This post is deliberately short, but its value cannot be overstated.
Implementing this advice will stimulate more muscle growth right from your very next workout – I guarantee it.
When is a set over? In THT training, we go to positive failure i.e. the last rep where you can do the positive/lifting part with reasonably good form.
After that last rep, people usually drop the weight fast and it’s over. But wait…
You can lower more weight than you can lift. So at the end of a set, you’ve still plenty of negative strength left, even if your positive strength is gone.
You new task is to always end a set on the negative, not the positive.
Here’s the deal: After reaching positive failure, lower the weight in super-slow fashion, even taking 10 seconds if you can handle it. It’s a killer, but that’s what it’s all about. Stimulating growth is about tearing up muscle fibers and forcing the body to repair and grow the tissue.
Tip: You can even pause at certain points on the way down for added effect.
I started implementing this at the end of my sets a few months ago and have been loving the effects!
So let’s take an obvious example – barbell curls for the biceps.
Let’s say you get 10 good reps to positive failure on your barbell curls. But now you remember, “I have to end my sets on the negative – a very slow, controlled negative.”
So you start to lower the barbell very slowly; you’re going to feel insane stimulation in your biceps. You pause maybe for a second every few inches until all the way to the bottom. I must emphasize this – go all the way to the bottom in controlled fashion.
The end result is:
more muscle fiber recruitment | more muscle damage | higher levels of metabolic stress = higher levels of protein synthesis (muscle growth)
Add this tweak in to your next THT workout and you’ll love what happens! If you haven’t already got the THT workout, download it free below…
NOTE: If you’re doing multiple sets for each body part, as in the THT 5-day plan, you don’t need to do this on every set. Adding it to the last 2 or 3 sets works well.
Got questions about this? Just ask below, I’ll be happy to help.
Train With Intensity!
Awesome fat loss/six-pack results from MuscleHack reader Derek Holt on Total Six Pack Abs.
“4 years after marriage and I’m the father of triplets, yes 3 babies at once…crazy! After 8 months caring for kids and not training, things settled down and I realized how far I’d let myself slip (worst shape of my life). I went through 2 cycles of P90X with little results. After killing myself (P90X is no joke), I stumbled across TSPA. I was a bit skeptical, but figured I didn’t have anything to lose. After 30 days of the diet and lifting routine I had dropped 10 lbs (more than I had ever dropped after 90 days of P90X). Seeing this success I continued with the plan and finally achieved the results I was after. I lost over 30 lbs while gaining strength at the same time. The bonus is that I spend about HALF as much time working out, eat the same quantity of food (the right foods), “cheat eat” on the weekends, and have more time with my family. Thanks Mark, this is the only routine that’s worked for me.
Derek Holt. Bloomington, IL.
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Cool 🙂 I’m always ready for something new. Will try it out!
Short but powerful advice, Mark. I’ll add this to your Muscle Hacker’s Creed (what I read before training).
I do have a related question though: I read ‘somewhere’ that when doing the POSITIVE lifting part, you should try to do it as FAST and EXPLOSIVE as possible for maximum muscle fiber recruitment.
Also, I’ve been doing isometric sets(if that’s the correct term), in which at the top part of your rep, you hold and squeeze muscle for 3-5 seconds.
What do you think about these fundaments?
Do they deserve a spot in your T.H.T book?
Excellent post. I was checking constantly this blog and I am impressed!
Extremely helpful information.
Thank you and best of luck.
@G this might be of interest: i was reading Ellington Darden’s ‘the new HIT’ and in it he points out that doing the positive quickly makes use of some amount of momentum hence there’s a little less muscle fiber recruitment. Also it puts more load on the joints
And Mark does recommend pausing at the Peak contraction point 🙂
what do you think about rest pause
Always helpful , mark. Your THT and Total Six Pack Abs is amazing. I am eagerly waiting fot Total Six Pack Abs newer version. So anytime soon?
what do you think about rest pause
What about exercises like bench press or squatting for example? Seems to me you can only end with the positive here. Otherwise the bb would end on your chest, or, in the case of squatting, you wouldn’t get up again. Any solutions here?
@G. Explosive might take tension off the muscle because of the speed, the positive should be simply faster than the negative to keep constant tension. See my vid on constant tension here https://musclehack.com/3-new-tips-that-will-build-bigger-biceps/
Yes, you can pause at the top, or peak contraction point as Muhammad pointed out. But 3-5 seconds is too much. Even 1 second is good. It’s not something I do all the time, though.
@Abhilash. Hey, thanks buddy 😀 There’s no update due for TSPA. Unless there’s some new research that can improve it, it doesn’t need updated. It’s as effective as can be at the moment.
@Will. Rest-Pause has its uses in using heavier weights and breaking plateaus. Apart from that I don’t use it. So only infrequently. The problem is that tension keeps coming off the intended muscle. See this post for more https://musclehack.com/3-new-tips-that-will-build-bigger-biceps/
@Anton. Use a squat rack or leg press machine for the last set. Use safety pins, a smith machine, or even a chest press machine for your last set of chest.
Hey Mark. I did this for years. You’re right, it really does work. I also do something where at the end of my last set of a certain excersise, I drop 10% of the weight and immediately go to failure again, then drop 10% more and go to failure 1 last time. It really gives a great pump. On another subject, I am 51 years old and heard that adding a testosterone booster to my supplementation is needed, because of my age. I started using one by Muscletec called Test HD. Do you believe this to be true, and if so, is there a testosterone booster that you reccomend that works. Hope to hear from you soon.
@Joe. Yes “drop-setting is a good advanced technique as well. There isn’t any good human research on test booster products. I don’t believe in them or recommend them.
What you could consider doing is going to your doctor as he might prescribe your real testosterone at your age. At least you would be sure it actually works.
hey mark,great read bud.
my question is,is this the same you would recommend for pull ups??controlled positive rep. and slow and controlled negative?or shall one keep both the same?
@abhishek. Yes same with pull ups, slower negative than positive.
thanks for your response on rest pause. I will start using those 3 tips on the link you posted.
thank for your time bud
keep up the “great” work.