attack at so young an age - and nobody, as far as I'm know, ever asked if it has anything to do with his High Intensity program...

Maybe it has nothing to do with it, but until I hear more about it I will be suspicious of HIT.

Arnold Schwarzenegger's theory may seem wrong - but at least he is still alive and well!

Since my main interest in working out is keeping my health, and growing muscles is a distant second - I need to look at it from the health perspective .
"For here we are not afraid to follow the truth wherever it may lead…" - Thomas Jefferson

#17
Joerj11

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He was 49 and “There was a history of heart disease in the Mentzer family” (Val Segal, close friend to Mike(http://www.bodybuild...un/valinter.htm))

I highly doubt that his heart attack was caused or had anything to do with his training techniques.
To rest one's case on faith means to concede that reason is on the side of one's enemies- that one has no rational arguments to offer. -Ayn Rand

#18
AwakeAndFree

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I heard there are many stories of body-builders dying of heart attack before reaching 50s. I didn't venture to find out yet, since it doesn't occupy my... but I think it's worth finding out.

In an interview at Prodos.com, Mike Mentzer said he recommends working directly on the muscles, without doing parallel aerobic excercise because it doesn't help, and perhaps even hampers, the muscle growth.

Now, it makes sense to me that all that extra muscles take a lot of blood and oxygen to support, and that growing muscles without working on the heart and lungs is therefore dangerous.

Anyway - I don't understand the fascination with mere muscle growth. The ancient greek ideal was far from today's body-building idea of muscles for muscles sake. The greeks sought strength, flexibility, stamina, agility, and above all good health. If you look at the greek statues, you see they are much better proportioned than today's body-builders.

I think, therefore, that the first principle that should guide are our physycal training sessions is not just more muscle - but better harmony, better general physical abilities and better health. I've been looking for the right, balanced, training program for years now, and I haven't found it yet. They are all giving too much focus to just one aspect, and pay almost no regard to the rest.

Can anyone recommend a good program, or a good book on the subject?
"For here we are not afraid to follow the truth wherever it may lead…" - Thomas Jefferson

#19
dondigitalia

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Mike Mentzer said he recommends working directly on the muscles, without doing parallel aerobic excercise because it doesn't help, and perhaps even hampers, the muscle growth.

This is absolutely true. For one thing, it has been proven that resistance training is more effective at burning fat than cardiovascular exercise - both because of the calories burned during exercise, and because more muscle mass means more calories burned (even while resting). The other reason is that after about 7 or 8 minutes of aerobic training, the body releases a whole slough of catabolic hormones and begins metabolizing protien instead of fat. You can sidestep this effect by doing what is commonly referred to as "wind sprints". Wind sprinting means that you push your self as hard as you can for 1 or 2 minutes, then stroll at a leisurely pace until your heart rate begins to drop, then push yourself again. It's still nowhere near as effective as resistance training, though.

#20
dondigitalia

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Can anyone recommend a good program, or a good book on the subject?

I haven't read Mentzer's books, but most of his method that people have mentioned on here is right on par with the things I have discovered for myself (through a lot of research and experimenting) to be true.

#21
BlackSabbath

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I am currently looking for a good weight training program.

I considered Mentzer's, but it bothers me that he died from a heart attack at so young an age - and nobody, as far as I'm know, ever asked if it has anything to do with his High Intensity program...

Maybe it has nothing to do with it, but until I hear more about it I will be suspicious of HIT.

Arnold Schwarzenegger's theory may seem wrong - but at least he is still alive and well!

Since my main interest in working out is keeping my health, and growing muscles is a distant second - I need to look at it from the health perspective .

Heart attacks and dodgy kidneys ran in Mentzer's family.

Mentzer and his brother were genetic freaks in terms of their physiques and genetic dwarfs in terms of their health.

I have heard that Mike Mentzer was not a clean liver and was a heavy smoker but I do not know if that was true.

Besides, volume trainee Arnold Schwarzenegger had heart trouble a few years ago but that had more to do with the fact that his dad had a weak heart than the hours he spent in the gym.

Both Schwarzenegger and the Mentzer brothers

My uncle who never trained and never smoke and never drank had a heart attack in his 30's and died from another one in his 50's. He could have passed for 40 the week before he died.

HIT or any other weightlifting program giving you a heart attack is one of the most bizarre ideas I've ever heard and I can't believe I've seen it on an Objectivist forum.

#22
argive99

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I think the important point in evaluating any weight training method is that they all have elements which cause hypertrophy. Most people will not see any significant difference in size with either a HIT or HST program. Genetics is a crucial factor here and after a trainer becomes advanced, ie after a few years, the bulk of muscle they will ever add is already there. The rest of their training lives will be dedicated to mostly maintaining the mass they already have and adding comparatively little. That being said it is also important to understand that people have metobolic individuality. Some will respond better to different training protocols than others. But there is an expression among weight lifters when discussing muscle growth, "if you were capable of getting huge, you would have been huge already."

So Mentzer's routine will work for most people, as will HST.

Now, to me the philosophical issue here is the more interesting. Mentzer was not an exercise physiologist. Haycock is. Mentzer discovered one type of training that proved effective for body types and declared it the ideal training system for everyone. Here, I feel he erred. I think he approached the subject rationalistically; ie broad priciples unattached to empirical facts. Haycock on the other hand, even though he does not quote Ayn Rand, does seem to ground his methodology on sound empirically provable facts about muscle physiology. There is simply far more science on the side of Haycock's approach than Mentzer's and all the HIT advocates. Bang Sing's long description indicates this.

Personally, I cycle training systems the way most body builders do. I use various HIT potocols and I have started using HST cycles. Both are effective. If you don't have a lot of time to spend at the gym, both are actually good for you. Mentzer's Heavy Duty could be done twice a week. A HST cycle could be done using a three day a week routing allthough with far more sets.

Last word about HIT/Mentzer. Be wary of the low volume. Chances are working out once every four or five days will not be enough of a calorie expenditure for most people. And if you further compound this with a ban on aerobics as most HIT advocates suggest (with this I strongly disagree), you could easliy start gaining weight.

#23
BlackSabbath

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.

Anyway - I don't understand the fascination with mere muscle growth. The ancient greek ideal was far from today's body-building idea of muscles for muscles sake. The greeks sought strength, flexibility, stamina, agility, and above all good health. If you look at the greek statues, you see they are much better proportioned than today's body-builders.

That's because today's athletes, as well as being genetic freaks, are also chemically assisted up to the eyeballs.

Since you probably won't start taking steroids, you'll never end up like that.

Weight training doesn't make you muscle bound anyway.

I've always been a great unco-ordinated lump but even my flexibility and mobility has improved slightly on since I started working out.

#24
AwakeAndFree

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HIT or any other weightlifting program giving you a heart attack is one of the most bizarre ideas I've ever heard and I can't believe I've seen it on an Objectivist forum.

I never claimed to be an expert. B)

But I heard Mike Mentzer say he does not recommend aerobic exercise. I was told many body-builders of Mr. Mentzer's size have a hard time with aerobics, because of that huge extra mass of muscles their heart and lungs have to support.

It seems to me dangerously uneven to develop your body to such an extreme, while neglecting your heart and lungs.

If this is wrong, at least it seems very intuitive.

Now, if you have some contradicting facts - please enlighten me. I profess to know very little of this subject. :angry:
"For here we are not afraid to follow the truth wherever it may lead…" - Thomas Jefferson

#25
MinorityOfOne

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But I heard Mike Mentzer say he does not recommend aerobic exercise. I was told many body-builders of Mr. Mentzer's size have a hard time with aerobics, because of that huge extra mass of muscles their heart and lungs have to support.


Mentzer's claim, as I remember, was that you'll get some aerobic benefits while working out, and that the very fact of having larger muscles would force your heart to grow stronger, since it would have to pump blood faster. Now, I don't know much about physiology, but that does seem pretty dubious: if that's true, than I'm getting an aerobic workout when I drink five cups of coffee in a row, right? Hmm.....

That said, I do get a significantly increased heartbeat during a serious workout, even though I currently limit myself to a couple of minutes on a treadmill as warmup at the beginning of a session. So there are at least some such benefits.

It all depends on what you're looking to do, I suppose. Mentzer was trying to tailor his system for building muscle mass. Given that goal, and his idea that the body has some overall reserve of ability to recover from stress, I can definitely see why he'd recommend against aerobics. And actually, come to think of it, I believe I remember reading something where he said that he wasn't necessarily against aerobics on one's off-days. He said it would slow down recovery, but maybe sometimes that's worthwhile, depending on what you want to do. (I think this was Mentzer, but I'm not entirely sure. In any case, I think it makes sense. I definitely notice that if I do significant aerobic exercise before lifting weights, I can't do nearly as much. And it's pretty much impossible to do it afterward -- hell, it's practically impossible to climb a set of stairs!)


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