Mentzer’s Consolidation Training – Our Own Version


If you have been reading AL for a while you might have heard of a guy named Mike Mentzer.  If you have heard of Mentzer you must also have heard of the thing Mike called “Consolidation training” or Consolidated Workout – Heavy Duty’s basic training.

mentzer consolidation training

Consolidation training involves beginners performing workouts with two workouts per day. The first day consists of Squats and Narrow grip underhand pull downs and day two consists of deadlifts and dips. Each exercise is performed at only one set to failure!

Mike calls it “consolidated” since the workouts are especially designed to perform moves that affect multiple bodyparts (for example underhand pulldowns or chins are great for the lats and the biceps while dips hit your chest, triceps and a little bit of your shoulders).

Mike’s Methods are far from perfect but his principles do make sense. Too bad there aren’t too many exercise researches available to him at that time. But the good news is that with a little adjustment – we have incorporated most of his principles and techniques into the Ironthumb system (see for example the Inflitonics and the Omni Contractions). Now we will modify the Consolidation training to become more realistic and effective:

Now did this type of training work for Mike? To tell you the truth – this type of program is not what Mike himself did; he admittedly made most of his gains using multiple sets and high volume as a beginner. You also need to keep in mind that research shows that multiple sets (up to three sets) are more effective than 1 set exercises for muscle growth –J Strength Cond Res. 2010 Apr;24(4):1150-9. doi: 10.1519/JSC.0b013e3181d4d436. – Single vs. multiple sets of resistance exercise for muscle hypertrophy: a meta-analysis.

Yes this type of consolidated training is great and it worked for some of his clients but these are very thin people and those who have never trained to failure before. The main point of consolidated workout is to condition the body using basic compound movements that stimulate multiple muscle groups at once and take them to failure thereby producing shock and growth – since these are also high CNS-exercises.

All these are well and good and you will indeed experience more progress using this Mike’s consolidation training especially since it covers the moves that are most important for stimulating whole body growth which BODYBUILDERS OFTEN SKIP. The problem is that you could do more progress with more volume on the consolidation training especially since beginners can actually handle more volume due to the fact that they could handle less weight which makes it very hard to “overtrain” a beginner.

So my invitation to you is if you are a total beginner you must focus on the consolidation workout for at least a month or until you can squat your own bodyweight for 10 – 15 reps but this time you need to do three sets resting 1-2 minutes per set and 5 minutes per exercise.

Modified Irothumb –style Consolidated Routine:

Day 1:

Squats: 4 sets 10-15 reps

Narrow grip underhand pull downs (if you cannot handle your own bodyweight) / Or Narrow Grip Underhand grip Chins (if you can): complete 40 – 50 reps no matter how many sets it take you (if you cannot do it with your own bodyweight have a spotter assist you up then descend with your bodyweight slowly or assist yourself up by launching yourself from a stool or a bench then slowly lowering your body – AKA “Negatives “)

Day 2:

Deadlifts: 4 sets 6-10 reps

Dips:  4 sets 8-12 complete 40-50 reps no matter how many sets it take you (if you cannot do it with your own bodyweight have a spotter assist you up then descend with your bodyweight slowly or assist yourself up by launching yourself from a stool or a bench then slowly lowering your body – AKA “Negatives “)

Rest for at least a day between workouts then rest for at least two days after day 2 workout.  And don’t try to add any more fancy moves – focus on the basics and this wasn’t meant to be fancy. Until you can squat your own bodyweight (that means if you are 150 lbs, squatting with 150lbs barbell loaded) for at least 10 clean reps you cannot proceed to the basic training regimen.

And another thing: the squats that you will do here are “High bar squats” not wide stance box squats which are almost useless for conditioning.

Note: even if you are an advanced lifter you can still benefit from this program and use it as a plateau-breaker especially if you have been performing very high volume workouts for the past few months. You can perform this consolidation workout for 2 weeks at a time.

More on Mike’s principles on: The Wisdom of Mike Mentzer

So what do you guys think? Has anybody tried Mike’s Training by the way? Eat your eggs, people!

A-Lifter- Don't forget to leave your comment/feedback below.  If this article was helpful, I am sure our book Real Talk Muscle will help you even more in your quest for muscle gain. Check it out you can read the first few chapters as well.
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