Bodybuilding Articles

Heavy Duty, The Mentzer and Yates Training Sessions

dorian yates and mike mentzer
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There’s many different bodybuilding training philosophies which you can read about online, but arguably two of the best were designed by Mike Mentzer and Dorian Yates.

Mike Mentzer and Dorian Yates

Mike Mentzer was a world class bodybuilder who won the Mr Universe with a perfect score of 300 back in 1978. Alongside being a legendary bodybuilder, he was also respected for his scientific training philosophy – pioneering his famous HIT (High Intensity Training) protocol, ideal for people who want to pack on serious amounts of muscle tissue.

Dorian Yates, nicknamed ‘The Shadow’ – 6x winner of the Mr Olympia also used the HIT method for his own training. There’s absolutely no doubt about it, that Mike Mentzer and Dorian Yates (in their heyday) had two of the most impressive bodybuilding physiques ever. seen.

Arnold Schwarzenegger was famous for training 3 hours per day…his workouts were enormous, doing 30+ sets per workout, relying on heavy weight AND high volume.

This method of training worked for Arnie, however Mike Mentzer and Dorian favoured the complete opposite approach…

What Are Heavy Duty and HIT?

dorian yates training

Lower reps, higher intensity, and very minimal volume. Dorian would do just one maximum effort set per muscle group (excluding warm ups) – the idea was to put 100% into every set and leave absolutely nothing in the tank.

The Heavy Duty and HIT programs that Mike and Dorian followed are programs that don’t require excessively long workouts to build maximum amounts of muscle; but instead mass could be maximized by increasing the intensity via shorter workouts.

Both Mike and Dorian evidently thrived with such methodologies, using low-volume workouts to successfully build amazing physiques.

Thus Heavy Duty and HIT training are essentially the same thing, although Mike and Dorian used the method in slightly different ways.

Dorian’s version had more volume and he trained the same muscle groups more frequently. Mike believed in lifting more slowly during the positive (concentric) part of the movement. However, both trained in similar rep ranges, being 6-10 for the upper body, and 12-15 for the lower body. Both also believed in good form, not just moving the weight, but making sure the muscle fully contracted with each rep.

Putting It Into Action

In order to do such High Intensity Training, it’s important to warm up properly, you don’t just go straight into your heavy set, thus it’s important to implement some warm up sets. This is good for lubricating the joints (to prevent injury), and firing up the central nervous system.

In order to successful apply this training method you have to give 100% in every set, and leave nothing in the tank. It’s not for the faint hearted, and it’s not suitable for beginners (who would favour a slightly higher volume approach – 12-20 sets per workout). Instead, this program is more suited for intermediates, and advanced lifters, who have good form, have a decent amount of muscle mass, and aren’t afraid of going to failure.

You can push each set to failure by…

  1. Getting a Spotter – this is really important as you need to ensure safety, especially on exercises like the bench press, and squat. You can’t take exercises to failure without a training partner – this is an absolute must.
  2. Implementing advanced training methods – such as: rest pause sets, negatives, and forced reps.

An example of a HIT/Heavy Duty routine for chest, shoulders and triceps:

  • Flat bench press – 2 warm up sets (8-12 reps) – 1 working set 6-8 reps
  • Incline DB fly’s – 1 warm up set (8-12) – 1 working set 8-12 reps
  • BB shoulder press – 1 working set 6-8 reps
  • DB side raises – 1 working set 6-10 reps
  • EZ skull crusher – 1 working set 8-10 reps
  • Tricep push down – 1 working set 8-10 reps

The idea is to pick a mixture of compound/isolation lifts, where you go as heavy and hard as possible, whilst maintaining good technique.


This heavy duty and HIT training approach is not for sissies or newbies…it’s hard work, and if done incorrectly, it will surely lead to injury.

If you follow a program like this, it’s absolutely essential to warm up prior to each major lift, and to prioritize recovery in between sessions – through good nutrition, sleep and rest.

You may also need to use additional training equipment, such as a weight lifting belts on exercises such as rows, deadlifts, and squats. On exercises for the chest, shoulders and triceps – Dorian Yates also wore straps to prevent/ease elbow pain.

Nick Screetoni

Nick is a certified personal trainer who's been transforming people's physiques for the last 10 years. Nick's conducted over 10,000 training sessions and his brand LEPfitness is continuously growing (based in Sheffield, England).
Nick Screetoni
  • SEXSLAVE1977 Feb 22,2015 at 5:09 am


    • Mick Madden Feb 23,2015 at 9:32 am

      Don’t forget to take your medication.

  • Lifter Jun 6,2014 at 7:14 pm

    Heavy Duty, properly applied, remains one of the best means towards anyone’s goals. Mike provided the blue print, it is up to each individual to tweak it to suit their individual needs. It continues to deliver for me, having been a Hervy Duty trainer since 1978. When dialed it correctly it demands 100% EFFORT!

  • Vic Jul 17,2012 at 12:54 pm

    I have trained the HIT Mentzer way for 6 years now and haven’t had an injury. Train every 6-7 days and make gains all the time. Found this HIT bodybuilding software called Musclex:

  • RandyG Apr 2,2011 at 11:47 am

    I can testify that Heavy Duty works very well. I had to get used to the extended periods of rest days, but it paid off. I make progress every workout, and the extra rest days give me time to enjoy life. I love working out more than anything on this earth, but while I spent countless hours on Volume, I missed out on a lot of life. So, Heavy Duty is highly reccommended for anyone who wants to keep making gains and still live life. I mean, lets face it. If we all could just stay at the gym and not have to worry about bills, family, work, etc. then it would be easier to dedicate more time to working out more than 3-5 days a week. More then that in some cases. But, people have jobs, family, bills and all that. With the majority of every magazine and every “modern” expert on training telling you that you must workout more than 3 to 5 days a week, it’s no wonder everyone tries to do so. I believe they say that due to the common knowledge that not everyone has the best diet, so they cover their bases by adding more days to the overall standard for fitness.
    In my opinion they are right about one thing. Not everyone eats right, and that just comes with the territory of this fast paced life today.
    My advice,(even if you don’t take it) read some of Mike Mentzer’s books and see if you don’t get anything out of it.


  • jeff Mar 12,2011 at 4:28 am

    I have some chronic shoulder problems from doing too much bench pressing in my youth. I have hurt my right shoulder three times since 1995 and I have also tweaked my right bi. I use a mentzer routine, but only to positive failure:
    workout a. leg press, leg extension, leg curl.
    workout b: db press, db row, deadlifts 5 singles, one set reverse hypers bodyweight.
    workout c: side lateral, reverse pec deck, db curls. cycle once every 21-28 days. One set per except for deads.

  • Lifter Sep 12,2009 at 11:58 am

    Funny you should mention Slingshot Training, I edited the information, before it went on the Net… and was due to be published. It is quite a solid approach, but I still prefer Heavy Duty, which I have been doing since 1978.

  • Steve Jan 24,2009 at 1:14 pm

    How long have you been training? …and what style of lifting (routine) did you do prior to DC? If you are motivated, hop over to the forum and start a log of DC training. A lot of guys on the forum use a heavier volume style of training know as Slingshot Training, and I’m sure a DC log would be of interest to them.

    I do a variation of DC training…a style I call Bulldozer training, and it sure can leave you screaming. Best wishes and keep us updated.

  • jay-c Jan 24,2009 at 8:50 am

    back in wales the uk at team bio gym,merthyr tydfil 5times mr wales lee callahane has joind us and he has educated us on this intense 1set training as we know it dc training thats dog crap training i watched these guys workout and these big boys were screaming like babies but boy were they pumped and job was done in no time they all went home leaving the spectaters still standing bewilldered and lee has gaind alot and tell me he has never been so happy in the gym so here i go dc training for me

  • Steve Jan 21,2009 at 11:01 am

    Hi Jay and welcome to MAB. Have you always performed a more Mentzer-style training, or mor classical HIT?

  • Jay Jan 21,2009 at 3:10 am

    High Intensity training has always worked for me. I have done every type of workout you can think of and none of them worked as well as Mentzer/Yates style of lifting.

    I always lost strength and eventually size when I did the high volume workouts. I will never do that style of lifting again.

  • Steve Dec 27,2008 at 8:38 pm

    I think this style of training is actually better suited for a natural than conventional volume training. The Arnold/bodybuilding magazines type volume training generally works best for only a small percentage of naturals.

    I have lifted using 10 sets or less most of my life, and it has always worked well.

  • Keith Dec 27,2008 at 3:26 am

    I am very interested in learning more about this method of training…especially after watching mark dugdale train with dorian. My only question is…will this way of training work for a natural bodybuilder…

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