10-6-10: Time Under Tension vs Failure

Hi Paul,

Before I begin, just a word of thanks for sharing your expertise with us; as I continue my weight training journey, I find myself gravitating to your ideas more and more; e.g. 100 rep set, 350 method, and the recent 10-6-10.

Intrigued by this latest article, I tried it with a few isolation exercises and I enjoyed it. I decided to look at the time as you were demonstrating, and noticed that the entire set took 45 seconds. In fact, a lot of your recent articles seem to be geared toward taking sets to failure within 40 and 70 seconds TUT. Is failure within that time frame the overriding principle; is it failure regardless of the time (e.g. 20 seconds to fail), or are they two sides of the same coin?

Thanks again.


I was curious on how you would implement this protocol? I’m currently running a hybrid of the LRB template, so for example this is how I use it on heavy Leg day:

1)Leg Curl 1-2 sets x 10-6-10 method
2)Squats 5,4,3,2,1,1,1
3)Deadlift 5,4,3,2,1,1,1
4)Lunges 10 minutes

Light Leg day:

1)Front Squat 1x3
2)Leg Press 5x20
3)Split Squat 5x20
4)Leg Ext 1-2 sets x 10-6-10
5)Leg Curl 1-2 sets x 10-6-10

Would this be effective ways of using the 10-6-10 method?

Follow up question: How many sets/exercise? How frequently?

The last line of the next to last paragraph states, “Two sets of a particular exercise should be more than enough.” Frequency is not mentioned, but that is probably up to you.

Lots of good questions -

  1. Failure is defined by you. So if you can’t complete another rep, that’s failure.

  2. Failure is defined by you. If you can’t complete another rep WITHIN CERTAIN FORM, that can be a failure point within a movement/set as well.

40-70 seconds under tension is about right for stimulating muscle growth, so long as loading and the 2 points above dictate that time frame. That time frame tends to fall within the rep ranges we see that have the greatest potential for growth, i.e. 8-15 or so.

As far as sets for the 10-6-10 and frequency, as I said, 2 sets done properly should be enough. And you can spread this method across the training week as you see fit and with appropriate movements. In other words, it probably isn’t going to make much sense to try them with squats, as there is no tension at the top. But for movements with an ascending resistance curve, or where there is tension at the top, then go nuts with it. :slight_smile: