Trevor Smith's Beyond Failure Training

I noticed the thread about him over at Alpha and decided I’d post what I have about him here. Some articles, some pics, etc. Insane training methodology and the guy was HUGE. Too bad he passed away.

[quote]Beyond Failure Training

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 bullshit. 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 ghostwritten) 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 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 or steroid use, 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 bullshit 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.

Let’s give a quick example: Upon grasping the cylindrical carbohydrate, fat and protein source, the organism used it?s copious muscles of mastication along with sufficient temporal mandibular locomotion to activate the digestive enzymes and begin the process of nutrient absorption which was to take place in the mucus lined acid pouch within the bowels of the creature.
That’s a bullshitter’s way of saying the following: “The guy picked up a cheeseburger and took a big bite, chewed it up and swallowed it”.

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 bull**** of slow twitch, fast twitch, rep speed, training for size, training for strength nonsense 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 ****ing 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. Sooner or later one of the four demons comes along and claims another victim who attempts to travel down the path of Past Failure training. 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 *****, no laughing and conversing during or between the sets. It’s **** or walk time! The other thing that is a necessity is a training partner and a one that knows how to spot CORRECTLY (sometimes I think I should offer a ****ing seminar on how to be a good spotter because every time I ask for one at the gym I invariably get a ****ing 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 60 seconds of work, yet the workout has just begun…
Next time we will delve deeper into this level of intensity and training and give examples of how one would train each bodypart using this style of training.[/quote]

Part 2

[quote]Beyond Failure Training Part 2

By Trevor L. Smith
O.k. let’s get right into it and pick up where we last left off. 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
Now some of the basic rules of thumb with this style of training are:

1.You will tend to need an hour or so to recover from the workout so that you can perform daily functions.
2.You cannot train in this manner for more than 6 weeks if you are doing it properly
3.You can only train once a day for a maximum of 4 times per week.
4.You can only spend a maximum of 45 minutes in the gym per session
5. It is EXTREMELY painful and you will tend to have anxiety before your workouts
6. You must keep all other physical activities to a bare minimum during your 6-week training cycle to insure maximum recovery and energy available for the workouts

t is important that you adhere to these basic rules as they will go a long way to insure that you stay on the path and do not monkey wrench all of your hard efforts in the gym. O.K. now that we have the basic principles of Beyond Failure training, let?s take a look at what a typical leg workout might look like Starting on the leg extension machine and after warming up thoroughly, select a weight that will allow you to get 10-12 clean reps on your own before you would typically fail and end the set.

Begin performing the extensions in a steady manner (1 second up and 1 second down is a good example). Once you start to go to failure, your partner will assist you in completing an additional 8 repetitions past your failure point. At this point it feels like someone is blowtorching your quads. Your partner immediately lowers the weight by around 30-40% and you continue performing repetitions until you once again achieve failure by yourself. Again your partner assists you in completing and additional 6-8 reps and then immediately lowers the stack by an additional 30-40% and you continue performing repetitions until failure at which time you partner once again assists in you completing an additional 8 reps.

FINALLY, the set it over. You may tend to feel nausea and will definitely have trouble standing, but even more trouble sitting as this is doubly as painful. The first set is always the easy part because you have nothing to compare it to and you will find your anxiety levels building when you are about to start your second set of leg extensions. Repeat the exact same procedure as the first set. At the completion of the second set of Beyond Failure leg extensions you will more than likely be ready to call it a day after a total of 10-15 minutes of gym time, BUT it is not over yet.

Next choose a pressing movement for the legs such as squats, leg presses or hack squats. Load up the bar with enough weight that will insure you get 8-10 reps. Have your partner VERY close by to insure a safe spot and perform your set. As you get to failure have your partner assist in you getting only a few reps beyond failure?.say 5 or 6 and call it a day. That is it for the quads. Next it is on to hamstrings which I can guarantee you have no desire to work.

You will only perform 2 sets of leg curls and you will follow the same principles as you did during the leg extensions. However, you have to pay attention to your body and it is quite possible that after one set of leg curls you will be totally fried and have nothing left. This is because the quads are SO pumped and engorged that it is very painful to perform a curling motion with the legs. At this point crawl your ass out of the gym and try not to puke, but if you have to?.let it fly. That?s all she wrote for your leg workout. If you have anything left, you did not train properly. I can guarantee after following these principles your bottle will jump to new levels of growth. Remember if you are going to be in the Venice area and need clarification on these training principles I am occasionally available to put people through my style of training so they can go home with the proper intensity and techniques. Next time we shall take a look at Chest and Calves.[/quote]

[quote]Beyond Failure training Part 3

O.K. Let’s hop right into a Beyond Failure Workout (a.k.a. Demon Training) for the chest and the calves
Now it is important that you first understand the problems that can occur while training certain muscle groups. In this case wewill be talking about the pecs so let’s get right to it. How many times have you noticed that people rarely have both great arms and shoulders AND a superb chest? Conversely, how many times have you noticed someone with a great chest that had great shoulders and arms? There are lots of pros out there that come to mind with this strange phenomenon. Dorian and Lee Haney both had superb upper torsos( back and chest) but left a little tobedesired in the arms and even the shoulders department to some extent. Gary Strydom had a great pair of delts and a greatset of pecs, but sub-par arms. Guys like Dennis Newman have very poor pecs and over-powering delts. Now genetics play a large part in this to a certain extent, but the thing I have discovered about BEYOND FAILURE TRAINING (Demon Training) is that is cuts through all the genetic predisposition?s because it completely annihilates the muscle group worked and does not allow for any one group to over compensate for the other.

If you have over powering shoulders, they are going to do the bulk of the work every time you do a pressing movement for chest. Likewise if you have great triceps, they will get most of the work. The problem is when they give out during a set, you can no longer continue to give the stimulation necessary for the pecs to grow. This is where Arthur Jones comes in. One of the things Arthur was a big believer in was pre-exhaustion and it is also used extensively with Beyond Failure Training. We shall then start our workout with a set of machine flys. Personally I find the Flex pec dec machine to be the best, but whatever is available will be fine. Now I do not recommend using dumbbell flys with this, as your wrist, elbow and shoulder JOINTS will tend to give out before the muscle is thoroughly trashed.

Following the same principles as the leg workout, we start with a pre-exhausting set on the pec-dec machine with a partner right there to offer assistance. Now use a weight that allows 10-12 reps and once you hit that point and cannot complete another rep (in other words when you have hit failure) the set is only beginning and it is time to go BEYOND failure. Just like with legs have your partner or spotter assist you to get 8 more reps. Once the screaming has stopped, you will drop the weight by 30-40% and continue with the set(get as many as you can on your own;usually no more than 3-5 reps) then your partner will again assist you to get between 6-8 reps. Then, even though you are numb, drop the weight another 30-40% and continue with the set having your partner assist you to go beyond failure once you
can no longer get a full rep on your own. Then you are finished. After you are done crying, rest a few minutes and complete another set in the same manner.

Then you move on to a pressing movement…oh, let’s say incline barbell presses. (Now, I like to use the Smith machine because it is a lot easier to work with when doing this type of training.) We are going to do one hellacious set of incline presses in the same manner as above; when failure is achieved, the set just begins and your spotter will help you go past the pain barrier and into the torture zone. Now your chest should feel like you just had a set of 44-DDD implants put in. In other words, they should be hurting and pumped beyond belief. That is it, you are done with chest and it is time to move on to calves, another muscle group that people don’t train properly, mostly because they are afraid to feel the pain.

Now the thing you have to remember about calves is that they are incredibly strong muscles. Think about it, if you weigh 250 pounds or even 300lbs, the calf muscles have to be able to support that entire weight by themselves. In fact each individual calf muscle must be able to support that weight and does in fact do so with great ease. Now once you start running or jumping, the force that is exhibited on the calves is many times greater than just your body-weight and still they manage to do their job. If you doubt this, just ask yourselves how many fat, obese people you have seen with awesome calves? My guess would be many. In fact, the biggest and best calves I have ever seen were on a ****ing massively obese guy who was in line in front of me at the grocery store. The reason for that is because the calf muscles on that whale HAD to respond to his massive weight and grow, otherwise he would not be able to walk. He
was putting them through a vicious workout each time he stepped towards the refrigerator to get another box of fudge-sticks.

Now if you want to have great calves you have to subject them to the same type of torture and doing 3 sets of 10 on the donkey calf machine ain’t gonna cut it. You have to destroy them with beyond failure training. So let’s move on to 2 sets of say seated calf raises. Load the machine up with enough weight were you will fail on say the 10th or 12th reps; then you will have your partner repeat the same procedure as with legs and chest. Go Beyond Failure and then drop the weight and go Beyond Failure again, THEN when you have had enough pain, drop the weight and GO BEYOND FAILURE AGAIN.

I call this DEMON TRAINING, because during the course of each session you will invariably be faced with each of the FOUR DEMONS. It is up to you whether you face them with courage, or use the ***** crutch of “Over-training” or some other excuse to convince yourself not to push so hard and enter into the torture
zone with each training session. If you are one of those types, go type in the address of anyone of the dozens of other bodybuilding sites as 99.9% of them all suck and are for ***** wannabes…
Next time we look at shoulders and triceps…[/quote]

(Since I imagine people are wondering what the fuck he’s talking about with “Four Demons”, here’s the pertinent article)-

Four Demons

By Trevor Smith

Here is something that I learned in my years of Martial Arts training. It is an interesting little Zen story that applies to everyone, and to everything when pursuing a goal.

Training is not something that should be taken lightly. Each moment in the gym is a gift from the heavens that allows you to focus on yourself and supply yourself with much needed introspection. It is akin to meditation. During your workout, the outside world should not exist. Your concentration should be at peak levels. Mentally, physically and spiritually connecting to every fiber in your body and harnessing all your energy for the task at hand.

Sadly, so few take this opportunity. Yes, they may go into the gym, but for a staggering number of would be bodybuilders, the gym is a place to garner accolades and attention from everyone around them. They walk into the gym in matching outfits, carefully put together so that they are noticed. They stop and talk to 5 or 6 people before they even pass the front counter of the gym, and when on the floor, they talk to another 5 or 6 more. Their focus is split into 80 different directions. For them the gym is a place to impress those smaller or weaker than them, to get people to notice their arms or their legs, or to get people to notice how much weight they can bench. Every girl who walks by in a revealing outfit is approached by these guys, for the gym is more of a social club than a place of sanctity.

When I see these people I laugh to myself. Fools often have no idea what it is they are missing and it is quite entertaining to watch them in action. To me, the gym is no different that the Dojo and there is certainly no bullshit going on in any Dojo that I have trained or taught in.

Beneath all suffering lies the beauty of opportunity … That saying came to me after a grueling training session in Jiu-Jutsu and as everyone else was heading home to rest their battered bodies, I was faced with the un-welcomed task of heading to the gym for my scheduled workout. I thought to myself what the Zen masters always knew …that no matter how harsh the situation there is something to be gained…something wonderful .hence I wrote “Beneath All Suffering Lies The Beauty Of Opportunity” and I headed for the gym to complete my workout.

When I am in the gym, I talk with no one, pay attention to no one and basically shut out everyone around me. People do not approach me as they ass-u-me (which makes an ass out of you and me) that I am an ******* or that I am mean. While this never boded well when I was single, it did not matter to me (Truth be known this does not bode well for being married either as I often do not notice, pay attention to and ignore my own wife who, after countless explanations, finally understands that it is not personal). The gym was not a place for me to score dates …all that existed was myself and the weights. The rest of the world did not exist until my workout was over. I can honestly say that I never saw anyone in the gym that trained nearly as hard as myself which is the reason I was able to get over 300lbs before ever taking a drop of gear. It is very difficult to keep up this level of focus and intensity and sometimes I almost wished I were able to take the approach of others who went to the gym to “play”. They seemed so relaxed as well they should because they trained like pussies—as I would get nervous, anxious and scared before my workouts as I knew the pain and "suffering " would not be pleasant. For those of you who train like this and wish to train like this you no-doubt have experienced times when you just wanted to stop doing it and it is for you that this article is catered to. For those who use the gym as their social life go surround yourself with little boys as the following is intended for men.

In the quest of any goal you without question will be confronted by the 4-demons. In fact, they will be in your face daily. The first step in defeating these demons is to know they exist and to recognize them when they come.

The first Demon that one typically meets along their path is the DEMON OF TIRED. The DEMON of tired is most apt to strike when other events during your day have caused you stress or you are pre-occupied with something else. Sitting on your shoulder he quietly whispers to you that you ve had a long day and it s ok not to train balls out or better yet not to train at all. I am amazed at the number of people that succumb to this DEMON and justify their actions by stating “I don t want to overtrain”. Understanding that the body is capable of dealing with massive amounts of physical stress helps you differentiate from being actually burned out a bit and overtrained and under-rested as opposed to looking for an excuse to be lazy.

The Second DEMON that you are destined to meet is the DEMON OF PAIN. This DEMON manifests itself right towards the end of a set. Of course he always appears during your perceived moment of failure rather than your actual moment of failure. We ve all seen this demon at work in the gym. You watch somebody doing a set of bench presses and they just “STOP” for no apparent reason other than the fact that the set started to become uncomfortable. “Fatigue makes cowards of us all” .this has been proven by Pavlov and a whole slew of scientists. However, where the DEMON OF PAIN is concerned, with a lot of people “The thought of fatigue makes cowards of many” Actually taking a set to true failure is a foreign idea to most because it is HIGHLY PAINFUL and UNCOMFORTABLE. They have already surrendered to the DEMON OF TIRED before hand. “Bending over” if you will, before even trying to fight back. Most people who do this also seem to confuse the idea of being injured with the idea of being in pain. They are not one and the same. If one is injured, they often experience pain, however if one is experiencing pain this does not necessarily mean they are injured. The DEMON OF PAIN blurs the line between injury and pain so that you can rid yourself of any guilt for training like a pussy.

The third DEMON is the DEMON OF CONCENTRATION. There is a famous story of a martial arts instructor and one of his students that I would like to share because it applies equally to bodybuilding. A martial arts instructor welcomes a new student into his dojo. This student was very excited and very eager to learn, so after the first class he approached the instructor and said “Sensei, how long will it take for me to be your top student?” To this the Master replied “10 years!”. Disappointed, the student then asked: “What if I train every day and never miss a class?” To this the Master replied “15 years!”. Further let down, the student quickly responded: “Well what if I train twice day for 8 hours a day and never miss a class?” To this the Master replied: “20 years” .Finally the student asked: “Sensei, I do not understand. Why is it that every time I tell you I will train longer and harder, the longer it will take me to be the best student?” To this the master quietly responded: “With only one eye on the path and one eye on your goal of being my best student, you will never find your way.” In simple terms, this means that you cannot partially concentrate on what you are doing in any given moment and expect to get to your maximum potential. In the gym, the only thing that matters is the workout at hand and in particular, the exercise you are currently doing. The DEMON OF CONCENTRATION has his way when you are distracted by what someone else is lifting, what someone else is wearing, what someone else is saying of what someone else looks like. I fully appreciate that for men in particular, the advent of thongs and lycra spandex can make battling this DEMON difficult, but knowing the ways in which he operates goes a long way to defeating him. If you feel your concentration lapse, quickly pull yourself back to the task at hand. In the long run you will understand that there is a time and place for everything and you cannot have it all at once if you expect to excel in anything

The final DEMON is the most powerful and most difficult. It is the DEMON OF CONTINUE. Day in and day out you will be faced with the afore mentioned 3 demons only to realize that you have to get up and face them all over again. This realization is the DEMON OF CONTINUE. Here is where the “I ll train tomorrow s” and the “I ll eat good tomorrow s” start playing in your mind. Anyone can stay structured and focused for one month, even three months or six months. But can you stay focused and on your path and face the DEMONS everyday for the REST OF YOUR LIFE? That is the question. This is where you can gain ground on those that are seemingly so far ahead of you now. They won t be able to beat the DEMON OF CONTINUE. But trust me if you do, you will surpass them very quickly. A few years ago people would have laughed at the idea of Ronnie Coleman being Mr. Olympia …now it appears as if nobody will beat this guy and he will be the best Mr. Olympia of all time in terms of his physique. The same can be said about Nasser. He competed in 30 pro shows before his constant battling of the DEMON OF CONTINUE paid off in one of the most massive physiques to ever step on a pro stage.

In short, understand that you are given an opportunity that many people will never have when you step into the gym. There will be a lot of factors playing against you, many distractions. It is all in your hands whether or not you make the most of your time and subsequently your physique or if you wind up another could have been with your destiny in the hands of one or all of THE FOUR DEMONS.

1 Like

Thats crucial

Why is it that a thread talking about fucking jaw lines gets 75 replies and this gold right here goes virtually unnoticed.

Good Stuff, definitely motivating! Did that guy have a large jaw line?? lol

[quote]Natural Nate wrote:
Why is it that a thread talking about fucking jaw lines gets 75 replies and this gold right here goes virtually unnoticed. [/quote]

He didn’t write for T-Nation therefore a lot of people probably don’t even know who he is.

i wish i could do it but the training partner aspect is so crucial. if i can get someone to do this with me id love it.

1 Like

I had no idea when someone in that T-Cell thread said he was doing 700lb inclines after pre-exhausting his chest that this is what they meant.

Me and my brother did calves like this in high school(we thought calves is what helped your vert!) and the pain was incredible. Doing squats for your quad work would be a little like widowmakers(forced reps from a spotter instead of rest pauses) so the DC guys would be better prepared for this for sure.

Such is life.
Beyond Failure Training Part 4

By Trevor L. Smith
Now that the chest and calves have been thoroughly trashed we have to realize that the complimentary muscle groups-(delts and tris) have also received a good amount of work. For this reason, it is important to finish them off within 24 hours of chest so that you get optimum recovery time for the muscle groups. The logic is quite simple. If you spread out chest shoulders and delts throughout the week you wind up screwing yourself in terms of recovery time and they quickly become over-trained.

Every time you work chest, you are hitting delts and tris and vice versa, so in a perfect world you would hit everything together on the same day, but it is just not physically possible with Beyond Failure training and if you are one of these idiots that thinks you are tougher than everyone else and can do it, go right ahead and enjoy your have ass shoulder and triceps workout, because if you REALLY hit chest properly, you won’t be able to lift your arms let alone do any specific work for shoulders and triceps. Now on to the training:

Following the same principles as above we want to completely trash the deltoids so that when we go to a pressing movement, the triceps don’t give out first and leave us with understimulated shoulders. To accomplish this we will do single arm cable or machine laterals. Again, you will pick a weight that will allow you to fail on your own at rep 8 or 10. At this point your trusty partner assist you through an additional 8 reps by grabbing by your wrist and going through the movement with you. At this point we again drop the weight and continue the same cycle and when your post failure 8 reps are done you do yet another drop and repeat the cycle. Do 2 sets in this fashion. Then move over to front presses on the smith machine.

Your delts should be thoroughly hammered so I only suggest one set here. Again follow the same principles as above. Hit 8 reps on your own and have your partner assist you to get more (I cannot be specific with the rep range here because it is difficult to spot on this exercise if the weight is heavy. It would be great to have 2 people spot you here because they could each get one side of the machine and assist for an additional 8 reps and then strip the weight for you…but that is often a difficult task…I have a hard time getting one person to spot me correctly. One of these days I am going to find a reliable training partner that isn’t a *****, but that day has yet to come.)

At any rate, after the 8 reps past failure are complete, strip and continue to failure, then 6-8 more…then strip again, continue to failure and then 8 more and you should be dead. That’s it for shoulders. The triceps are next and here I suggest no more than 2 sets of a machine exercise (for ease in spotting) in the same fashion as above; once failure is hit, you get assistance for 8 more beyond failure, then drop the weight, repeat, then drop the weight again and repeat.

At this point your delts and tris are done. GO HOME. Now before you even ask, NO you don’t have to hit rear delts, because you already did. Beyond Failure training causes the ENTIRE muscle group that is being worked (and a lot of others as well) to be brought into the mix and thoroughly destroyed. No more specific muscle group targeting. If you really and truly hit the entire muscle group as hard as humanly possible, to the point of nausea and collapse, every part of that muscle will be worked…trust me.

The body likes to work as a unit and that goes for each muscle group as well. Pointing your toes inward or outward on leg extensions is ****ing nonsense. Once you go into the no-mans land of Beyond Failure Training every fiber in your leg is screaming in agony and working equally as hard to fight through the torture it is receiving. Do you really thing that the teardrops will only be working if your toes are pointed out? Please, once failure starts on the teardrops the outer quads pick up the slack because they are FORCED to, no matter where your toes are pointing. Keep it simple: Pick an exercise, take it to a level of complete, absolute and beyond failure and I guarantee it will be completely stimulated!

Next time we finish the body with back and bis and talk about potential problems that may be encountered with Beyond Failure Training.

Beyond Failure Training Part 5…The Conclusion

O.K. 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 any pulling or rowing movement for the back you ALWAYS incorporate the biceps. The reason is quite obvious since you need to use your arms to pull and the biceps is 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 inadvertently wind up overtraining them because of lack of adequate recovery.

Conversely, I get a lot of complaints from people who cannot stimulate their back 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 with 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 out 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 drop 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 wind up sucking wind way before you actually stimulate the muscle.

Next go to a machine movement for the back, some sort of pull down 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 engorged, 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

Now some of the things you want to keep in mind with this type of training 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 along with 2-3 grams of carbs depending on your metabolism (if you are carb sensitive cut it back to 1.5-2 grams and compensate the calories with extra protein.) Fats should be minimal 40 grams or 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 (8 weeks 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 Robbie for the Master?s 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.

Now if you are not coming into a show, 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 or 2 or sitting in a Jacuzzi hot tub.

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. 6 days per 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 it’s all time best condition, and it was done with beyond failure training. When Robbie 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) but he knew he won and so did Vince Taylor. Look at the pictures in this month’s Flex and read between the lines in J.R. Rosenthal’s report. Robbie Robinson shocked the world that day and was the rightful winner of that show and it was all because of Beyond Failure Training. Train harder then the next guy, and one day nobody will touch you!

I think also his style of training is so radically different. Forced reps and drop sets in EVERY workout?

It’s a shame there’s not more of his writings out there, because frankly what little exists gives more questions than answers. Where do free weights fit into the routine (how the hell would you even spot someone on the back squat for dozens of forced reps?) what sort of loading to use, etc.

I’m loath to use the Smith machine, but then again (1) you could probably replicate it with free weights easily enough and (2) the Smith is easier to use. Hard to say.

I’d like to continue gaining strength on my template until the winter and then do this. I have a rack and a reliable spotter at home, so it shouldn’t be too much trouble.

There is a lot of his stuff still out there both in the MM link I posted in the T Cell and various other sources. You can somewhat access his old Nuclear Nutrition site with the help of an internet archive tool, and his magazine Gear UZR I’ve seen on ebay every once in a while.

For a natural trainee BFT is absolutely BRUTAL. He says 6 weeks is the maximum he can take training that way and I’d say 3-4 weeks before a short break is more accurate for mortals haha. If someone was so inclined they could look at it as controlled overtraining(because you will, believe me) and then recuperation over 1-2 weeks of down time.

As far as free weights as opposed to what Trevor suggests you can go for it, it’s simply easier to use machines for certain instances. Much easier to slide a pin down 3-4 plates for a drop than grab a new set of dumbbells. Good luck with implementing it if you decide to go ahead with BFT, it’ll be “fun”.

[quote]LUEshi wrote:
It’s a shame there’s not more of his writings out there, because frankly what little exists gives more questions than answers. Where do free weights fit into the routine (how the hell would you even spot someone on the back squat for dozens of forced reps?) what sort of loading to use, etc.[/quote]

You can give a ton of assistance grabbing around their chest up around/through the armpits, it stops them from falling forward which should be where the trouble is at, getting them out of the hole for each of those forced reps.

[quote]I’m loath to use the Smith machine, but then again (1) you could probably replicate it with free weights easily enough and (2) the Smith is easier to use. Hard to say.

Especially for this type of training I think the Smith would be great, doing those drop sets and not having to get liftoffs/transfers each time, just rack/strip/unrack/go.

[quote]Natural Nate wrote:
Why is it that a thread talking about fucking jaw lines gets 75 replies and this gold right here goes virtually unnoticed. [/quote]

Because peeps are here to gossip not talk about lifting…isn’t this tmz?

I love this shit.

I suppose you’re right. I don’t have a Smith anyway, so it’s moot.

Beyond Failure Training Intensity
Zero Momentum Reps
By Trevor Smith

Ask anybody who has ever lifted weights for an appreciable time period and they will all agree that the most common question asked by the average person on the street is, “Hey, how much can you bench?”

I hate this question. I mean what does it have to do with the price of tea in China anyway? As if the average person will even know whether or not the numbers you tell them mean you are strong or not. Strength is a relative thing and so whenever I get asked this question, my stock reply is usually something along the lines of “A bit more than your average housewife and a lot less than your average gorilla”.

O.K. so where am I going with this? Actually, I am using this example to try and have you understand that weight is not all important and nor is it the only way to increase the severity and intensity of a set even with something as severe and intense as Beyond Failure Training. Let’s face it, we have all seen guys in the gym cranking out reps as fast as they can and making a weight literally fly off their bodies. What I am going to suggest is that by taking a weight you could seemingly “toy with” for 15-20 reps and altering the style the reps are performed in, you will increase the intensity 10 fold and cut the number of reps you can perform down to 3-4. Together this will yield both bigger and eventually stronger muscles because you will eliminate sticking points and will not have to rely on momentum to get past them. Let’s use the bench press as our exercise of choice for the purposes of example and explanation of Zero Momentum Reps.

The bench press is a movement that pretty much has universal sticking points for anyone that performs it. The first quarter of the movement is the most difficult because the pectoral muscles are forced to work almost exclusively until the triceps and deltoids are able to be of assistance in the last half of the movement. Now if one can get past this rather short sticking point, one can effectively incorporate assistance muscle groups like the triceps and the deltoids sooner and thus handle more weight. Now if you are a powerlifter, this is exactly what you are looking to accomplish. If you are a bodybuilder, this is not necessarily the case. Why? Because as bodybuilders, we want the bench-press to completely trash our pectorals and stimulate maximum muscle growth in that area. Now in order to get past this said sticking point and move heavier and heavier weight, explosive power and thrust is developed. Maximum exertion as quickly as possible is the name of the game. (It is this maximum exertion incidentally, that causes pectoral tendons to rupture and explode. If you successfully master the use of Zero Momentum Reps with your pressing movements, it will be impossible for you to tear muscles and or tendons.)

What is being proposed here is that you completely eliminate this explosion and thrust and make a steady, slow and controlled movement for the first quarter part of the exercise. This is the most difficult part of the Bench Press and rather then look to BI-pass it, I am suggesting that one will benefit greatly by savoring every single solitary millimeter of this part of the exercise.And this is how one would do this:

ZMR’s (zero momentum reps) will begin with the person slowly lowering the weight down to the chest in a deliberate and controlled manner that takes approximately 2-3 seconds. Once at the bottom part of the movement, the participant should make an effort to exaggerate the stretch and have the hands go below chest level. Once there, the participant will hold for a count of three. It is at this point that the positive portion of the rep will begin. Now this gets tricky to describe without having seen it performed, but one must fight the tendency to “toss” the weight up and literally move the weight as slowly and as little as possible so that the first quarter of the movement takes 1.5-2 seconds. Once the first quarter of the rep is complete, you accelerate the pace and complete the rest of the movement where you once again will pause, this time at the top part of the movement. In this position, one should consciously cramp and squeeze the pectoral muscles together as if one were trying to hold a 5 pound plate between their pecs. After this occurs, the set continues, again with a slow and controlled descent, a pause and exaggerated stretch at the bottom and then a very slow and controlled ascent for the first quarter of the movement. This really is not rocket science, but in terms of muscle growth it will be like discovering plutonium. You will be lucky to get 4-6 reps in this manner and in many cases, 3-4, but if you understand anything about Beyond Failure Training you will know that the sooner you can get the muscle to failure, the sooner you can go Beyond Failure, and the sooner you go Beyond Failure, the sooner the set will be over and the sooner the set is over, the greater the intensity which will yield greater gains!

If you are serious about experiencing extreme intensity, extreme pain and eventually extreme results, give ZMR’s a try. You will have to check your ego at the door and get comfortable with the idea of 100-200lbs less with your bench but having it look and feel 100-200 times more difficult. And for those who think that you will not get strong this way understand this- You are only as strong as your weakest link.Strengthen the weakest link and you strengthen the entire chain. After a few months you will be back up to the same poundage you were using before, except rather than throwing the weight off your chest to impress the local fitness beauty doing lunges in the corner, you will be taking a slow, solitary and unbearably excruciating dance with the Demon of Pain; and trust me, he don’t give a **** what you can bench.

I have been reading a lot about Trevor Smith lately, and he is ridiculously hardcore.

Beyond Failure Training Intensity Tip:
Extreme Forced Reps (E.M.R’s)
By Trevor Smith

One of the key components to Beyond Failure Training TM is the correct understanding and application of assisting your training partner. In other words, you need to be a good training partner. What defines a good training partner? Simply, it is one who is in tune with your set as much as they are with their own set. It requires total focus and attention for you to derive maximal benefits from your set, and minimizing any chance of injury. I wish I had a dollar for every moron I have encountered that
initially agrees to give me a spot, then upon my explanation of what I need from them, they get this look of irritation on their face as if I have some nerve expecting them to actually pay attention to me and do a little more than standing there. At one gym, it got to the point that if I asked someone to spot me and they agreed and I then detected the slightest amount of annoyance from them after my explanation (assist with forced reps when I failed and then help me drop the weight and continue), that I would say, “You know what, get away from me, I don’t need your help.” (Okay, my language may have been a bit harsher but I’ll leave out the flowery details.)

It got to the point where it was just easier for me to bring my wife along so that my training time would be shortened (successfully finding a person to spot me could take 15-20 minutes at times).

It is difficult to focus 100% on your set if you are worried about the competence of your spotter or training partner. Assuming you have a competent spotter, I want to discuss the idea of forced reps and how you can transform them into an amazingly powerful Beyond Failure Training TM Intensity Tip. Stacking Z.M.R.'s, (Zero Momentum Reps) with forced reps will allow you to do Extreme Forced Reps (E.F.R.'s). This method will provide a one-two punch that is the training equivalent to a stack of Sustenon 250 and Anadrol.

Have you ever taken the time to really focus on one single, seemingly insignificant, aspect of training? Something everyone in the gym does since the day they first stepped foot in the gym door? It is my experience that if you do this, you open up a world that rarely is ever examined because people foolishly assume that something as simplistic as spotting, requires no thought or detailed attention. Remember, BOREDOM IS A LACK OF PAYING ATTENTION TO DETAIL! A single strand of hair can simply look like just a piece of hair. However, if examined under a microscope, you would marvel at the world unveiled. My point is, that those who look past the surface and go deeper than others will experience and learn things that few ever do. This same thing applies to training and in this case, partner assisted forced reps.

Yes, E.F.R.'s seem mindless enough, “When your partner fails, help him with the weight, so he can get a couple more reps.” Nothing could be father from the truth with E.F.R.'s. The premise of E.F.R.'s and how they will change the afore mentioned description to: “When your partner fails, make him suffer miserably and keep him under the weight for as long as humanly possible, only assisting him so you can prolong his suffering, never taking the stress off him, only keeping him going in a positive direction or a static direction, ANYTHING but a negative direction, so he can understand and experience a true definition of pain and torture.” Sounds rather sadistic I know, but B.F.T. is sadistic and the muscle growth it yields is also sadistic!

We are going to make one exception with E.F.R.'s. E.F.R’s, for the most part, can only be performed with machines. When you perform them, you will understand why. Safety is a key factor in this exception.

Machine biceps curls will be our example. We will stack E.F.R’s with another Beyond Failure Training TM intensity technique that I have already discussed in prior articles: Zero Momentum Reps (Z.M.R.'s). As you grip the handle (I personally find having the hands closer together is more effective at stimulating the entire biceps) slowly begin performing your reps in a manner that has a pause at the bottom of the movement, a slow and deliberate contraction and a pause at the top of the movement. Continue in this fashion until you hit absolute and complete muscular failure on your own (which should be about 4-6 reps). At this point, as you attempt another rep, you should start to stagnate in the first quarter of the movement. You should not be moving forward, or going backwards, but rather “stuck” in place, struggling with the rep. At this point, your partner will place his or her hands on the handle and with the slightest amount of assistance possible, allow you to minutely move forward in a positive direction until the minimal amount of assistance he or she is giving you no longer allows for positive movement and you are once again “stuck in place”. Your partner will, once again, allow you to stay stagnated for a few seconds and as they notice that your body starts to tremble and you are about to start moving backwards in the movement, they will once again offer just enough assistance to get you “un-stuck” and allow you to move a bit more in a positive manner.

This “Hell-Zone” will continue until the rep is completed to the top part of the movement. The best part is yet to come, however, as you must complete another 1-2 reps in this same manner to insure absolute destruction of the muscle fibers. At this point, the weight is dropped a substantial amount, and the set is continued without rest. Again, once you hit muscular failure on your own, and only then, your partner will follow the same protocol as above. Again, after the 1-2 E.F.R.'s you will drop the weight a final time and continue with the set (at which time you will be praying for a quick and merciful death).

Once the set is completed close to five minutes should have passed on the clock. 5 minutes of continuous pain and torture. Five minutes of hell that left your biceps with so much blood in them, that they are engorged to the point that you cannot bend your arm and most definitely cannot flex them. If you can do either of these things, you did not do the set right and your partner did not do the E.F.R’s correctly. Learn to pay attention to detail, for it will yield infinite possibilities with Beyond Failure Training, which will afford you many more avenues of muscle growth to travel down. Stay strong, stay focused and suffer well.