Mike Mentzer’s Workout and Diet Plan: How the Bodybuilder Achieved His Impressive Form

Mike Mentzer’s Workout and Diet Plan: How the Bodybuilder Achieved His Impressive Form

Mike Mentzer was a famous professional bodybuilder who lived in the US and competed during the 1970s and 1980s. He was born in 1951 in Ephrata (Pennsylvania) and passed away in 2001, leaving behind an important legacy and a lesson of courage and ambition. Mentzer is known for his highly intense and efficient training methods, and he has emphasized the concept of “Heavy Duty” training.

Mentzer gained fame for his impressive physique and won a few important bodybuilding competitions. He won Mr. America, Mr. Universe, as well as Mr. Olympia titles. The bodybuilder was particularly renowned for his highly muscular and well-defined physique.

During his glorious career, Mike Mentzer developed a distinct approach to bodybuilding training that didn’t exactly involve long workouts. Instead, his program focused more on short but intense sessions. He believed in the idea of training with maximum effort and incorporating high-intensity techniques in order to stimulate the growth of his muscles. Mentzer’s training philosophy also emphasized the importance of recovery and adequate rest between training sessions.

What was Mike Mentzer’s workout routine?

Mike Mentzer believed in a training approach known as Heavy Duty. He focused on lifting heavy weights and pushing himself during workouts until complete exhaustion. He didn’t even take long breaks between sets, so his sessions were usually done in a maximum of an hour.

Mentzer followed a 2-day workout split, where he trained specific muscle groups only once or twice every week. On the first day, he focused on his chest, legs, and biceps, and on another day later in the week, he trained his biceps, back, and shoulders.

Here is an example of Mike Mentzer’s usual workout routine:

Monday & Thursday: Triceps, Chest, and Lower Body

  • One set x 6-8 reps for Leg Extension super set with Leg Press
  • One set x 6-8 reps for Triceps Pushdown super set with Dips
  •  Two sets x 6-8 reps for Standing Calf Raises
  • One set x 6-8 reps for Toe Presses
  • One or two sets x 6-10 reps for Pec Deck Fly super set with Inclined Bench Press
  • One set x 6-8 reps for Squats
  •  One set x 6-8 reps for Leg Curls
  • Two sets x 6-8 reps for Close Grip Bench Press
  • Two sets x 6-8 reps for Lying Triceps Extension

Tuesday & Friday: Biceps, Back, and Shoulders

  •  Two sets x 6-8 reps for Dumbbell Shrugs super set with Upright Rows
  • Two sets x 6-8 reps for Bent-Over Barbell Row 
  • One set x 6-8 reps for Barbell Curls
  • Two sets x 6-8 reps for Concentration Curls
  • Two sets x 6-8 reps for Nautilus Side Laterals super set with Nautilus Presses
  • Two sets x 6-8 reps for Reverse Pec Deck
  • Two sets x 6-8 reps for Nautilus Pullovers super set with Close-Grip Underhand Pulldowns

What was Mike Mentzer’s diet plan?

Considering that Mike Mentzer became famous decades ago, we need to keep in mind that nutritionists were recommending different diet plans in those times compared to what they recommend nowadays. 

Getting in shape and having a muscular body automatically requires you to follow a strict diet plan, and that was also the case for Mike Mentzer. For a whole day, the famous bodybuilder had to eat at least four meals rich in calories in order to have enough protein, carbs, as well as other nutrients.

Here is Mike Mentzer’s diet plan:


  • One tablespoon butter
  • One cup low-fat milk
  • Half cup of orange juice
  • One cup of oatmeal
  • One slice toast


  • Fried Chicken
  • One scoop of ice cream or a cup of sherbert
  • Green salad with bleu cheese dress.
  • Two granola cookies
  • Fries or baked potato with butter,
  • One cup low-fat milk


  • One cup of cream of mushroom soup
  • Six-ounce sirloin
  • Dinner roll and butter
  • One serving beef
  • One cup of mixed vegetables
  • One slice of pie


  • One peanut butter sandwich
  • One banana
  • One cup of grape juice

Mike Mentzer also tried other workout splits, such as training individual muscle groups on separate days.



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