The Mentor Workout

Due to my headache struggles this summer, the intensity of my workouts hasn’t been as high as I’d liked. However, this morning I felt great. The gym wasn’t crowded or too warm and an idea for a workout just came to me. I’m naming this High Intensity protocol The Mentor Workout because I borrowed an idea from 3 of my fitness mentors.

  1. Art De Vany
  2. Dr. Doug McGuff (Body by Science)
  3. John Little (Max Contraction Training, Body By Science)

De Vany uses a 15-8-4 protocol when lifting weights. The 15 rep set is done using a lighter weight with the goal of exhausting the slow-twitch muscle fibers. I borrowed this idea. 15 is boring, so I dropped this number down to 10. From there, I increased the weight and did a Super Slow (Body By Science) set. At the end of the set, instead of lowering the weight, I held a Static Contraction for 10-20 more seconds. That idea is from John Little.

The exercises performed:

  1. Leg Press
  2. Seated Row
  3. Chest Press
  4. Bicep Machine
  5. Dips

Each exercise was done to failure. I couldn’t even complete the Dips. I was toast. I still am toast. I’ll probably be toast tomorrow.


Photo by Martin Abegglen


Add yours

  1. I did 10 x 315, 5 x 405, 1 x 455, 1 x 495 normal squats
    Then I did stacked box jumps.

    I finished off with 405 + carriage weight super slow leg press– 4 reps 10 seconds up 10 second down.

    It took me about two to three days to recover.

    I like doing super slow at the end with slightly lower weight than my normal weight for really exhausting the muscle fibers.

  2. Michael,
    Great post. I, too, have been experimenting with the 15-8-4 De Vany protocols and HIT McGuff/Metzer like routines. I like what you have put together. I look forward to tinkering a bit more.

    With that said, I was thinking over the last few days about mixing in unilateral days into the superset slow-to-fast twitch methods with HIT…

    I’ve been doing a lot of standing lately but doing bilaterals. I got this from Conditioning Research, and just searched from there. I’m going to do one week of uni’s and then flip back to bilateral w/o’s with these “mentor workouts”. Here’s a couple of sites of many I’ve looked into:

    On different note, some of the issues I brainstormed with you about months ago are coming to fruition. As always, great to bounce ideas around.


  3. @Zach – Thanks for the comment. I’m going to read those articles in the AM, when I am more awake. 🙂 I’m looking to mix up my workout routine soon. Unilateral seems like a interesting idea.

  4. @Zach – I read the articles and was reminded of some of Pavel’s exercises from Power to the People. I do prefer single arm rows. I’ll play around with the suitcase dead lift. That looks interesting.

  5. Michael,
    Yeah, I’m looking forward to tomorrow. I’m going to do uni’s with some 15-8-4 and HIT like protocols… which I’ve been doing similarly to your routine, but I really like your tweaks and will have to try them. Haven’t done the static contractions but have messed around with “eccentric” contractions and 1/5’s (from De Vany, as well).

    So, my thinking is mixing up this mentor workout (great name by the way, b/c there’s room for some other stuff to throw in there) with bilaterals and unilaterals week to week, I think I’ll have the “controlled variety” that I’ve been seeking. I’m all for mixing things up, but for some reason I find it a bit stressful to implement… until I just started switching up how I conducted my slow-to-fast twitch muscle routines (like your mentor workout) which gives me workouts that never quite let me know what I’m going to get out of them until I stimulate the CNS and get started in the gym. Looking forward to comparing notes with you next time you post on the subject.

  6. @Zach – The only thought I would add is that whenever I incorporate anything new, I do it at 50% intensity and then leave it alone until the next workout. Learning the movement at a lower weight is part of my strategy to stay injury free.

  7. Absolutely concur. Good reminder. I remember a Metzer quote about how given you’re only really going to build 5 pounds max on avg of new muscle mass annually don’t risk injury for an extra pound of gain doing something stupid. Because after all after 10 years (provided that’s your goal) one could steadily and SAFELY add 50 pounds of muscle.
    One impinged shoulder doing something stupid and that and probably nothing else is going to happen. Off to safe & controlled tinkering w/ uni mentor w/o.

  8. @Zach – If you are a young untrained mesomorph then yes a 50 pound muscle gain over a decade is an honest goal. Not for us older, trained ectomorphs though. I’ll be doing a post on this topic soon.

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