Tag Archives: Forced Reps

Heavy Duty – Mike Mentzer


If you follow bodybuilding to the slightest degree then you are well aware of who Mike Mentzer is. In fact, he is the only bodybuilder to ever have a perfect score of 300 at Mr. Olympia. However, he is better known for popularizing a system of training known as Heavy Duty or High Intensity Training (HIT).

The Heavy Duty system involves the use of fewer sets per workout and is considered low volume training. Similar to the Bulgarian style of training, the Heavy Duty system requires keeps warm-up sets to a minimum as the athlete prepares for maximal exertion. In fact the idea is to warm-up the joints and mentally prepare for maximal exertion without fatiguing the muscle at all.

And then smash! The muscles are “HIT” with the most intense techniques known to muscle builders such as forced reps, negative reps, and rest-pause. The rep range is kept between 6 to 9 reps in general depending on the technique used.

Forced reps are ideal for Heavy Duty training as they require few sets. To perform forced reps you will need a training partner to assist you. Use a heavy enough weight that you reach failure around 6 reps. Once failure is reached continue by having your training partner assists you in doing another 1 to 2 reps.

Negative reps involve using a heavy weight on the eccentric (negative) portion of the lift while your partner assists you on the concentric (positive). Additionally, negative reps can be done by lowering the weight slower on the eccentric part of the movement. The tempo could be anywhere from 1-3 seconds concentric, and 4-7 seconds eccentric.

Rest-pause can be introduced into the program in many ways. The first is by reaching failure on any given set around 6 reps, rest a few seconds, and then continue to bang out another 1 to 3 reps reaching failure again. Rest-pause can also include performing singles with short 15-30 second rest intervals between reps until 6 – 9 reps are completed.

Whichever HIT technique you decide to employ is entirely up to you as the end results are the same. The muscles get pulverized, the lactic acid burn is insane, and it is usually followed by extremely sore muscles the very next day.

Heavy Duty is an advanced method of training that is not recommended for beginners. You will need a good knowledge of how your body works and will need to practice warming up the muscles without fatigue in order to effectively use the techniques employed in this system.

Weider’s Forced Reps Principle


Forced reps involve doing an exercise to failure and then continuing to push out an extra rep or two with the help of a training partner. Forced reps are an advanced technique and generate a lot of muscle soreness so there is no reason to exceed three forced reps. If you are able to do more than three forced reps chances are that you didn’t really push yourself to failure.

Forced reps are intended for workouts that use a limited number of work sets. Most often several sets are performed to warm up the muscles before doing a work set. It is only during this top set that failure is reached.

In contrast, this principle can’t be applied to volume programs that are based on a specified number of sets and reps such as the StrongLifts 5 x 5 program, than forced reps won’t work as you are not training to failure on any of these sets.

If you are like me and train alone this is one less tool I have to work with. If you go to a local gym you will always have someone around that can spot you for a set or two. Even one really hard set done with a spotter with a couple forced reps is enough to make serious gains.

Weider Training Principles


I remember learning about the Weider training principles back in my youth while lifting weights in my parent’s basement. The world has changed much since this time and Joe Weider is no longer with us but his mark in the fitness world will never be forgotten.

Joe Weider made many important contributions to bodybuilding including the well-known and almost taken for granted Weider principles.

The number of Weider’s training principles has grown over the years. Throughout this blog I attempt to discuss all of these principles in detail and will be adding them to the following list.

Weider Training Principles