Sunday, April 11, 2021

Hardgainer 2.0 Magazine is Out Now



Yes! The new run of Hardgainer 2.0 is ready to go. Treat yourself to a feast of motivation, inspiration and effective training instruction, aimed at both young trainees and not-so-young ones. 

Here is the link to subscribe to new Hardgainer 2.0, which is the rebirth of the legendary training magazine, Hardgainer: 


Enjoy Your Lifting! 


Thursday, April 8, 2021

The One-Hand Deadlift - Tony Rose (1992)

 Originally Published in This Issue (Hardgainer #17) 
More on the One Arm Deadlift here:
In 1914, that wonderful wizard of weightlifting, W.A. (Bill) Pullum, established, at a bodyweight of 122 pounds, a World Record Right Hand Deadlift of 324 pounds.

This was done under strict BAWLA (British Amateur Weight-Lifters' Association) rules 

Number 15 and 16, Here:
which laid down that the barbell should be lifted to at least the lifter's knees. At the conclusion of the lift, the legs should be straight with knees locked and braced. The feet remained astride throughout the lift. The bar used was, of course, a cambered bar. 

Photo Courtesy of 

Just imagine the back strength and astounding grip of a 122-pound lifter in the bantamweight class hoisting 324 pounds under the iron discipline of the BAWLA rules. 

The vice-like grip of the old-time gentleman of the weights was no accident. It came about quite simply by the constant handling of really heavy weights. One and two-handed deadlifting are the supreme tests of grip and back strength.
Let's dwell for a moment on some of the enormous weights lifted in those early days by the greatest deadlifters. Hermann Goerner at once springs to mind. A circus strongman from the tender age of 23, and already a champion weightlifter in his home country of Germany at 21. His circus career took him across the world, including many tours of South Africa.
In 1927 he met W.A. Pullum . . .

. . . and performed officially judged lifts before him. Among them were a right hand deadlift with 602.5 pounds and a left hand deadlift of 501 pounds. He was 36 years old at the time. Under German rules, when he was younger, aged 28, his world record lifts included a one-hand deadlift of 727.75 pounds. It's said that his forearms were 15", upper arm 18" and wrist 9". 

I remember well, Tom Inch, one of the world's strongest me, writing to me in the late thirties and telling me he had a pupil of 154 pounds whom he had trained to lift 440 pounds in the one-hand deadlift. He himself could lift over 500 pounds in this lift. Ronald Walker, the greatest heavyweight Olympic weightlifter we had here in England in the mid-thirties, one-hand deadlifted 441 pounds officially.

The one-hand lifts with both barbell and dumbbell greatly accelerated the development of a mighty forearm and a bone crushing grip. The one-hand deadlift is quite simply, the greatest grip developer the world has ever known.

I could go on and on abut the fantastic old Supermen, but, having, I hope, given you a taste for doing some training on the one-hand deadlift, let's start with how to do it the correct way. 

A cambered bar should be used for a maximum lift, though you don't have to have this bar to train this lift.

The bar should be at right angles to your front, with legs astride the bar (heels 15-18" apart) and remaining so throughout the lift. The bend in the cambered bar should be away from you when you grasp it so that it will roll into the hand when the lift commences. This is very important.

Make sure you have the exact center of the barbell. Then, keeping the back straight, the buttocks low, and bending the knees outward, grasp the middle of the bar with the lifting hand. Place the other hand on the opposite thigh with fingers and thumb turned inwards. 
Hollow the back, keep your buttocks low and start your pull. Keep on pulling even though you feel your grip is failing (and press very hard on your knee with the disengaged hand). I always turned my thumb inside my forefinger (hook grip) when performing this lift, but used a plain grip for training to build up gripping power. 
As the bar passes the knees, turn the disengaged hand outwards and press against the outside of the leg. This helps with the straightening of the legs. Use plenty of trapezius power and keep the shoulder as high as possible as the bar comes up. Hold the finishing position for a count of two.
How do we train this lift? 
Simply by doing it often. One of the great assistance exercises for this is, of course, the overhand grip two-hand deadlift, with a sleeved barbell to slightly increase the circumference of the bar.
Train the one-hand deadlift after your squatting session.
Always use around 75% of your maximum and limit the reps to 4 -- never use less weight than this. Gradually add weight, working up to a single rep, with 3-5 minutes rest between sets. Don't bother using light weights at all on this lift once the style had been learned. It's quite pointless.
For present day strongmen interested in the vintage lifts, one-hand snatching, one-hand cleaning and, above all, the one-hand swing, will all help the muscles used in this lift.
Little pastimes that help the grip are card tearing, bar bending, nail breaking, tearing telephone directories, using grippers and grip machines, and hanging from door lintels until you drop,m and keep trying to break horse shoes. Build up your grip! 
Next: The Two-Hands Anyhow
Enjoy Your Lifting!  


Monday, April 5, 2021

My Heavy Duty Evolution, Part Two- Kevin Dye


The Heavy Duty Legacy Page (by invite):  
Part One is Here:
 Part Two: My Heavy Duty Life
by Kevin Dye
My introduction to Mike Mentzer, and Heavy Duty, began the winter of 1978 while visiting a friend. We both started training at the same time, a year earlier on our 15th birthdays after both receiving Bullworkers (I progressed to free weights Christmas 1977, after realizing my Bullworker could only take me so far). 
During my visit he was proudly showing me his muscle magazine collection, when one grabbed my attention,  . . . a 1976 Muscle Builder with a moustached guy on the cover that could have easily been mistaken for Hercules himself!
Aware of my eagerness to acquire this particular magazine for my own collection, my friend bartered hard, but I didn't care, I had to have that gem regardless of the cost. We finally agreed on two muscle magazines and a cassette holder. I proudly took my newly acquired bounty home to devour the contents. Amazingly, here was a guy promoting a system so far removed from the style of the day, it was akin to discovering aliens lived among us! 
Until then I had slaved away for three months on a Frank Zane style routine, 12 sets per muscle, 5 days per week. But I can't say I had seen anything spectacular for my efforts. That was "the way," so who was I to contest it? Yet Mike did, with conviction and science to boot! I was enthralled by Mike's approach, and immediately became a  fan, buying anything and everything with Mike Mentzer on the cover, or within its pages. Like my vast Bruce Lee collection, my Mike Mentzer amassment soon expanded extensively. 
Then my Dad came across a small bodybuilding shop across the other side of the city that imported various products from the USA; best of all it stocked Mike's Heavy Duty courses! Talk about the "Golden Fleece!" My Dad would go out of his way to get me a booklet each Friday morning . . . despite working 12-hour shifts. As soon as he walked in the door with my latest treat, I'd retreat to my bedroom where I'd read and reread it for hours, until it was firmly ingrained in my subconscious. I embraced Heavy Duty because it made sense. Monday and Thursday I trained legs, chest, and triceps. On Tuesday and Friday, back, delts, and biceps. 
When I was 18 years old, I got the most incredible news . . . Mike Mentzer was coming to Australia! (where I live). This was a few months before the 1980 debacle that changed Mike's destiny, and my perception of bodybuilding contests. I was so excited about going to greet my teen hero at the airport, I literally lost my voice the day of his arrival. I was devastated. I had so much to ask Mike, yet all I could do was to squeak out a request for Mike to sign my Heavy Duty booklet and a picture I had drawn of him. But before we met I struggled to meet find him in the airport. I frantically looked around, without avail . . . until I spotted an Arab looking guy, with a rugged jawline that reminded me of Roger Ramjet. Next to him stood Cathy Gelfo, Mike's girlfriend. He was bronzed, just how I envisioned my hero would be. 
What amazed me immediately was how Mike's chest jutted out from atop his shirt, reportedly his weakest body part. I remember thinking if this was his weakest muscle I can't wait to see his strongest! What struck me next was how his calves stretched the bottom of his pants. Being a calf nut all my life, I was mesmerized, following Mike around the airport like a zombie. My girlfriend and I drove away that day, leaving Mike standing next to Paul Graham, awaiting their lift. The rest of the day my head was buzzing as I anticipated seeing Mike pose that evening at a bodybuilding contest I'd bought a ticket to.
Arriving at the contest, Mike stood in the doorway in a short-sleeved brown velvet top, selling his courses from a suitcase. What could be mistaken for legs hung from his wide shoulders! I had to get a closer look, but trying to be discreet I went to the bar to order an orange juice -- drinks were included in the admission price. While waiting for my order I snuck a look at Mike standing behind me . . . there they were, Mike's freaky triceps . . . hanging over his elbows! I had never seen anything like it, and haven't since, despite meeting most of the champs since then, the cream of the crop in their prime. Champs like Matt Mendenhall, Lee Haney, Lou Ferrigno, Rich Gaspari, Gary Strydom, Lee Labrada, Dorian Yates, Robby Robinson, Albert Beckles, Paul Dillett. Lance Dreher, and Kevin Levrone. While most outweighed Mike, none had the impact Mike did. His charisma was unmistakable. Then again, nothing comes close to meeting your teen idol in the flesh.

Mike ended the bodybuilding show with a rugged posing display, the final proof I needed about the validation of Heavy Duty. I was enthralled to see Mike in all his glory hitting Herculean pose after pose, like I'd statically seen in the various bodybuilding magazines. Mike than answered a few questions, which was ruined by a drunk in the audience who kept badgering him about eggs . . . until Mike ended his tirade, mirthfully asking "You know what eggs are, don't you?" That cracked the audience up! Then the time was up so Mike left the stage and disappeared backstage. I barely recall the drive home that Sunday night, my mind was swirling over from what I had just witnessed. The next day my Heavy Duty workouts took on a whole new perspective, my outlook had changed dramatically, and I have never looked back.
Later that year the bizarre happened; Arnold regained his Mr. Olympia title, Mike was shunted to 5th place, and bodybuilding contests lost their interest to us both. Being just two states away, I spoke to those who were there, who confirmed the fiasco, some witnessing champs smashing their trophies in the car park! 
Shortly after, Mike disappeared from the bodybuilding scene, and despite a brief period where he published "Workout" magazine in 1983, he went AWOL. I continued to train Heavy Duty style, but with an added rest day each week on an ABA BAB setup like Mike and Ray did before their departure. Despite being in my early 20's, the rest day was a bonus, as I felt better recuperated. That was how I progressed with my workouts throughout the 80's, despite dabbling with HIT full-body workouts now and then via Mike's mentor, Arthur Jones, and his protege, Ellington Darden. Being the only HIT advocates around, I was keen to discover for myself what their version of HIT could deliver. My best gains were 2 kgs in 2 weeks on Ell's "BIG" routine! That was, despite my best efforts, after being stuck fast at 78 kgs for two whole years. 

Early 90's I returned to studies to earn a university degree, and coincidentally Mike resurfaced as a trainer. Mike was rewriting his Heavy Duty booklet, so I called him to place an order and to chat. It was great to hear his voice again; Mike sounded firmer that ever about the validity of his system, based upon a better understanding of the practical application of his principles he'd gleaned from his in-the-gym clients. Despite already being a Heavy Duty advocate, Mike's return invigorated me. I even underwent hypnosis sessions to boost my pain threshold and intensity levels. I saved up, being a poor university student, and in 1995 I became on of Mike's clients. This was during Mike's HDII phase, where he was getting all the pieces together to formulate his next stage of evolution. He even offered for me to go into business with him, selling his new Heavy Duty book, but I had to turn him down due to my tight study schedule. 

Mike had some new tweaks he'd been testing out on his clients, yet he was still in an experimental stage. He even stated to me, "You are part of an experiment." His next book was a year away, Heavy Duty II: Mind and Body. I resumed what worked before, and I did quite well on a 3-way split Monday, Wednesday, and Friday.
Late 90's I contacted Mike's biggest client, 280-lb Aubrey Francis. Aubrey was doing 2-set workouts, every 7-10 days . . . and growing bigger and stronger! That peaked my interest and curiosity, and shortly afterwards Mike linked me with Dr. David Staplin, who also used the consolidation routine. Mike's push to get me to change to his ultimate inclination of Heavy Duty was the final prompt, so I switched routines. 
Every Sunday afternoon following a nap so I was 100% fresh, I'd HIT the gym. And while I did well the month I kept with it, the mental anguish of being away from the gym became overwhelming, so I went back to what Mike taught me prior. *I've since come to realize I possess better recuperative powers than most, hence my ability to train more frequently than many trainees and still make consistent progress. 
I grew concerned about an escalating feud between Mike and his former business partner, Brian Johnston (I wrote for his Heavy Duty Bulletin) in 2001, so I wrote Mike an in-depth email in an attempt to squash the beef. 
The following morning I awoke to a slew of emails from around the world informing me of Mike's demise! Having heard Net hype and rumors before, initially I dismissed them, until I got confirmation from a reliable source, Master Trainer Richard Winnett. I went into shock! I had a young son by then, who I went out on daily walks with, The next couple of weeks we went for long, silent walks. I didn't know what to think. It took me two weeks to even let my wife know! She knew what Mike meant to me, yet I couldn't find the words to tell her. 
Fortunately, the good that came from the bad during that grave period was the close, cherished friendship I built with Mike's heir, Joanne Sharkey. She supported me through that horrid time of my life, and we continue to stay in touch, despite our hectic schedules; her keeping the Mentzer legacy alive, me earning my second degree. Mike read his last fateful night on earth. I find deep solace knowing that. Mike touched both our lives, and made us better people for having known him.
Mike's teachings remain with me; they have taken me a long way from the bony skeleton I was back in 1977. My workouts are a far cry from what they once were, out of necessity, due to the poundages I now handle and the intensity levels I generate. Nowadays three sets per workout is my lot . . . six intense minutes that takes me to my limits! And I continue to progress every workout! (I thank my dear friend, and fellow Mentzer student, Bill Sahli 
for helping me simplify to my current point. He knows where it's at when it comes to Heavy Duty and how best to apply Mike's teachings). That speaks volumes for Mike's teachings, as I enter my 50th year on this ball of dust. Each year I get reminded how right Mike was about bodybuilding. He was a man, he wasn't a deity, but I can say wholeheartedly he was more right than wrong. I am living testimony to that. 
Mike was a thinker.
His ultimate goal was to get others to think for themselves. 
The dogma that directed bodybuilding is what started Mike challenging "the powers that be." If Mike left anything behind, it was the belief every aspect of training, and life, should be critically analyzed and assessed, not blindly accepted. 
That magazine I bartered for at a young, impressionable age was the catalyst that changed the destiny of my life. I had a wonderful teacher, one who has served me well throughout my life. He left a profound impression on me, one that lasts the test of time.
"A teacher affects eternity: he can never tell where his influence stops." 
 - Henry Adams. 
Enjoy Your Lifting!      

Sunday, April 4, 2021

On Building Muscle and Strength - Charles Coster (1958)

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Moses Maldonado
 How the hell do you spell symettry.
Always remember this point . . .   

The human body does not react exactly the same way in any two people. 

Also, an individual will not react to the same stress the same way at all times. 

Likewise, -- stamina, recuperative power, general health, etc., will not always be at the same level, and these are factors that will have to be allowed for from time to time, as they fluctuate. 
The chosen task of building a solid muscle and strength structure is a great undertaking that calls for a sensitive, receptive and persistent personality. 
Disappointment is experienced frequently during training schedules; but there is always a reason, and once the cause of the trouble is know a remedy can be applied. 
The important thing is to remain on the alert - so that training errors can quickly be detected. 
Even a successful schedule that is bringing good results should be reexamined occasionally - for it could easily mean that you are ripe for even greater progress on a more demanding routine. 
You may have gained a lot of training knowledge already - but remember there is always room for more. 
Correct eating along appropriate lines is most important. Your body can be likened to an engine - it must have sufficient fuel of the right kind if it is going to function as close as possible to your satisfaction.   
If you desire the best results available to you, a sustained effort is paramount in importance. Spasmodic enthusiasm is not nearly so effective. 
Always try to understand what is happening to your body at the particular time you are doing it. 
Remember - all lifters, from the champion to the novice, have experienced setbacks at one time or another. A particular combination of sets and reps may have brought them good results at one time, but may subsequently seem to lose their effect on certain muscle groups. Then, they would have to make a careful examination of the position, and supply themselves with alternative procedures.   

Staleness is a monster that all athletes in all fields of training must constantly try to forestall and prevent. 

REST also plays a vital part in the weight training world, and for a very interesting reason. Most young lifters are overenthusiastic in their desire to become stronger and better built, and nothing will produce staleness quicker than the prolonged over-expenditure of energy on regular routine tasks. So guard against the risks of staleness by taking regular rest periods -- whether you feel like you want them or not. And of course, the length of your rest will depend entirely upon your type of physique. 

When you can understand, control, and anticipate the problems I have mentioned -- you will be in a much better position to attack your main objective without irritating and unnecessary losses of time caused by baffling sticking points.
As time goes on you will find that your body will respond differently, for better or for worse, to a routine used in the past. 
If your program is well-balanced, you will know exactly how hard certain groups can be worked without handicapping yourself for the following workout.
Alternately, if certain groups are worked to their absolute limit capacity on, for example, Monday, knowledge and control of your own physical capacity will lead you to not expect another peak performance on the following workout, depending on how long you wait to take that next workout. 
Muscle and skeletal aches can also be avoided by a wise grouping of certain exercises. Never "mix" an extensive squat program with a deadlift workout on the same day; your lumbar region can easily become overworked this way. 
Most people have a "weak section" that lags behind the rest, and it worries them. If YOU have a section that needs extra cultivation for a time there are several ways of going about it. One way is to temporarily suspend your general lifting program and concentrate completely on the part that is weak. You may be afraid that your earlier gains will suffer by this experiment, but such will not be the case. Be bold -- concentrate upon your weak parts almost exclusively for a time, giving the other sections of your physique a maintenance workout once a week to prevent any great amounts of loss that may otherwise take place. Don't worry about any minor temporary losses. Once gains are made they are much easier to regain than they were to establish originally. 
If you do decide to strongly specialize the section that is seriously lagging behind, you will have to make several experiments to find out your best way for maximum results. How much training can your particular physique absorb with benefit and how often can this training be done? You will have to make some very thorough experiments before drawing the right conclusions and then proceeding upon definite lines. This response to training and the ability to recuperate from training will vary over the years of your lifting. 
Training of a very high intensity level cannot be put into effect suddenly -- the upper levels of intensity have to reached gradually over time, otherwise the experiment will derail quickly into failure. 
Tone, stamina, and mental toughness must be obtained before you can realistically expect to greatly alter the size and strength of your body; therefore, a foundation based on the fundamentals is extremely important to establish. 
Your mental attitude is most important in determining if your will succeed or fail in this endeavor. Never allow yourself to be ruled by an inferiority complex; but never allow yourself to be ruled by an inflated ego either. 
The importance of mental mastery in your lifting experiments cannot be exaggerated. Like developing an appreciation for music . . . mathematics . . . chess . . . poetry . . . hunting . . . carpentry . . . literature, BIG etc. (hint hint), the task of getting closer and closer to your own level of physical perfection is integral to realizing the full beauty of life. [The shallowness of a one-dimensional, lifting-only "life" leaves much to be desired. Just ask any one of the many whom you've noticed yawn a lot and look longingly at an exit door when you're conversing with them. The problem may be you and not widespread insomnia, moron.] 
Now, the overall problem here can be divided into several parts. There is the beginners stage, the intermediate stage, the advanced stage, and the very advanced stage which very, very few people reach. 
The first phase is simple and straightforward, the second is quite strenuous, the third requires much hard work and determination, and the fourth often requires specialization and fine tuning. 
Whichever stage YOU have arrived at, be thorough in your efforts. The Weider Principles yada yada . . . 
There are, of course, certain arguments against a general, full body workout which are hard to overcome. By subjecting the entire physique to weight training exercise during one single workout, the energy of the lifter becomes dissipated over too wide an area, too vast an array of exercises, and the problem of waning concentration has to be dealt with. Going beyond a certain point, the lifter becomes focused more on just completing the ordeal and has no energy for actually concentrating on what he is doing.
Naturally this can be remedied, often without "splitting" the workout. Using fewer exercises, focusing on the big exercise movements such as squats, pulling and pressing movements will get the job done without ravaging the energy stores of the lifter, stores needed to properly recuperate AND rebuild beyond the previous levels. Factoring in more days away from the gym between these sessions is also to be considered and experimented with.
However, many people do see a higher rate of progress, at times, by dividing or "splitting" the body into "areas" and training more frequently but for shorter periods of time each session. You will have to experiment and find out when this is true for you, and it will be dependent on many, many other non-lifting factors occurring at that time in your life. Just remember that, even though you will be lifting more frequently, you still must not go beyond the point that you can recuperate from before the next session. 

By proceeding in this way, by dividing up the work over more training days, we are able to direct the whole of our energy into a certain section that calls for more attention, which means that some muscles receive specialized attention when the energy of the lifter is at its highest. The amount of work that you will be able to apply in a session to the weakest part of your physique can only be determined by yourself at the start.   

But remember . . . the amount of success you hope to achieve will be closely related to the mental understanding and control you develop over your own body, and your capacity to exercise these special parts will be changing all the time as tone and quality improve. 

When a certain part is particularly weak in relative strength and muscle growth, try to plan the workout so that the muscle receives a maximum amount of exercise stimulation without becoming overworked or jaded. 

Whilst you are trying to remedy a deficiency of nature the keynote must be encouragement -- not punishment. 
Broadly speaking, there are five objectives closely associated with the practice of bodybuilding. Some people are overweight -- and want to reduce. Many people are underweight, and want to increase. Others take to weight training because they know it will improve their general health, whilst the more ambitious want to possess bodies like the physique stars, and others aim at becoming Olympic weightlifters of note. 
Whichever classification you belong to -- once past the foundation stage you will have to plan ahead intelligently in order to get the results you want, and ONE OF THE BEST WAYS TO DO THIS IS BY KEEPING A WRITTEN DIARY, briefly recording the details of all workouts.
If, for example, you experienced outstanding progress about nine months ago, but have recently run into a bad sticking point -- you will not be able to successfully analyze the cause of the trouble unless you possess an accurate training diary to refer to. 
If you have to rely upon your memory alone to trace the cause of the trouble, you may remain baffled (flummoxed!), or draw the wrong conclusions; but a carefully kept training diary can supply you with the key to the problem quite quickly based on the actual facts from the past (perplexed nevermore!).
It is a good thing, a positive thing to work certain muscle groups "hard" . . . but it is equally important to know just how long they should be rested afterwards; and this is where your training diary can also prove its value, for it will enable you to easily compare dates.
Remember -- if you plan to bring yourself to peak condition at a set time, this is something you will have to learn to do, and much of your future reaping of rewards will be controlled by the record of your mistakes in the past. In other words -- unless your mind makes progress with your muscles in this respect you are going to waste a lot of time in unnecessary effort

Whatever your ambitions are -- 
your understanding of "rest" -- "nutrition" -- and "exercise" is most important. 
The Ancient and Mystical Way of the Guinea Pig.
If an experiment is unsuccessful, discard it for now, but realize it may be the key to continuing gains later. A "good combination" of sets/reps/intensity/exercise style/frequency doesn't necessarily mean that it is the "best combination" forever, and the astute person is always on the lookout for some "twist" or "tweak" that will make it even better. 
If you can honestly examine your own affairs and say that you are constantly on the alert, and working just as hard with your mind as you are with your body -- then there will be no mental barriers to strength and muscle building as far as you are concerned, and you will be able to look to the future with confidence.
One detail may be important -- but many details make perfection.
Enjoy Your Lifting!  


Friday, April 2, 2021

My Heavy Duty Evolution, Part One - Kevin Dye

Mike Mentzer
The Heavy Duty Legacy Page (by invite):  
My Heavy Duty Evolution
by Kevin Dye 
My training journey began when I was twelve years old on holiday in the U.K. with my mum. Having had enough of living the sickly, underweight existence I had suffered all my life, spending excessive periods of time in hospitals undergoing test after test to try to discover the sources of my afflictions, I finally made a conscious decision to do something about my fate. In the freezing bedroom I was staying at in my nanny's house, I started doing pushups each morning as soon as I awoke each day. Once my mind was set, nothing got in the way of adhering to my daily ritual. That was the first step of a quest that would change my life. 
Initially, when I was two years old, I used to stop and stare at the TV when a muscleman came on and flexed his muscles to the "popcorn" music (to my parents amusement). Throughout my childhood, Hercules captivated my attention in the endless array of Saturday afternoon movies, as did Tarzan in his many recreations. The more muscular the actor, the more enthralled I became. Gordon Scott was my ideal Tarzan, due to his thick muscular arms and fabulous V-shape . . . the way Tarzan should look from swinging in the jungle all day. 
Among the comics I avidly collected, The Hulk was my favorite "hero." Discovering Bruce Lee when I was ten years old, and seeing his incredible lat spread in "Way of the Dragon" was the final enticement to embrace a bodybuilding lifestyle. In one way or another, muscles played a significant part in my upbringing. 
Gordon Scott (Tarzan), Steve Reeves (Hercules), The Hulk (Himself), Bruce Lee.
Advancing from pushups, I added chinups to my regimen. From 12 to 15 years old, those were the only two exercises I performed. Forget about leg work, what avid bodybuilder cared about his legs? All I wanted was huge arms and the widest back imaginable. Those were the traits my adolescent innocence associated with being a man. After all, didn't a V-shape separate the men from the boys? In my naivety, possessing a V-shape was the equivalent of the Golden Fleece. I wanted a wide set of lats so badly, there was a time I seriously toyed with the idea of "instant results" . . . a paper mache replication of actual muscle. If I had worked out a way to keep them in place under my T-shirt, while not chafing my triceps, I would have happily enacted my wild, outlandish scheme. But the concept wasn't practical, so I had to go along happily with what everyone else did . . . regular exercise. 
The next step from bodyweight exercises was the Bullworker I received for my 15th birthday. Unconvinced at the time that weights were needed,now I had the latest and greatest means towards my goal. After all, the guy in the instruction booklet that came with my new treasure was massive . . . and he relied on a Bullworker to get his incredible build, right? Three days a week, every morning before school, I'd avidly attack my Bullworker workouts. I'd give nothing less than my absolute all one each and every exercise outlined in my wall chart. As far as I was concerned, it was only a matter of time till I'd be a cloned version of 'Mr. Bullworker'. And although it got me so far, nine months later I started to question whether it would take me all the way to the muscleman proportions I envisioned. 
Christmas 1978, my parents surprised me with a set of dumbbells, along with 50 lbs. of weights. Maybe the badgering months earlier leading up to Christmas enticed them to choosing my Christmas gift? No matter the means of obtaining my newfound treasures, I was now in possession of what all musclemen relied on to build their bodies . . . free weights!  
Now, how to use them? What else but turn to the glossy muscle magazines I spied at the paper shop. But which routine was best? I chose a champ who was closest to my build, being among the slenderest . . . Frank Zane. Five days a week I'd train my muscles using 12 sets per bodypart. I took to free weights like a duck to water, and couldn't wait to roll my dumbbells from under my bed each day and start my one-plus hour workouts. About three months in and something was amiss. I wasn't seeing what I'd hoped for from my efforts. Then something happened that, in hindsight, was fate.
Visiting my close friend Roy, who had also been bitten by the muscle-bug, he showed me a vision that changed my whole training outlook. Having accumulated a decent collection of muscle magazines between us, we'd regularly swap and banter for issues the other had. On that fateful Saturday night, Roy showed me a Muscle Builder magazine with Hercules himself on the cover . . . Mike Mentzer. 
Not only did this thickly-set muscleman possess muscles beyond my imagination, the means by which he trained was unlike any other champion of the day! Instantly I knew I had to own this magazine. Roy took advantage of my enthusiasm, but I didn't care. After agreeing on a cassette rack and two magazines in return, the gem was mine.
I stayed up late that night, absorbing everything Mike said. He made such practical sense, and didn't rely on hearsay or dogma, which dominated the training style all the other champion bodybuilders relied upon. "Monkey see, monkey do" was the flavor of the day, along with the catch-cry: "If it was good enough for Arnold . . "; hardly a solid base to formulate an efficient training strategy. I revamped my workouts to what I now understood about scientific principles. A short while later, one Friday morning, my father stepped through the back door, having gone out of his way, after working a 12-hour shift, to purchase Mike's "Heavy Duty" booklet (1978). Finally I had my bible! My workouts and training would never look the same again.  

Instead of training 5 days a week using an indiscriminate arrangement of exercises, I cut back to 4 days a week - Monday, Tuesday, Thursday and Friday. In addition, I cut my sets per muscle to less than half while increasing my effort tenfold. I felt a new surge in enthusiasm and my body responded accordingly. Instantly, it felt right. I liked what I was seeing in the mirror and knew, instinctively, I was on the right path. Over the coming weeks I'd ask my dad to go out of his way to the small bodybuilding store to purchase all of Mike's courses. I couldn't get enough of mike, nor his new and exciting style of training. Along with building up my gym equipment to assist with my new training style, I eagerly purchased any magazine that had Mike in it, which wasn't hard with Mike adorning an array of magazine covers in the '70s.
This was how I trained during the remainder of the 70s, until the early 80s. Averaging 4 sets per muscle and training 4 days a week. It felt right and my body was growing bigger and stronger. Then I read an article where Mike and Ray got together one day, pre-workout, to discuss how their workouts were progressing. Being practical about their endeavors, using their minds to direct their efforts, they came to the realization they hadn't yet recovered from their previous workout, so why train again if they weren't 100%? The answer to their dilemma was to reduce their weekly workouts to three days a week. Naturally, I followed suit and dropped back also, with an accompanying increase in enthusiasm and results. 
The brothers Mentzer laid the groundwork, I needed to direct my efforts and when they made changes, I followed suit. After all, they didn't simply change Heavy Duty on a mere whim; instead, all changes came about based on new findings and discoveries, their ever-evolving physiques reflecting the impact of their alterations . . . as did mine. For many years in the 80s, I trained three days a week. 1/2 body alternated Monday, Wednesday, Friday. Having one less workout a week to contend with was kinder on my joints and central nervous system, while boosting my already insatiable passion for training as intensely as possible.
Under their mentor Arthur Jones tutelage, Ray Mentzer became one of the biggest bodybuilders of the day, at 260 pounds . . . one of the first "mass monsters." Being the same height, 5'10", Ray became my source of inspiration. Ray was training differently from his famous brother, far less than either brother in their heyday. He was down to 8 set full-body workouts, twice weekly! So from 1984 throughout the 80s, I swung between full-body workouts and my prior 3 days a week routine. 
When Mike returned as a trainer, in the early 90s, it was a dream come true! I had my mentor in my life again. I promptly called him to discuss his new outlook, bought his new "Heavy Duty" book, then became a phone-consult client in 1995. 
Instead of training a muscle twice weekly at least every other week, Mike was now of the opinion once weekly was adequate. This was quite the revelation! But as muscles grow during rest and not during the actual workout, it made sense -- rest enhances the muscle building process. So I went on a push/pull/legs split, 1-2 sets average per muscle. These were by far my best workouts so far. I felt better recovered and being fully recovered I as able to apply myself 100% to each and every workout.
This was how I trained until the mid-90s, thrilled with how much better I looked and how much fresher I was for each workout. There wasn't a workout I didn't feel ready and raring to attack. Mike's infield testing, from 2,000+ clients, was what he used to shape his methodology. 
 Then I bought Mike's "Heavy Duty II: Mind and Body" book, and immediately switched to his new formulation . . . legs between two 1/2 upper-body workouts, Mike's Ideal Workout. This worked well, but possessing better-than-average recuperative abilities, I resumed my former 3-way split (Push/Pull/Legs). 

Late 90s, I started hearing about the success Mike was having with his "Consolidation Routine (CR). Mike and I discussed it and to entice me over he linked me with David Staplin. 

"Understanding Recovery: A Wound Healing Model" by David Staplin - 
Dr. Staplin was a big advocate of Mike's CR at the time, as were his many protégés. I did my own research, befriending Mike's biggest client, Aubrey Francis, who was 285 pounds and still growing! Aubrey was a poster child for the potential of brief and infrequent workouts. He was down to 2 sets once weekly and was growing bigger and stronger! Genetics aside, I had to find out what all the hype was about, so I started training every Sunday afternoon, following a nap so I was fresh and ready to HIT the gym. Using a mere 3 sets per workout, a single set of 3 different exercises, I thrived nicely on Mike's CR. In a month, I grew all over! My downfall was psychological, as I'd obsess over being out of the gym, especially as the week progressed and it was Thursday or Friday . . . 4 or 5 days since I last trained. I switched between Mike's Ideal Routine and his Consolidation Routine for many years, one nicely offset the other. Until that time, it was the perfect combination.
Ultimately, I discovered thrice-weekly workouts suited my training needs, psychological and physiological. Once or twice-weekly workouts leave me wanting . . . though I have gained from both. My "home routine" is a 3-way split, 3 sets total per workout. I prefer a push/pull/legs split. Training legs midweek is like getting over a hump. Back day, being one of my earliest obsessions, is one of my favorite workouts. It enables me to end my training week on a high. I now focus predominantly on the basics, the "beast moves," to ensure I get the most bang for my buck. I continue to progress each and every workout, proving Mike was right again -- when a trainee is on the right routine, making adjustments in accordance to their strength levels, progress should be regular and consistent.
I have come a long way on my journey from a naive teen relying on a Bullworker to achieve all his dreams but also, so has my size and strength. If Mike taught me anything, it was not to blindly accept anything, to question it and test out its merit. Over three-and-a-half decades, Mike's words of wisdom continue to direct my training needs, and with each passing year, Mike's words ring truer and truer. He as a ground-breaker, one of a kind, there will never be another. I am thankful Mike came along when he did, at a young and impressionable time of my life, when I needed fact not fiction. For those in search of the truth, Mike's legacy burns bright! 
"You cannot teach a man anything, you can only help him find it within himself." 
 - Galileo Galiei
In Part Two . . . My Heavy Duty Life.
Enjoy Your Lifting!  

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