The “One Set to Failure” Workout?

Have you heard of the Heavy Duty program by Mike Mentzer?

It’s a workout program bases on doing one set to failure per exercise.

It makes a comeback every 4-5 years.

I see this method popping up again, so I wanted to give my thoughts on it.

Mike Mentzer back when he was a pro bodybuilder.

*He competed in bodybuilding from 1971 – 1980 and passed away in 2001 at the age of 49.

Mike Mentzer’s Heavy-duty approach was pretty radical.

  • 1 set to failure per exercise
  • 3-4 exercises per muscle group
  • 5-7+ rest days before hitting the same muscle group

This was the general idea.

His approach was so radical because the bodybuilders in the ’60s and ’70s did the complete opposite of this.

Mike’s workout took about 30 minutes.

…and he trained just a few times per week.

The bodybuilders from his era would lift for 2+ hours, 6-7 days per week.

These guys got great results as well.

The thing is… Mike Mentzer’s workout was about 5-10X more efficient.

He got similar results in just a fraction of the time spent working out.

This is his biggest contribution to bodybuilding.

Showing people that you don’t have to live in the gym to get fantastic results.

I like the idea behind Mentzer’s Heavy Duty approach.

I just don’t think it’s perfect.

*Jeeee-zus that is a lot of weight to use for barbell curls.

One of the big problems with Mentzer’s training is it absolutely destroys the muscle.

If you try it you will get incredibly sore.

I have always found that appetite surges quite a bit when a workout causes intense soreness.

Makes is hard to stick to diet and get lean.

Another issue is that it isn’t the best for gaining strength.

The Soviets and Bulgarian Olympic coaches found multiple sets short of failure was better for strength than Mike’s approach.

Safer too.

*You shouldn’t have to kill yourself to gain strength and size.

I believe reverse pyramid training is superior to the “one set to failure” method.

Here’s the setup we use in masterclass.

  • 4-6 reps
  • Rest 3 minutes (and reduce weight)
  • 6-8 reps
  • Rest 3 minutes (and reduce weight)
  • 8-10 reps

The first set builds strength.

The middle set is sort of a power bodybuilding rep range.

The final set is aimed at muscle size.

This combination has been proven to be incredibly effective.

*Reverse pyramid training builds chiseled muscle while staying injury-free.

I believe it is a smarter way to train.

It also keeps the appetite in check.

Makes is easier to get shredded.

I recommend experiencing the ultimate Reverse Pyramid Training routine…

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Talk Soon,

Greg O’Gallagher


I think the thing I like most about reverse pyramids is that initial 4-6 rep set.

I love doing a 4 rep set when I’m fresh.

Using it as the first work set.

This allows you to get F*CKN strong.

*I’m incline pressing 300 pounds for 4 reps here.If you haven’t used this rep setup in your routine you are missing out.

I help guys who have plateaued for years become ridiculously strong in just 3-4 months.

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Life is too short for sticking points.

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