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Beyond Failure Training

By Trevor L. Smith

It seems every day someone comes along with a new and improved system of weight training scientifically designed to stimulate the muscle fibers unlike any other program ever could. I am so amazed that people are that stupid as to buy into this. The magazines don’t help matters either. One month you read a fake training article on how your bodybuilding hero built his biceps—Hopefully you realize all these articles are Ghost-Written—the next month you get another routine from another Pro that is even better. Those of you who save your magazines need only go back and glance at the last few years of your collection to realize that it is all the same, with only minor changes. Let’s face it, a truly informative magazine that had unique articles each month would be about 25 pages max, so the editors feel compelled to go for quantity instead of quality.

To me, when it comes to reading an article that is talking about a new system of training or nutrition, a general rule of thumb to follow is that if the article is layered with a lot of big, scientific terminology, then crumple it up and save it for the next time you run out of toilet paper. A good writer or teacher has the ability to speak to all facets of society at the same time and a really good writer has the ability to use very simple terms and examples to explain highly technical concepts and theories. A BS artist on the other hand likes to use these big words in an effort to confuse and baffle as many people as possible because people tend to give credibility to people who use big words.

Keeping this in mind, I would like to explain a little bit about the way I train and how it might benefit you in your gym efforts. I call it beyond failure training, because the general rule of thumb is that when the body fails, the set just begins, and it is this philosophy that will cut through all the BS of slow twitch, fast twitch, rep speed, training for size, training for strength that people like to write about.

First and foremost it is imperative to understand that the body is capable of a lot more than we tend to give it credit for. Somewhere along the line in the past few years people have been screaming OVERTRAINING to the point of making me want to vomit. Mike Mentzer’s original heavy duty theories were rather unique and quite sound, but since the release of Heavy Duty 2, the theories have been in outer space. Training a bodypart once every 14 days!!? Give me a break. The body is capable of handling huge amounts of stress and it is true that it needs adequate time to recover, but 14 days is a bit extreme.

Past failure training is very simple and very self-explanatory and few people will ever do it because it hurts just too damn much. It is not fun, it is uncomfortable, it causes pre-workout anxiety and fear, AND IT PRODUCES MASSIVE RESULTS.

The number one element that must be present in past failure training is 1000% Maximal Effort. No being a pussy, no laughing and conversing during or between the sets. It’s fuck or walk time! The other thing that is necessary is a training partner and a one that knows how to spot correctly—sometimes I think I should offer a fucking seminar on how to be a good spotter because every time I ask for one at the gym I invariably get a fucking moron.

Past Failure training demands that when you are doing a set, as you begin to go to failure, where you cannot complete a full range of motion on your own and you are at momentary failure, your training partner assists you in completing an addition number of repetitions with the same weight—say 6-8—before you are allowed to stop. At this point you are in total agony and are pumped beyond belief and whimpering like a little girl who lost her dolly, yet it is not over yet! Your partner immediately drops the weight down around 40% and you continue with the set until you cannot get any more reps. Your partner again assists you to get and additional number of reps until you are fried. Then once again your partner drops the weight so you can continue your journey into no-mans land and once you begin to fail he again assists you in getting additional reps. Then and only then is your set complete. You are in tremendous pain, you are nauseous and dizzy and you want to go home. You feel like you cannot go on, and this is only after one set.

Remember this is a rather different way of training and even for people that are used to training in an intense manner it will be a shock to the system as there is intensity and then there is
I N T E N S I T Y !


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