by Derek Hardy
You may be surprised to find out that Paul Brodeur was born in Canada, because currently he hails from Texas, where it seems fitting for everything is Big in Texas like the desire and heart of a mighty athlete. The first thing you notice when you talk to Paul Brodeur is the deep mighty voice, next if you were to look at his significant physical attributes standing at almost 6 foot 4 and weighing 318 pounds of muscle at 10% body fat he definitely exudes a presence. Add that this guy has put more than a GRAND on his shoulders and successfully descended below parallel and powered out of "the hole" standing heroically, emblazoning his name in the record books, making him one of a select few on Powerliftings ALL TIME top 20 list.
Paul's dad played professional ice hockey and passed on some good genetic attributes. It was the vision of Hercules in the movies that prompted Paul to lift. "I remember, I think it was just after first grade when I showed my mom and dad I could lift the entire 110 pound Sears weight over my head", reflected Paul. "It's been a life time commitment ever since", Paul stated with all seriousness.
Paul is a true Powerlifter to the core and shared many great stories with me in addition to this interview. He is straight to the point, pulls no punches and tells it like he sees it. I had to ask Paul if it would be alright with him if I print some of the more harsh and abrasive opinions on some well known people. Paul told me "Some of those people are friends but when you're wrong or full of it I'm going to say it. If they don't like it they can talk to me about it!"
Paul started out bodybuilding and took second to Platz one year. "Then bodybuilding started changing and I saw the politics and as I talked to other top bodybuilders they spoke about how Weider already has decided who is getting the promotional contract and that's who will be winning the contest, and other crap like this. A nice way to say it is that I'm not fond of Weider. I decided to try something more real by that I mean either you make a lift successfully or you don't, I went on to test my strength in legit Powerlifting contests, you can watch the video and see if a lift is legit."
I asked Paul to give me his impression of the following people:
Antony Clark - "He was very impressive at a young age (benched 520 at 17 yrs. old) but he needs to clean his act up, disenfranchise with Joe Weider and go back to the APF or IPF and do what he has to do under strict judging if he wants his lifts to be considered legitimate."
Dave Pazenella - "Dave was incredible and a true champion, a car wreck took his life and that was very sad, no telling what kind of records he would have set. Dave was a very gifted athlete and a nice man."
Ed Coan - "Ed is a casual aquaintance and an incredible talent, although he is usually chronically injured because he overtrains, too many sets and multiple days a week-THIS IS WRONG. I know Ed would total even more (scary thought isn't it) and be free of injuries if he worked out the way Mike Mentzer says."
Charles Poliquin - "What a joke, it's embarrassing this guy is from Canada. Charles Poliquin is so full of crap, he's trying to re-invent the wheel. What a bunch of B.S. Can you imagine a Powerlifter getting ready for competition benching on an inflatable ball!" What a fool!" (authors note--the ball he is referring to is used by physical therapists to rehabilitate, I observed an athlete using it for rehabilitation of a medial collateral knee injury. This ball is not intended to be used while bench pressing, like I need to tell anyone that who has half a brain).
Fred Hatfield - "I personally know Fred and when we talked about my training he said train 1 set to failure, 1 day a week. I know he has attacked Mentzer and I think Fred is wrong and full of horse crap. Fred's advising gross overtraining volume grandiose @#$% to sell his magazines, books or something. Give the majority what they want to read and anything goes to sell books, even if that means lying Fred. That's the only reason, to sell books, mags, etc. that I can think Fred would promote these FALSE ideas. Otherwise I can't understand it, Fred and I, we both know he's wrong! Fred knows he agreed ONE SET TO FAILURE , ONE DAY A WEEK when we discussed it at the strength symposium! Fred's screwing people with this @#$% and he's going to screw up an athlete's career with that garbage, I know a shot putter that was injured from that false garbage. Volume, multiple set and multiple days training goes opposite of what you should do! I think Fred should publicly apologize to Mike Mentzer, because Mentzer is the only one that has figured it out and presents it with exact clarity. Mike's knowledge truly is the shining example of the correct way to work out, Mike has figured it out and explains it with an exactitude for the truth", Paul bellowed.
I guess I don't need to ask your approximation of Mike Mentzer I asked Paul. Paul said," I think I said it all maybe I could add, in terms of training for ultimate strength and size Mike Mentzer is a genius."
One of the many stories that Paul shared with me, and I had to include it, is his first meeting with "KAZ" and Paul is very good friends with Ted Arcidi as well and they train together on occasion.
Paul has become friends with some of the most popular names in Powerlifting like Bill Kazmier and Ted Arcidi to name a couple, and the stories are interesting to say the least especially if you're an aficionado of muscle and strength. Paul told me of the time he met "KAZ" who had those intense wide eyes, the look he would give would bring everything to a halt when he walked into the room. "I was in the warm up room, and at lifting meets I'm usually very intense and focused. I don't talk much. Suddenly KAZ burst in the room with this enraged look on his face like everyone here is a loser and not dedicated. Then he looked right in my eyes and paused and said, 'YESS', he sat down and Terry Todd came over and said, 'KAZ is wondering if he could warm up with you?' KAZ had never met me I was the new guy on the scene. I said, 'Tell him it would be an honor.' KAZ had two gallons of milk and made some protein concoction and drank one half of it down within seconds! I mean just gulped it down then offered me some and said to me, 'Let's go weigh in!' We were friends ever since then. We identified with each other we know what we go through battling these weights, IT'S A LIFE TIME Commitment!"
DH: Paul what does your workout routine consist of?
PB: I lift One Set to Failure.
DH: How often or frequently do you work out?
PB: Once every 7 to 15 days.
DH: How has that been working for you?
PB: It's been just wonderful, since I decreased the volume and frequency even more, my strength and size vaulted to the sky. Even better I used to have problems with injuries, now I'm healthier and stronger than ever.
DH: Paul tell me more about the injury?
PB: The injury that comes to mind was on the bench press. I was training in preparation for a contest and I didn't realize it at the time. I had all these guy spotting me and my last warm up was heavy and I thought about ending the work out right there. Then they said, "AW come on Paul just hit a big weight for a couple just to get a feel, because the meet is coming up." So because I'm such a competitive guy and easily fired up, I said OK put on a couple more wheels and I wound up injuring myself badly but I learned from it.
DH: What exactly did you learn?
PB: First to pay attention to your training journal, it's easy to get caught up in the excitement and competition. Instinctively great athletes will try and push their limits, most of the time too often; you must allow for recovery and strength increases especially as your lifts get heavier you need more rest. I can recruit many fibers, lift a lot of weight and do a bunch of damage. I have to be very careful and not let others or my emotions and instincts take over my precise meet preparation. When I did I was injured and imploded the muscle and actually ruptured and killed muscle tissue forever. Another thing I would like to say is that correct form is also VERY important to avoid injuries.
DH: Paul I know you're a personal trainer, how is business and how do you train your clients.
PB: My personal training is going great, I have more business then I can almost handle. My clients and I do the same work out one set to failure one time or less a week.
DH: Was it hard to convince your clients to train this way?
PB: With some it took some explaining, and I can dispell all misconceptions and all of my clients train 1 set to failure. The progress of my clients is outstanding, I have clients ranging from doctors in there 50's doing 1,000 pound leg presses while losing 40 lbs. of fat and adding 30 lbs of muscle. I have another lady in her early 50's that has had a total body composition change increasing lean muscle and can perform a good deep squat with 185 for 10 reps. Also, for kids that are looking to gain muscle and strength for sports, I've had great success-one young man comes to mind--Brad Saunders. Brad's mom first signed him up with me he weighed 120 pounds. Brad gained over 100 pounds in two years training with me only once a week. Brad was honored with First Team awards in High School and he has been given a full scholarship to play college ball, and Brad can squat 500 plus for deep reps. I have all of my personal clients documented and recorded in their personal training journals. The basic foundation of the program, 1 set to failure, 1 time a week is the same for every healthy individual.
DH: Paul what is the most popular Powerlifting routine used by the majority of lifters?
PB: I would say Mon, Wed, Fri. and too much assistance exercises, some lifters bench twice a week. Most Powerlifters that work out like this are chronically overtrained with nagging injuries, stressed out, pissed off and acting crazy taking tons of steroids and forcing food down to negate the effects of overtraining and this never negates overtraining! You can only sleep, take and eat so much. This is way too much overlapping as Mike Mentzer has done a fine job in pointing out.
PB: There is another thing I would like to point out. It doesn't matter if a person is a rank beginner or in the upper levels of strength and power, the workout routine should consist of the same foundations that Mike Mentzer points out--a weight training routine must be Brief, Intense and Infrequent--which means this: ONE SET TO FAILURE ONE TIME A WEEK!
PB: I have good genetics but when I was training too frequently and with too many sets, my gains were poor and I was getting injuries all the time. Now that I have reduced the Volume and Frequency to 1 set to failure with 1 workout every 7-14 days, I have the opportunity to reach my peak, optimizing my genetic potential. It's interesting to me that you can have all the great genetics in the world but if you train incorrectly with volume work, you will not realize your ultimate level. And for those who are not blessed with extraordinary genetics and would like to get stronger and more muscular, these people should use Heavy Duty to get the most progress that is possible from their genetics. I say don't limit your genetics, use Mike Mentzer's routine and find out how great it is.
Paul Brodeur is a sincere/honest, and believe it - a nice guy. I would like to again thank Paul for his bluntness and matter of fact no sugar coating honesty. Paul is a dedicated man with a determined, Intense Spirit. Paul told me he is 43 years old and as a result of 1 set, 1 time a week, he is now at the top of his game. Paul would like to reach another Apex in his competitive Powerlifting career. He would like to squat more than he has already. "I have some ideas for goals and I set no limits on what can be done." With the heart, the determination, the devotion to a complete effort of Commitment, focused on realizing a life time goal, Paul has a Strength and Spirit as big as all of Texas and then some. I would like to wish Paul Brodeur ALL THE BEST in securing his POWERLIFTING and LIFE GOALS.
If you have any questions about Mike Mentzer and his Heavy Duty, High Intensity Training workouts, nutrition, etc. Email firstname.lastname@example.org