Stopping Right at Failure vs Trying to Move Weight After Failure

I was curious if anybody has had better results stopping right at MMF instead of trying to move the weight for 5-10 seconds once MMF has occurred??? I am curious bc I feel like my nervous system is getting destroyed. After my workout days I have a very very hard time sleeping, unable to fall asleep and stay asleep even with ZMA supplement. Any feedback is greatly appreciated!


Can you either explain what MMF is or edit original post to show what the acronym means please? Sorry, I work around way too much military stuff so I’m acronym illiterate now

Momentary Muscular Failure

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Lots and lots of lifters have been successful without doing that.

If you’re having troubles, you should definitely experiment and see if you feel better and get better results stopping before that point.

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Regardless of what your doing if it’s stressing your system and you’re losing sleep because of it back off some. That extra effort is not going make a fig of a difference in you getting bigger or stronger.


Why don’t you try stopping at your MMF for a few weeks instead of continuing for 5-10 seconds more. See if your sleeping (recovery) is improved or not, if your gains are improved or not. What works for you may or may not work for others. I for one would be interested if you could communicate your results.

== Scott==
I guess I missed something? Where did you read anyone has to alter their training to suit his curiosity?

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I mis-read a comment entirely the wrong way and didn’t notice. Deleting my old comment - thank you for bringing this to my attention

You’ll probably get the most bang for your Buck out of your training by stopping the set once you have either grinded through a brutal rep or know you can’t get another in good form. Personally, I would repeat that effort a few more times with the same weight after a rest of about 2 minutes. Although I do superset exercises of antagonist muscle groups, outside of my heavy strength work to open the work out to save time and build work capacity, so the muscle is technically resting during that time that the other muscles are working.

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I can recall some previous HIT ideas to keep pushing it after reaching MMF. Can’t remember who supported it (though it wasn’t Dr Darden).

There is no benefit passing the boundary of your max positive rep effort.

That being said, there is a difference doing a negative rep when you’ve reached MMF, as in the original 30-10-30, due to the fact we are 40% stronger in the negative phase.

Even Dr Darden has backed away from MMF, recommending stopping 1-2 reps short of MMF (though “compensating” with shorter rest in between excercises).

To sum it up, there is a difference between training your muscles and the nervous system. Stay away from grinding after you have reached MMF. Not entirely sure why it affects your sleep, but I remember a couple of too demanding workouts, when I couldn’t get my heartbeat down afterwards - which affected my sleep negatively.

The general consensus on the main T Nation forums is to stop one short of failure on compound lifts

There are many programs here like the ‘40 day workout’ where you go nowhere near failure and get results( still have to work hard)

Beyond failure stuff like drop sets fine for occasional isolation work/small stubborn body parts

I trained for years and years to failure and pushed or pulled on the immovable last rep like an idiot. I took the whole thing of ‘brutally hard work’ as Jones and Leistner described it way back then, way too seriously.

Did way better after doing multiple ( 2 or 3 ) hard sets per exercise and splitting the routine - something else that was frowned upon in the HIT community.

Best example I can point to is pull ups which was the hardest exercise for me from day one. I’d be able to do one set and even if resting 2 minutes which is a long time between sets for me and try another set I’d only be able to do maybe two reps after that first set of 10.

Finally, I took the advice from a guy named Turpin on Darden’s old board who said since I can do a set of 10-12 pull ups to ditch the failure mentality and start doing multiple sets 4-5 reps and progress took off … on an exercise I found very difficult to make any head way with through 38 years of training

The hardest thing about this approach was making myself stop short of failure after it being ingrained in me for so long. But I wish I gotten away from training to failure a much sooner than I did.


I don’t see the point of driving yourself further into a hole. You should back off for a bit and come back going NTF.

I personally like MMF if I am on some sort of 1 set to failure protocol, or something close to it, e.g. Fortitude.

Otherwise, similar to another poster, I will go back to higher volume work, still old school full body, e.g. 5x5, keeping a rep or two in the tank.

Good morning! Thanks for all the feedback, I greatly appreciate it! I took the week off to recover since I felt destroyed and felt sick for a few days. I will get back to gym on Monday and try the advice and report back. Thanks again to everyone! Happy a great weekend and holiday!


im curious what your training look like and how many days a week you are working out ?

Push 1 sets muscle to Failure is the best way to increase hypertrophy.

I go to MMF with perfect form, one set per exercise, no more than 10 exercises per workout, 2x/week…no grinding…and I am fine

I used to go beyond failure and grind and whole my system would be fried

bigmax, I was doing an Upper/Lower split

Monday: Upper body - Vertical Push and Pull, Horizontal Push and Pull, Ab Crunch

Thursday: Lower Body - Leg press, Back Extension, Calves sometimes Leg Curl
*** I don’t do Deadlift due to herinated discs and Degenerative Disc Disease

I would perform 1 set to failure with about 5 second positive and 5 second negative rep speed and continue past for 5-10 seconds.

I will say I probably aren’t hitting my proper amount of protein per day which I plan to fix. I find it very difficult to do so eating whole foods, hoping protein supplement can help that.



How are your results? Getting Stronger and Bigger?

so your doing low volume high intensity approach. I dont get why you dont recover from this.

yeah that style is no bueno for your situation

ideally try a different approach off T Nation for say 8-12 weeks and then can come back to HIT template. Dr Darden has some now where dont go to failure