Well alrighty then. Having addressed, sequentially Layne Norton’s bullshit dismissals along with Mike Israetel’s bullshit dismissals, I want to move past all this drama and bullshit. When EITHER of them have some facts to bring to what is a scientific debate, I’ll be all ears. But I will NOT hold my breath as such is not the way of the guru: when they have no facts, all they can fall back on is personal attacks and logical fallacies. Anyhow.
But now it’s time to move past that nonsense, as I said last time I won’t waste any more time addressing of Mike’s bullshit. To my knowledge he hasn’t brought anymore of it. Even if he had, I no longer give a shit about it. Facts talk and bullshit walks, buddy. So start walking.
Instead, I am going to followup on the original series on muscular failure and look at people who succeeded at failing. That is, I’m going to start running videos to muscular failure from the people that had the nuts to step up and send them to me.
Videos which show repeatedly, conclusively and incontrovertibly what happens to rep speed and rep duration as people approach muscular failure. There are no spoilers here folks, they all look the same because of course they do.
One More Time for the Illiterates
Let me add for the functional illiterates reading this. The point of these videos is NOT to suggest that you need to train to failure or at this level of intensity. Rather, the point (again) is to demonstrate what training to 0 RIR or failure looks like in terms of how bar speed slows and how rep duration increases.
To that let me add another point which is that UNTIL you have trained to this level, where the weight or bar or handles will not move despite you providing maximum effort, YOU DO NOT KNOW WHAT FAILURE IS OR LOOKS LIKE.
Nor do you have the first clue what 0, 1 or 2 RIR/RTF are. You simply can NOT anchor to muscular failure is you don’t know what it is. And any workout that you are attempting to use that puts intensity in those terms will be useless to you. You must know what failure is to use it as an anchor.
I am saying nothing more and nothing less. Learn to read.
It should also go without saying that none of the videos I will present today are from Mike Israetel or his training partners because of course they aren’t.
And since I challenged Mike last time based on his asinine “How big someone is” argument to show his videos to Dorian Yates, I thought I’d start with a video that involves Dorian Yates yet again.
Mike, let me know when you show Dorian your videos.
Dorian Yates Coaching a Set of Leg Presses to Failure
So a few comments. The repetitions were non-lock so I was having to do a bit more guessing than usual about the final frame. I’d remind people that any single frame is 1/60th of a second. I have to miss a LOT for it to really impact on the rep duration.
The first handful of reps stayed very consistent speed and duration wise at about 0.5 seconds apieces They slow slightly to over the second mark before hitting over 3 seconds at 2 RIR. For reasons I’m not clear on, the next rep is actually a bit faster at just over 2 seconds. I suspect two factors at work here.
The first is that the 2 RIR rep was straight out of the previous reps and it looked like he stalled out of the bottom or that the sled even moved back down. In contrast, the 1RIR rep was after a few breaths for recovery. It’s also possible but impossible to see in the video that Dorian was giving slightly more of a spot.
Regardless, the final rep was over 6 seconds in duration, a huge increase from the reps before it. Let me add that the way the camera man zoomed in on the last rep made me really have to guess on when the rep was over. I tried to time it right as he clearly locks the handles in place. Again, even if I miss a few frames, it changes things by a couple of tenths. The rep was still 6 seconds long.
So overall the reps started at about 0.5 seconds and ended with a rep over 6 seconds, a sextupling (6 times) of rep duration. So except for that one weird rep in the middle, it’s the same pattern as always. First handful of reps are pretty fast and consistent, slows down a bit, slows down more and the final completed rep at 0 RIR is a grinder.
At which point he does what any human would do, rolls off the sled to collapse on the floor. Because that’s what happens when you do a set of leg presses to that intensity. It’s not Israetel’s trainees finishing 30 reps and not collapsing.
Nobody is doing it again in 60 seconds like in the Brigatto study, especially not for 8 fucking sets. It’s not Mike doing a set of “lying leg curls to failure” and stumbling out of the machine. It’s not Mike pretending to puke in the bucket to impress the idiots watching his videos. It’s not any of the videos Mike has put up that he says is “0 RIR”.
The video above is what 0 RIR on leg presses looks like.
This video shows something else worth bringing up. Which is that unlike Dorian in this clip, Mike Israetel clearly can not COACH someone to the point of failure. Because none of the videos he put up showing him “taking someone to 0 RIR” look like that because the bar never slows.
Mike simply lets them quit and then says “That’s 0 RIR” when it’s not. Just like he quits in his own sets and says “That was 0 RIR/failure” when it clearly wasn’t.
So maybe if Mike is going to play the bullshit “Who you’ve coached”argument, we should be less concerned with who the person has coached (especially when the drugs make it irrelevant) and more on HOW GOOD OF A COACH THEY ARE.
Because if you’re going to claim that you can coach someone to the point of limit failure, you should be able to demonstrate it. Dorian did it. I’ve done it. If I ever had the opportunity to take Mike or his training partners through a set, I could do it to them where they would roll off the leg press and collapse. Not that I think any of them would ever risk their egos by giving me that opportunity.
Mike clearly can’t coach people to the point of failure. He’ll let them quit and say it was failure when it clearly is not since none of this videos look like any other video I’ve put up.
The Rest of the Videos
Alright, enough of that stupid bullshit. From here on out, I’m just going to show the videos people have sent me. I’ve got a ton of them so let’s get started. For each I’ll do the same rep duration breakdown. But I’ll try to keep any post video commentary limited since I can only repeat the same thing so many times in a row. I mean, I’m not Greg Knuckols.
Every video looks the same. The first handful of reps, depending on how many total are being done look the same: similar durations and very consistent. Movement speed generally starts to slow at 1-2 RIR and a true 0 RIR is a grinder. And if they do another rep they fail. And that’s what it always looks like.
There is no debate, there is no discussion. Not from Mike Israetel and not from Christian Thibadeau unless he wants to argue that EVERY VIDEO I’VE PUT UP is of someone who is slow-twitch dominant. C’mon Christian stop making up bullshit physiology to protect your buddies. Or nut up and send me a video of you doing a grinder set and I’ll run that too. I won’t hold my breath.
So let’s get started.
Mike Murray Hack Squat to Failure
So as always, the first bunch of reps are about 1.3-1.4 seconds. At 2 RIR it slows to about 2.5 seconds, nearly a doubling. 0 RIR is about 4 second grinder and the next rep is actual failure because that’s what an actual failure rep looks like. Big picture, the rep speed roughly tripled from the first rep to 0 RIR before failure.
Stephen Smith Banded Leg Press
So basically the same pattern with one weird rep at 1 RIR where it was faster than 2 RIR. I don’t know why, he might have gotten more of a bounce or the sweat pants threw me off. The final rep jumped to over 2 seconds which was a doubling of the rep before it.
And honestly he might have gotten another rep or even two. Leg press is weird. Like the Dorian video above, with a few big breaths or a little bit more bounce you often see a series of “last reps”.
It definitely wasn’t as much of a grinder as the videos before it although it certainly did slow. On the leg press, if you get stuck at the bottom by yourself, ugly things happen. Regardless, there was a doubling of rep duration from the first to the last rep. It’s also possible that the way the bands apply tension might have changed things.
Ovi Boeru Overhead Press
So as you’d expect for a set of 5, there are not a whole lot of reps at the same speed. The first three were the same, it slowed on rep 4 and the final rep was 3.5 times the duration of the first repetition: 4.4 seconds vs. 1.22 seconds.
But it’s the same basic pattern as always. Sets of 5 are a bit different since they are so much shorter. The rep duration pattern is a bit more compressed since it goes from start to maximum pretty quickly.
Ovi Boeru DB Incline Press
So very much like his overhead press, the first four or so reps are just under 2 seconds, at 2 RIR it slows a bit and then on the final rep it jumps to 4.4 seconds, a doubling and some change from where it started. That’s just his fatigue pattern due to his long arms or whatever.
Tom Bently Leg Press
So there’s a little bit of a bounce at the bottom that made deciding on the first frame a little bit tougher. As well he seemed to lock out and then unlock after every rep. I tried to pick the finish frame at initial lockout instead of when he rebent his knees.
Rep speed started at 1.28 seconds, slows a bit around 1-2 RIR and then slows massively on the final repetition at 4 seconds, roughly 3.5 times the first rep. With a big bounce he might have gotten another rep but using the same form as the previous reps, I do not think he would have.
And to wrap it up to try to keep the video duration a little bit down, let’s finish with the oh so rarely seen set of deadlifts to limits.
Sean Hobbs Deadlift Reps to Failure
So this is the oh so rarely seen set of deadlift reps to failure (ok, really 0 RIR). The rep durations were a bit tough due to the bounce and I tried to pick the first visible bend of the bar. His lockout was a little bit leaned back as well but I tried to be consistent. The video at 2 RIR glitched which is why I recorded such a shorter duration.
He also takes a longer break after that rep before the 1 RIR rep which means that he lost a bit of the bounce out of the bottom. That’s part of why it was slower. But the final rep was a grinder at just over 3 seconds that I’m not even sure he locked out. So I tried to pick the final frame based on when he stopped moving.
But basically there was a tripling of rep duration from the first to final rep. Let me make it absolutely clear that I would not recommend the grand majority of people to do deadlifts to this level of intensity. It’s not safe unless your form is perfect and the risk is simply too high.
That said, THIS is what a set of deadlift reps to 0 RIR looks like. Where the last rep basically looks like a PR single that you might see in a powerlifting meet. As you hit 0 RIR, rep duration goes way up from where it starts because it always does.
Wrap It Up!
So that’s a good place to stop. I started with a video showing Dorian Yates coaching someone to actual failure (well 0 RIR) in the leg press followed by a variety of different videos to failure or 0 RIR. And the pattern is always the same. Always. It has to be. There are no exceptions and there is no room for debate unless you consider people spouting utter bullshit to be debate.
So as I said above, I’m accepting any videos people want to send me. And I’ll run as many of these things as I have to run. It’s easier than writing an actual article.
But this is what failure looks like. You don’t get to argue about this. See you next time.