Matt Mendenhall’s Workout Routine and Diet Plan

Matt Mendenhall (1960-2021) was a well-known American bodybuilder in the 80s. He was nicknamed ‘Mr. Genetics’ due to his genetic predispositions that made his physique look impeccable whenever he stepped on the stage.

Despite having a perfectly developed physique, it was quite unfortunate that he could never turn into a pro bodybuilder.

Here in this post, we will be throwing light on Matt Mendenhall’s workout routine and diet plan that he relied on to build and maintain his muscular physique. Let’s get started.

Matt Mendenhall Workout Routine and Diet Plan

Matt Mendenhall’s Workout Principles

Matt Mendenhall had work ethics like no other. Despite being blessed with elite-level genetics, Matt used to train like a freak and it made him a strong contender for the Mr. Olympia title in the 80s.

Matt Mendenhall’s workout plan incorporated good old-school bodybuilding principles and exercises. It was simple yet effective enough to make him look like a muscle monster without compromising on the aesthetics of his physique.

Matt Mendenhall’s Workout Routine

Standing tall at 5 feet 11 inches and weighing around 235-245 lbs, Matt had a perfectly proportioned physique. His well-developed quadriceps and wide back gave an aesthetic appearance to his physique.

Matt Mendenhall’s workout routine was primarily targeted toward packing on lean muscle mass on his frame. He relied on a high-volume training program for that purpose just like many other bodybuilders of his era.

In his prime years, Matt used to hit the gym 6-days a week. He followed an antagonist workout split in which he trained opposite muscle groups in a single training session.

He hit each of his muscle groups twice a week with a wide variety of exercises to adequately stimulate the muscle fibers. On most of the exercises, he performed 4-5 sets of around 6-12 repetitions.

Now let’s have a look at Matt Mendenhall’s workout routine that he followed to hit each muscle group adequately and to pack on quality muscle mass on his frame:-

Matt Mendenhall’s Workout Routine


  • Incline dumbbell press- 5 sets of 6-8 reps
  • Flat dumbbell press- 5 sets of 6-8 reps
  • Barbell decline press- 4 sets of 6 reps
  • Dumbbell flys- 5 sets of 10-12 reps
  • Pullovers- 4 sets of 10 reps
  • Cable crossovers- 4 sets of 10 reps


  • Deadlifts- 4 sets of 6-8 reps
  • Wide-grip pull-ups- 4 sets of 10 reps
  • T-bar rows- 4 sets of 8-10 reps
  • Front lat pulldowns- 4 sets of 10 reps
  • Rear lat pulldowns- 4 sets of 10 reps
  • Seated cable rows- 4 sets of 8-10 reps
  • Bent-over dumbbell rows- 4 sets of 10-12 reps
  • Hyperextensions- 4 sets of 12-15 reps


  • Behind-the-neck overhead press- 5 sets of 6-8 reps
  • Lateral raises- 5 sets of 8-10 reps
  • Rear-delt bent-over lateral raises- 5 sets of 8-10 reps
  • Barbell/dumbbell shrugs- 5 sets of 10 reps
  • Upright rows- 3 sets of 8-10 reps


  • Barbell curls- 4 sets of 8-10 reps
  • Dumbbell curls- 4 sets of 8-10 reps
  • Preacher curls- 4 sets of 8 reps
  • Concentration curls- 4 sets of 12 reps
  • Skull crushers- 4 sets of 8 reps
  • Overhead tricep extensions- 4 sets of 8 reps
  • Cable pushdowns- 4 sets of 8-12 reps
  • Barbell reverse curls- 4 sets of 8-10 reps
  • Wrist curls- 4 sets of 12 reps


  • Squats- 5 sets of 6 reps
  • Hack squats- 4 sets of 8-10 reps
  • Lying leg curls- 5 sets of 10-12 reps
  • Leg extensions- 5 sets of 10-12 reps
  • Standing calf raises- 5 sets of 10-15 reps
  • Seated calf raises- 5 sets of 10-12 reps
  • Calf presses on a leg press station- 5 sets of 10-12 reps
  • Donkey raises- 5 sets of 12 reps


  • Sit-ups- 4 sets of 30 reps
  • Crunches- 4 sets of 25-30 reps
  • Reverse crunches- 4 sets of 20-30 reps
  • Lying leg raises- 4 sets of 20-30 reps
  • Hanging leg raises- 4 sets of 30 reps
  • Russian twists- 4 sets of 25 reps


The deadlift used to be one of Matt’s favorite back exercises. It always acquired a prominent position in his back training routine. However, he used to stop doing it 6 weeks prior to any bodybuilding competition to avoid any kind of probable injuries that may arise out of deadlifting heavy poundages.

Forced reps

Matt always believed in the idea of training to failure. He claimed that by doing so the muscle fibers are subjected to adequate stimulation that promotes both strength and size gains.

Hence, to make sure his muscle groups are adequately stimulated he even used to perform some forced reps at the end of his working sets. This approach did make his workout routine pretty torturous but still, he was able to earn the kind of muscle gains that made him a strong contender for the coveted Mr.Olympia title.

Don’t miss:

Max Taylor’s Workout Plan and Diet
Alex Eubank’s Workout Routine and Diet
Finn Balor’s Workout & Diet
Connor Murphy’s Workout & Diet Plan

Matt Mendenhall’s Diet Plan

Competitive bodybuilders have to stick to a strict diet plan to build and maintain their physiques. And Matt Mendenhall was no different in this regard.

Matt Mendenhall relied on a diet plan that promoted muscle recovery and growth and also kept his physique lean and aesthetic. It had plenty of whole food items that are a rich source of lean proteins, complex carbs, and healthy fats.

When Matt used to prep for a competition he would restrict his everyday caloric intake to just 1800 calories a day. He would also lower his overall fat intake. Doing so gave his physique the kind of conditioning that made him look more aesthetic on stage.

Matt used to consume 4 major meals in a day. So what did Matt Mendenhall’s meal plan look like? Let’s find out:-

Meal 1

  • Protein shake (made with Apple juice, banana, ice, and protein powder)

Meal 2

  • Any seasonal fruit

Meal 3

  • Chicken or fish
  • Vegetables

Meal 4

  • Chicken or fish
  • Vegetables

Foods to avoid

To ensure that he never packs on unhealthy fat on his frame, Matt stayed away from consuming junk foods or food items that are extremely processed or fried.

Even though he never precisely counted his macros or overall caloric intake, he made sure not to feed his body unhealthy food items.

Staying hydrated

To keep his body adequately hydrated, Matt always made it a point to drink plenty of water throughout the day.

Matt Mendenhall’s Supplements

To maintain his big and muscular physique, Matt Mendenhall used to include certain supplements in his nutrition plan. Doing so enabled him to make his nutrition plan as wholesome as possible.

Matt Mendenhall’s supplements stack included the following:-

  • Whey protein
  • Multivitamins
  • Vitamin B
  • Vitamin C
  • Omega 3 Fish Oil

The above-mentioned supplements contribute towards promoting muscle building, fetching the body with micronutrients, assisting digestion, maintaining healthy skin, regulating muscle and nerve function, ensuring proper functioning of the liver, lowering cholesterol levels, and positively influencing the action of insulin.

Don’t miss:

Markus Ruhl’s Workout & Diet Plan
Obi Vincent’s Workout Routine & Diet
3 Day Full Body Dumbbell Workout Plan
5 Day Dumbbell Workout Plan

Wrapping Up

Matt Mendenhall was indeed a bodybuilding legend. And if you want to try out his fitness regime yourself, we would recommend you make certain modifications to it based on your physique and fitness goals.

If you take the assistance of an experienced trainer that will also put you in a position to gain the most out of Matt Mendenhall’s workout routine and diet plan. So give it a shot and see how it works for you. We can assure you that it will elevate your fitness levels to newer heights.