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I got this out of the archives and thought it was very interesting.
by hit4life (Harrisburg, Pa, U.S.A.)
Good Morning Gentlemen,
I wanted to speak on the issue of Consolidation training for just a bit. First off, I fear now that Mike Mentzer′s is gone we no longer have his expert advice and direction. I′m sure that he would be able to address a lot of our questions and I′m confident he would answer them correctly and sufficiently so that no doubt is left in your mind to guide your training. I speak with Joanne Sharkey on occasion and she has related to me that John Little does not hold exactly to the principles of HD. Not knowing all of the details, John Little′s ideas or position are blended into Mike′s latest book and since Mike wasn′t around to review it before publication, we don′t know what would have been changed or removed. A number of people claim that Mike contradicts himself regarding certain issues, but as long as I knew him personally and trained with him, there was never any contradiction. He always strived to make HD better, more precise and productive. If you take for instance, HD II, Mike wrote that book exclusively on his own and was able to fully review it before it went out into publication. That wasn′t the case with his last writing. Joanne Sharkey has spoken to me about people who have come along, who studied under Mike and have gone off to sell their own version of HD. John Little, as I understand from Joanne, was a great friend to Mike and agreed on many of his principles and consulted with Mike on many training issues, however, he has formed his own training routines which deviate from HD.
I was such a person who utilized the routine listed in HD 1, when it first came out. I made gains each workout, training Mon, Wed, Fri, however I gained on each exercise by only 1 or 2 reps. At that time, Mike strongly believed that progress could be even better and continued to study and evaluate his principles and the progress of his clients. It wasn′t until HD II that his client′s progress skyrocketed. I was such a person, who within 4 months went from 175lbs to 218 lbs. My fat composition was probably about 10%, all of which did not occur during my training with HD, as I already possessed a very small degree of adipose tissue. I remained extremely vascular with excellent muscle definition and separation. I used the routine outlined in HD II exactly as it is stipulated and made significant gains. As Mike has so adamantly pointed out, as I continued to get stronger, as I did every workout, my progress would eventually slow down and then come to a halt if I didn′t do something to compensate for the ever growing stress on my body. On HD II I was adding 20 lbs each workout plus 2-3 additional reps on all body parts except triceps/biceps. Those body parts increased by 10lbs each workout with 1-2 additional reps, so they didn′t grow as fast. At some point I had to reduce my training volume and frequency. That meant that eventually I had to eliminate the pre-exhaustion supersets, which led me to the Consolidation Routine. While training on the Consolidation Routine, I gained an additional 15 pounds over another two months. I followed the routine just as Mike listed and never experienced any regression in my size and strength.
Just like anything else, it′s all about trial and error. Mike′s routine in HD II was the result of a compilation of all his training clients, where he was able to emphatically say that each and every one of them made superior progress with his routines. Never once did he say that the initial routine was infallible, that it would work for every single individual. He knew that the underlying principles of HD were scientific and sound, they were tried and proven, so it was more than just a theory, it was FACT. You can′t train as many people as Mike or I have trained and see results with each and every person. Every person has to make modifications until they witness progress from workout to workout. It′s that simple. I have had clients who could only perform one set a workout, just like Mike had long before me and although they were literally just a handful, they made tremendous progress every workout. Strength and size are directly related. Al though most people will not witness any visible size increase each time they workout, size will inevitably be yielded. Think about if you made a 10 lb pound increase in a one month period. If you divide that by 30 days, there is no way you would notice a visible increase from day to day. You′re literally talking about an ounce or less a day, which is negligible. If you did witness that type of growth you would reach your genetic potential in about two months. I haven′t seen anyone who grew noticeably from week to week from the onset of their training.
No matter how reluctant anyone is to use the Consolidation routine, if your goal is to keep growing on a regular basis, you will eventually have to reduce your volume. You can′t keep doing pre-exhaustion forever. Your progress will surely suffer if you don′t make an adjustment. I realize all to well about people′s reluctance to do that. It′s so hard for most people to give up what they have been taught about volume training. The so-called evidence and results of volume training are enormous to young people. They see all of the people in their gym doing it and all of the pro-bodybuilders, who are the extreme result (genetic freaks). With all of this visible evidence it′s no wonder that people think the way they do. I understand that completely, because I was there once many years ago. I also was convinced by the surmountable physical evidence of all the big guys in the gym. All of them, without exception, I learned later, were on all kinds of steriods. It′s true they were blessed with great genetics to begin with, but on top of that they were using dangerous drugs to propel them to the top of the sport. I′m sure these guys would have still developed very well without drugs but the peer pressure and notarity is so great that these guys would sell their souls.
HD training is the most intense training of all. It′s not true that if bodybuilders knew it was the most productive they wouldn′t abandon it. From my vast experience with bodybuilders, the genetically gifted, they don′t want to work hard. They like that they come into the gym and rarely break a sweat and build their bodies to enormous proportions. You′re kidding yourself if you think they want to exert themselves. It′s human nature to do what is easy. To take the easy road. As much as I love HD and know emphatically that it is the right way to train, I would be a liar if I told anyone that I would rather strain hard at the gym rather than go through the motions and make the same gains. In all walks of life, people don′t want to work hard. They want the easy life and make lots of money without doing anything for it.
I have trained several individuals who currently compete in natural bodybuilding championships along the east coast. The fact that most of my clients and Mike′s don′t compete doesn′t mean that HD hasn′t produced results worthy of competing. Many people have no desire to enter a contest but they like the look of a bodybuilder. My clients all have very muscular physiques, but they don′t all compete, therefore they don′t make a name for themselves and are part of the "underground" or "unknown" crowd. On the other hand, all of the notable bodybuilders in every magazine and on tv are all volume trainers so that is why volume training is espoused as the superior method of training. Just like Mike has said, there are legions of people, who are the real majority, who have failed using the volume approach. They are the overwhelming majority who don′t exhibit any real development and are most likely vulnerable to giving up their exercise routine and quiting the gym altogether. You can walk into any gym across the country, or the world for the matter, and find legions of average looking people working out. When you compare them to the elite bodybuilders, they far out number the select few who make it to the top. I have no doubt that all of the top bodybuilders could have developed themselves much quicker had they not trained as much as they do or for as long. The drugs they take do wonders to make up for what would be gross over training for the rest of us. I′ve asked bodybuilders that in spite of the evidence of HD, why don′t they train that way? 99.9% of the time they simply don′t believe it without any explanation to back it up. Their minds are so SOLD on volume training that it is realistically impossible to convince them otherwise. I have been commended countless times on my development and have been the subject of scrutiny as other have watched me train and grow and refuse to believe, in spite of the evidence, that my results are from such brief training. If the physical evidence of HD doesn′t make you a believer, nothing ever will.
hit4life (Harrisburg, Pa, U.S.A.)