Principles Of Positive Failure

1. Total control over the weight

There can be no dive bombing, momentum, compensation, jerking, nothing. The target muscles are lifting the weight, and nothing else. This means your reps must be QUALITY

This requires…

2. 100% Focus

Most people lift like garbage. They’re looking around, they’re not applying 100% effort, they’re waiting to get tired before pushing themselves, they’re not even attempting to fully contract the target muscles, their grip is loose, their posture casual. This dilution of effort makes their workouts ineffective


At no point do my reps get worse (in the video). Every rep looks the same, this ensures that true positive failure is achieved. I am fully present in my body and I know that when my medial deltoids is not going to be able to contract again to move the resistance, and the set is terminated.

I have achieved positive failure by pushing the set to the point that no reps are “in reserve” or in the tank. To do more would be ugly, contorted reps that would be counter productive.

This method of taking your set to positive failure is one way to get strong and build muscle.

Here’s another way of expressing Training to Failure.

Training to failure is the practice of performing biomechanically proper repetitions during a single set to the point of momentary fatigue.

Failure is achieved when the concentric (commonly called the positive portion of the rep) can no longer be performed.

This is called reaching positive muscle failure. Your muscles are momentarily fatigued to the point that you cannot complete the positive portion of a full ROM rep done with proper technique.

Training to failure does NOT…

1) mean that you are “training your nervous system to fail”.

This statement is based on the worst kind of Bro-reasoning. Your nervous system does not have an on/off switch that gets engaged because you did reps until fatigue. This statement is based on nothing. It sounds compelling maybe, but thats simply not how biology works. It would be akin to saying that exercise trains your body to be tired if you have ever felt tired while exercising. It’s a momentary physiological state, not a default.

2) “make you overtrain”

This is more bad critical thinking, zero evidence statements. Overtraining happens when you chronically exceed your body’s ability to recover. That is overtraining. Over exercising is short term when you simply do too much exercise beyond necessary to adapt, and create more fatigue.

Training to failure is neither of those. It makes your lifting MORE efficient because you need LESS sets to get a musclebuilding stimulus.

3) “hinders Muscle Growth”

Another example of made up bullshit. This is based on nothing and contradicts the entire state of scientific evidence. Training to failure is the most RELIABLE way to ensure muscle growth.

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