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Heavy Duty Returns

Intensity! It’s a word that is casually thrown around and misused throughout the bodybuilding and fitness world. To that end it’s been appropriated by infomercial fitness gurus, CrossFit proponents, boot camp operators and Spin instructors worldwide to describe interval training. Sorry to burst that bubble, but interval training is not high-intensity training, a.k.a. HIT.

It was 1981, and I was into my last rep—or so I foolishly thought—of Nautilus biceps curls on a machine located dead center in Gold’s Gym, Venice, California. I was pulling with every fiber I had, when Mike Mentzer came up and bellowed, “If I held a gun to your head right now and threatened your life, could you get another rep?”

Mike pushed me through another 2 1/4 bloodcurdling reps, and I almost passed out from the pain in my biceps. He had borrowed the strategy from Arthur Jones, the creator of Nautilus machines, who taught that intensity of effort is the most important factor in progressive-weight training.
Markus Reinhardt on

“Mike [Mentzer] liked training me because I worked really hard—and I packed on over 28 pounds during a four-months phase!”

Mike described intensity of effort as “carrying a set to a point where you are forced to use 100 percent of your momentary ability. It is the single most important factor in increasing size and strength.”

With Mike, Ray Mentzer, Casey Viator and Jones gone, Mike’s most visible student, Markus Reinhardt, is redefining what high-intensity training is and why you should incorporate it if your goal is maximum muscle mass.

DY: You’ve been the man carrying Mentzer’s legacy forward as you compete in drug-tested contests. How did you meet Mike, and how long were you his client before he passed away?

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