Sunday, November 21, 2021

Beyond Failure Training, Part Five: The Conclusion - Trevor Smith

Now it is time to blast the back and biceps. It is imperative that these two muscle groups are worked together because they are intrinsically linked to each other in their function.  

Any time you are doing anyh pulling or rowing movement for the back you ALWAYS incorporate the biceps. The reason is quite obvious sine you need to use your arms to pull and the biceps are what allow the arm to pull. 

I get a lot of complaints from people with stubborn biceps and as soon as I take a look at their training, the answer jumps right out at me. Incorrect training sequence, and insufficient intensity. They will work their biceps on separate days from their back training and inadvertantly wind up overtraining them because of lack of adequate recovery.

Conversely, I get a lot of complaints from people who cannot stimuate their back . . . 

Here's an interesting book on training the lats, one that deals a lot with feeling and focusing on your lats working when you train them . . . 

. . . and when you see the size of their biceps you immediately find the answer. Huge biceps will often take on the burden of the workload when training back and since they are a much smaller muscle group, they will give out and reach failure way before the back does. This results in overstimulation of the biceps and understimulation of the back. Both of these problems are solved with beyond failure training. 

Starting off the the larger muscle group (the back), we will need to find a way to sufficiently trash and pre-exhaust the back so that when we go to a rowing and pulling movement the back will fail at the same time as the biceps. Now the only way we can achieve pre-exhaustion of the back without including the biceps would be with a pullover machine (or dumbbell pullovers, but the machine is better).

So sitting in the pullover machine with a reverse grip (palms facing up so as to take the triceps out of the movement), we will keep our head and chest pointing up towards the ceiling at all times to totally isolate the back. As with the other bodyparts, we will select a weight that allows us to hit failure at the 8-10 rep mark. At this point your partner will assist you in getting 8 more beyond failure reps. Then the weight is dropped and you continue the set without rest. Once you hit failure -- which will be in 3-5 reps, your partner assists for 6 more beyond failure reps. Again the weight is dropped and the set is continued and once you hit failure your partner pushes you to get 8 more reps beyond failure. Do this for 2 sets.

Next you want to go to a rowing movement. Single arm dumbbell rows or barbell rows are good. Select a weight that will allow you to get 8-10 strict, perfect reps. Only do one set here. These are what I call high breather exercises and I find that it is counterproductive to do drop sets and forced reps with these exercises because you will wind up sucking wind way before you actually stimulate the muscle.

Next go to a machine movement for the back, some sort of pulldown movement. I like some of the Hammer machines, but it doesn't matter. Again we will do 2 sets in the beyond failure style. That is it for back. 

Now we move on to biceps, which are pretty much fried from the back workout. Because of this we will only need 2 sets in beyond failure style to completely destroy them. Machine curls work best here so select a weight where you can get 8-10 and perform the set in beyond failure style with the drop sets and forced reps as you did for back.

At this point your back should be ingorged, tight and pumped and you should have difficulty straightening your arms. A job well done. Go home and rest and enjoy your well-earned 2 days off.

So, to review, the sequence would look like this: 

Day 1: Chest and Calves
Day 2: Shoulders and Tris
Day 3: Off
Day 4: Back and Bis
Day 5: Legs
Day 6: Off
Day 7: Off.

Some of the things you want to keep in mind with this type of treaining is that due to its intense nature, it is imperative that you have adequate nutrients in the system at all times. You need to make sure you are getting 2-2.5 grams of protein per pound of bodyweight each day (juice), along with 2-3 grems of carbs per pound of bodyweight, depending on your metabolism (if your are carb sensitive cut it back to 1.5-2 grams and compensate the calories with extra protein). Fat should be minimal, 40 grams and under.

Rest is highly important when training in this manner, so make sure you are getting at least 7 hours of straight sleep a night along with a good hour nap at some point in the day or evening. If this is not feasible . . . try and get 8-9 hours of sleep per night. 

Lastly, you will find that after 6 weeks (8 max) that you will start to get burned out training this way. At this point simply scale back the number of sets and triple drop beyond failure reps. When I trained Robby for the Masters Olympia  he did not touch a weight the week before the show and the 2 weeks prior his workouts were scaled back to 1-2 sets total. His workouts typically lasted 15-20 minutes at this point, but it was necessary to make sure he wasn't going to go catabolic. If you are peaking, train in this scaled back manner for 3 weeks, cut back on the protein and carbs because you will not need them, and try and get extra rest, maybe even a massage of sitting in a Jacuzzi. 

In closing I would like to make it perfectly clear that I do not think Beyond Failure training is the only way in the world that one should train. There are many paths up the mountain; some are more painful, yet more productive, and some are less painful and take a little longer. It is your choice. The difficulty most people will have in attempting to train in this style is generating sufficient intensity to make sure they are actually going beyond failure, and trusting that the system will work, and fighting the urge to train more (i.e., six days a week). 

All I can say is that I took a 54 year old man who was burned out and washed up and transformed his physique into its all time best condition, and it was done with beyond failure training. When Robby stepped on stage at the Master's Olympia it was clear that he won. They may not have given him the title (and in fact insulted him by placing him behind a clinical dwarf [4'10" Flavio Baccianini], but he knew he won and so did Vince Taylor. Look at the photos. Robbie Robinsion shocked the world that day and was the rightful winner of that show, and it was because of Beyond Failure training. 

Train harder than the next guy, and one day nobody will touch you. 

Enjoy Your Lifting!  



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