Mike Mentzer’s Workout Routine & Diet Plan

Born in 1951, Mike Mentzer was one of the earliest superstars in modern day bodybuilding. At the very young age of 12, this phenomenal bodybuilder started training, later entering professional bodybuilding in his teen days.

Mike Mentzer won Mr. Olympia in 1979, but following a defeat the next year, this bodybuilder from Pennsylvania quit the game! However, the wonder he did in the sport still inspires budding bodybuilders.

Mike Mentzer’s workout plan focused on training as hard as possible instead of training longer. According to him, such a method of training helped him build those big muscles.

Mike Mentzer’s diet plan also looks a lot unique, and may look odd to some.

But no matter what, the workout routine and diet followed by Mike Mentzer is undoubtedly effective, he himself being an example.

Mike Mentzer's Workout Routine & Diet

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Further within this article, we will take you through how this bodybuilding legend, or this mystery man as some say, built his physique. So, read along!

Mike Mentzer’s Workout Principles

When it came to training, Mike Mentzer was a great advocate of the Heavy duty method. The method focused on Doing exercises with maximum loads, and doing them till failure in most cases.

He would pick a weight that he could lift for 6 reps, and once completing 6 reps, he would go for a few more negative reps. Also, Mike Mentzer hardly took longer rests between sets.

Therefore, Mike Mentzer’s workout sessions were over within a maximum of one hour.

Furthermore, he trained an individual muscle part only once or twice per week and trained all his muscles within just 2 days!

In other words, Mike Mentzer followed a 2 day workout split during most of his career.

According to Mike Mentzer, following such a heavy duty training program is greatly helpful in building huge muscles. And it was indeed true, as long as we consider the incredible physique which he had in those days.

Mike Mentzer’s Workout Routine

Instead of hitting the gym four or five days a week, Mike Mentzer did all he needed for an entire week within just two days. On the first day, he trained his chest, legs, and biceps; In the next session later in the week, he trained his back, biceps, and shoulders!

Given below is Mike Mentzer’s training routine that he used to follow usually:

Mike Mentzer’s Workout Routine


Monday & Thursday: Chest, Triceps, and Lower Body

  • Leg Extension Supersetted with Leg Press: 1 set x 6-8 reps
  • Squats: 1 set x 6-8 reps
  • Leg Curls: 1 set x 6-8 reps
  • Standing Calf Raises: 2 sets x 6-8 reps
  • Toe Presses: 1 set x 6-8 reps
  • Pec Deck Fly supersetted with Inclined Bench Press: 1 or 2 sets x 6-10reps
  • Close Grip Bench Press: 2 sets x 6-8 reps
  • Triceps pushdown Supersetted with Dips: 1 set x 6-8 reps
  • Lying Triceps Extension: 2 sets x 6-8 reps

Tuesday & Friday: Back, Biceps, and Shoulders

  • Nautilus pullovers Supersetted with Close-Grip Underhand Pulldowns: 2 sets x 6–8 reps
  • Bent-Over Barbell Row: 2 sets of 6–8 reps
  • Dumbbell Shrugs Supersetted with Upright Rows: 2 sets x 6–8 reps
  • Nautilus Side Laterals Supersetted with Nautilus Presses: 2 sets x 6–8 reps
  • Reverse Pec Deck: 2 sets x 6–8 reps
  • Barbell Curls: 1 set x 6–8 reps
  • Concentration Curls: 2 sets x 6–8 reps

That was the exercise routine that Mike Mentzer followed the most. However, he also opted for some other workout splits such as the one in which he trained individual muscle groups on separate days.

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But neither of these workout programs is any easy. You ought to fuel yourself up and give your maximum, if you wish to follow Mike Mentzer’s workout plan.

So, that was how Mike Mentzer trained, but what about what this ‘mysterious” bodybuilder used to eat? Let’s see!

Mike Mentzer’s Diet Plan

Mike Mentzer’s Diet Plan

Before discussing Mike Mentzer’s meal plan, keep in mind that the bodybuilding diet was way different in those days as compared to present days.

Just like the unique workout plan that Mike Mentzer followed, he also committed to a unique diet which some of you might find really odd.

On a day, Mike Mentzer would be eating a minimum of 4 calorie rich meals that served him with sufficient protein, carbs, and other nutrients.

Given below is Mike Mentzer’s diet plan that he used to follow in his prime:


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


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


  • 1 cup cream of mushroom soup
  • 1 serving beef
  • 6 ounce sirloin
  • Dinner roll and butter
  • 1 cup of mixed vegetables
  • 1 slice of pie


  • 1 peanut butter sandwich 1 banana
  • 1 cup grape juice

That was how Mike Mentzer ate.

We aren’t suggesting you follow the diet chart as such. In fact, we will never recommend you eat fried chicken regularly.

No matter what, there is no doubt that such a diet plan helped him build those huge muscles, not ignoring his heavy duty workout sessions!

Mike Mentzer’s Supplements

Mike Mentzer followed a mammoth 6000 calorie diet, which should reasonably fulfill all his nutritional needs. And yes, it was true for him, and taking extra supplements was not something that Mike Mentzer wanted to do.

However, he sometimes took certain supplements, especially when he was going on a low calorie diet or when he couldn’t eat well due to unexpected events in his family or job.

Given below are Mike Mentzer’s supplements that helped him maintain nutritional balance when he couldn’t eat properly:

  • Whey Protein
  • Creatine
  • HGH supplements

These supplements helped Mike Mentzer complete his nutrition plan. Through expert advice, you can also learn what supplements you need.

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The Bottom Line

Mike Mentzer followed a very unique diet and workout style that aren’t followed a lot these days. But looking at the godly physique that this talented bodybuilder had, it is pretty much obvious that whatever he did to build muscles worked well.

So, if you too are looking to build such a great physique, Mike Mentzer’s workout routine is worth trying. But keep in mind that you need to increase your workout toughness only gradually rather than quickly.

Speaking of Mike Mentzer’s meal plan, it is still worth considering trying, as long as you use your sense to swap certain food items with healthier options.