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Started By Adman (Sydney, NSW, Australia)

Started on: 2/6/2005 7:46:53 AM, viewed 5173 times
Ideal routine v Consolidated routine- which is better?

I thought I would post this as its own topic in response to a question asked to me by Krome in a previous thread. One thing Krome, I haven′t heard of Mikes "underground seminar", which you refer to in your post; What is it and where can I find out more about it? Please tell me, as- like you I think- I am a huge fan of Mikes and my respect and admiration for him cannot be put into words.

Anyway, with respect to the ideal v consolidated debate, this is one thing I have never figured out. If you are eventually going to end up on consolidated anyway, why spend time on ideal first? If consolidated is for both super hardgainers and advanced bodybuilders alike, again, why the need for ideal? I can only speak of my own experiences but I, from the time I began using Mike Mentzers training principles, have found that pre exhaustion does not work for me so I have always used the consolidated routine or at least a version of it. You see when I began following Mikes teachings, I was working with the original Heavy duty book so the consolidated routine as we now know it, had not been published. That three day a week routine amounted to overtraining for me and the guys I trained with almost immediately so we scrapped the pre exhaustion exercises and reduced frequency to twice a week and for a time we made great gains. Looking back, we probably still were overtraining. What I find with pre exhaustion is that I′m so chronically fatigued from the isolation exercise taken to failure, that I cannot advance on the compound movement. I would find for example, that whilst training chest, I might progress a bit on the pec deck but when I jumped onto the incine press, I actually did less reps than the week before! I knew instinctively that, since I should never be losing strength and when training correctly, should be getting stronger every single workout, that the answer was to drop the pre exhaustion isolation movement (which Mike said in that book you will end up having to do anyway) and to reduce both frequency and volume which I did and as I said, it paid dividends.

Jump forward a few years to Mikes later books and one can see that even he acknowledged that the routine in HDI was too much for most trainees and in HDIIM&B;, he provides us with two routines; ideal and consolidated. The ideal routine is similar to the one in HDI but allowed more rest between workouts and threw in an extra leg workout to break up the frequency with which the upper body was trained. Everyone knows what the consolidated routine is.

I now focus exclusively on the consolidated routine. I have only started training again recently after a very long lay off. I′m training with a mate at work (I work in a prison and we have our own gym) who has never trained properly before. At first he scoffed at the idea of what I proposed we do. (Thats not enough! What? Only one set? Train once every six days, you′re kidding? blah blah blah- I′m sure you have all seen or heard this type of drivel before). Now of course, as he witnesses strength gains he didn′t believe were possible, he is a total convert! I guess what I′m saying is that if someone asked me for training advice I would point straight to the consolidated routine, I wouldn′t even waste time experimenting with the ideal routine but thats just my take on the situation.

My current routine:

Workout 1.

Squats- 1 set to failure.

Weighted chins- 1 set to failure. (I prefer these to pulldowns since I think they force better technique and eliminate cheating).

Weighted dips- 1 set to failure.

Workout 2.

Deadlifts- 1 set to failure.

Seated machine shoulder press- 1 set to failure.

Calf raises- 1 set to failure.

I train once every 6 days but of course, eventually, as I get even stronger and the stresses become more severe, I will change to once every 7 or 8. Reps are always pretty much 6-10 or so. Remember I have only started back recently after a long break. I use quite a lot of forced reps but never more than two per set. I also do negatives regularly but not on squats or deadlifts as the weights are far too heavy and potentially very dangerous. I never do forced reps on the deadlift either.

This Topic has 35 Replies: Displaying out of 35 Replies:

KR0ME (London, S, England) on 2/6/2005 8:55:11 AM

Hi Adman,

Thanks for your response to my post. Its interesting what you said as your description of finding the ideal quickly leading to overtraining and progressing on to the consolidated, was pretty much where Mike was heading with his workouts. Thats from what he said in the underground seminar.

I have not yet seen this seminar, but Darrell has posted alot of information on it, one of his posts is particularly good with a lot of information , try doing a search for it.

But basically from what I know Mike introduces his super consolidated routine which is only squat/chins rest 7days deadlift/dips. He said it was better then one from HD2 as he still feels there was overlap there so he took out press behind neck and calf raises. He said that he puts EVERYONE on this bare bones program, as it develops all the mass in the body. He said that this will develop the base mass of the body and later you could do some refining (use pre exhaust or rest pause etc)

I have just ordered mine today at IART.COM. Ill give you the link here:


Just scroll down till you find it. Its availabe on audio CD of DVD.



NeuroMass (London, S, England, Philippines) on 2/7/2005 3:00:45 AM


Thier is no doubt that respect Mike′s contribution to HIT but one of the issue that I have in disagreement with him is precisely his recommendation of the CONSOLIDATED (super and Athlete′s routine) routine. I′ve tried it once before and it did not get me anywhere! Anyway the whole PREMISE in the consolidated routine except for the RECOVERY argument does not make a lot of sense to me at all.

Mike use to say that to produce optimum gains one must train the muscle to failure and with proper bio-mechanics then in the consolidated routine he was saying that now you don′t need to train each muscle as effiicently as possible and even INDIRECT stimulation is suffucient enough for optimum gains! He even went so far as saying that NOT TRAINING some muscle may in fact produce better gains as in the case of hamstrings and calves! Pardon me but that doesn′t seem logical to me! Mike did not even differentiate a PRIMARY contractors from a SECONDARY contractors or even ANCILLIARY muscle involvement. He just generalized them all and lace them in one category as if they are all EQUAL within the context of a particular exercsise where in fact they are not. to me DIRECT muscle stimulation is optimum muscle stress while INDIRECT stimulation is just that inferior (mild) stimulation there′s a very big difference between the 2. By the way if NOT training a muscle is bettter and all it takes is INDIRECT EFFECT so why do we have to do pressing movements such as DIPS or FULL RANGE squats? Why not just do DEADLIFT to failure wherein almost every part of the body is involved and that′s it.


mdm (Glasgow, Scotland, United Kingdom) on 2/7/2005 6:14:36 AM

Hi Neuromass,

I really liked your points about direct muscle stimulation. One of the fundamental premises of Mike′s HIT theory is the idea that training a muscle to failure is necessary for progress. In that case, then surely a program designed only around compound movements is a contradiction.

For example, in the deadlift it is the lower back or perhaps the grip that will always fail first, not the legs, arms or upper back. For this reason, your back or your forearm muscles may be receiving a high enough stress to stimulate growth, but all the other muscles will be experiencing a far reduced stress.

So, for example a set of deadlifts to failure may have the same effect on the back as doing a set of back extensions to failure, but the effect on the legs may be only the same as doing a set of leg presses halfway to failure and then stopping. Can you see where the contradiction exists?

I guess it comes down to the old argument of whether compound or isolation exercises are best.


mdm (Glasgow, Scotland, United Kingdom) on 2/7/2005 6:20:58 AM

Sorry, missed a point out!

Arthur Jones said a few years back that he had come to believe that isolation exercises were superior to compounds. His reasons were that it is impossible to work some muscles properly with compound movements. For example the chest of the lats. Traditional methods and compound movements for these muscles are always limited by the strength of the arms and/or the biomechanics involved.

For example, the pec deck and the lat pullover machines mimic the functions of these muscles without being hindered by arm strength, but there isnt a compound exercise (or a free weight one) that exists that exactly replicates the function of these muscles.

In the bench press or dips, the chest is never receiving a full range of motion or full stimulation because neither of these exercises mimic the chest′s function and they are both hindered by arm strength.

Just some points to get a debate going!!


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