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"Stimulate Don't Annihilate"

Hey yall. I’ve been reading a lot about this type of training made famous by Lee Haney, but theres a problem…at least for me. I do full body 3X/week and the volume in this laid out program contains way too much volume. Not all programs are the same obviously, but all variations basically show 5 or 6 exercises per group, with one set of absolute failure per exercise using drops, rest pause, etc. This seems more geared for the bro split people under 40, which I am not. Would chopping this program into 1/3, three times a week still be too much volume and risk overtraining? I guess my true question is how many times a week can a muscle group go to the failure as described by Mr Haney himself? Thanks for any and all knowledge drops.

Could you write out the program you’re referring to in full, please? Based on that description alone I’m finding it tricky to figure out exactly what program you’re currently doing and the change you’re thinking of making

Please include:

  • exercises
  • sets and reps
  • progression method/algorithm
  • rest periods
  • approximate RPE per set

This is very variable and individual, and I don’t think there’s good literature on this topic yet. Based on anecdote, I’d say as little as 2-3 sets to true concentric failure, per muscle group, per week, is sufficient.

Similarly, there are effective programs that push that figure a good deal further, with up to 20 sets to concentric failure per muscle group, per week being relatively common. Such high volumes are rarely sustained for longer than a week however, and are usually followed up by a deload week (at least, in most training protocols)

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Many BBers back in the day trained everything 3x/week, so you should be fine.

My current program 3X/wk include:

4 sets of everything listed below, every mon, wed, and fri. Every set ends with 2 or 3 reps left in tank. Once my rep range hits single digits, my rest increases from 60 to 90 seconds. Each workout last 80-100 minutes including warmups and piss breaks.

Ring pull ups (weighted included)
Ring dips (weighted included)
Ring rows (weighted included), various angles
Ring pushups (weighted included), various angles
Farmers walk (trap bar)
Deadlift (trap bar)
Leg extension
Back extension (weighted included)
Landmine press
Cable flyes/squeeze press alternating
Curl variants (usually once a week)

I should add that I rarely, if ever, load out to where I cannot do less than 5 reps. So my rep range is always 5+, usually to the 12 mark except for warmups, which I’ll hit 20 slow, form concentrated reps. Yes, I’m 40 now and freak out at the thought of injury. Never thot my mindset would shift like this, but it has and I’m working on it. So there it is. 4 sets each exercise from 12 reps down to 5 or 6 after adding weight. Reason I always leave 2 reps chambered is a ton of past research stating in full body plans, the frequency is more important than the intensity, while leaving 2 reps ensures you’re overall volume helps to not exceed overall intensity. In your respected opinions, would I be safe cutting a set off and go to technical failure on the 3rd?

That seems to me like a reasonable trade-off of volume for intensity.


Yes, probably.

That said, I would alternate between doing a set to technical failure for deads (Monday) the set to failure on back extensions (Friday), and no set to failure on both (Wednesday), since the erectors tend not to recover as quickly as other muscles. I wouldn’t go to failure on both in one session, if youre training those movements and 3x weekly

Just to clarify because that wording was a bit confusing:

Monday: go to technical failure on deadlifts, keep reps in the tank on back extensions
Wednesday: reps in the tank for both
Friday: technical/concentric failure on back extensions, keep reps in the tank on dealifts

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Perhaps instead of reaching the technical failure (not muscular) I would stay at 1 repetition of it, so the fatigue that this failure can induce would be reserved for perhaps the last day of the week, where I will have more than 2 days to return to train and I would recover
As for the weekly frequency, it depends on the person, but at least 2 times a week would be the right thing to do, being close to failure

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Right on… so my take from everyone’s input is to push on with that 1 extra rep per set, and then to take the last set per muscle group (but only 1 exercise for that group) to muscular failure. If I am misunderstanding, please correct me. Thanks again everyone.

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I would stop training to fail several sessions
Training to failure could be used at the end of the mesocycle,
just prior to a 1-2 week training shock, during which time you will recover well

I’m 43 and use 531. The leaders and anchors system works well for me. Lots of sub max work. If i go for broke it’s normally on exercises like press ups. In the anchor phase I go for it on 2 of the weeks, so that’s 2 out of 10 weeks where I push a big compound lift like deadlifts or overhead press.

I’m making gains but never looked like eye dentist or have the knowledge of j4gga or several others on this forum.

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I’ll be honest here, your work-out looks pretty unbalanced at best.

If I was beginner again, training fb three times a week, I’d probably do stronglifts 5 x 5 or I’d find a routine that had my squatting 2-3 times a week, deadlifting once a week and chins, rows, bench, ohp about twice a week etc.