Why Not Just 1 Set as Mike Mentzer Recommends?

Just saw an old video of Mike Mentzer talking about doing the second set is the biggest mistake you can make.

Interesting theory…

Really about just creating the minimal signal to produce growth and eliminating excess work to recover from.

Now I think he has this backwards.

Some volume is good and helpful for growth.

Doing one extra set to effectively double training volume is a huge ROI.

And the body can recover perfectly from 2 hard sets.

Now doing beyond 2-3 hard-hitting sets close to failure is not only fruitless but sets you back.

I find that one set is okay… 2-3 perfect.

My strongest program I’m doing 4 exercises per movement and just 2-3 sets.

Usually, just 8-10 total hard-hitting sets per workout.

Also, you get a little more practice with 2 work sets.

Mike Mentzer recommended a lot of forced reps and heavy negatives… I find these actually result in impaired strength adaptations.

I tested all this and came back weaker with this style.

For example, to accomplish the one-arm chin-up, I used to try doing slow negatives.

This was not effective.

Doing towel-assisted one-arm chin-ups was infinitely more effective.

I’ve never broken through a bench press plateau with forced reps.

Also, in some cases, anabolics can mask things.

You can do roids and do lots of forced reps and come back stronger, but he’s 90% bang on.

I just disagree with his one-set-to-failure stance.

Two sets are really perfect.

The mind can push very hard if you’re just doing two sets.

But beyond two, you will experience The Law of Diminishing Returns.

Here’s an analogy I envision when it comes to doing sets of an exercise.

  • The first hour of work you make $1000
  • The second hour you make $500
  • The third hour you make $100
  • The fourth hour you make $0
  • The fifth you lose $100

The “money sets” are really the first two.

Plus, often the fewer sets you do the easier it is to come back stronger.

1-3 warm-up sets and 2 hard work sets is the sweet spot because you get the perfect amount of practice, fatigue, and stimulus.

I think with one set, it’s too little practice and stimulus.

And 3-4 sets much more fatigue.

This is all covered in great detail in my latest program…

Lazy Ripped

I consider this program the ultimate plateau-buster.

When you go from lifting 4-6 days per week down to 2 days, recovery is through the roof, and strength and size gains quickly follow.

Here’s how it is setup.

  • 2 months of 2 days per week
  • Alternated with 1 month of 3 days per week.

This is such an effective schedule for volume, frequency, and intensity.

Try it for the next 90 days.

I think you’ll be blown away.

Talk Soon,

Greg O’Gallagher


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