Partner-Assisted Beyond Failure Training

One of the most popular classes at our October 2017 Training Camp was the Partner-Assisted Beyond Failure Training with Coach Nick. In this class, Nick took the group through four different high-intensity training techniques that can be used with a training partner to push your sets beyond failure. When you’ve been training for many years, it can take a little more to continue getting results and the application of these techniques, used sparingly in your training program can help you override plateaus and get stubborn muscle groups to respond again.

Here are some notes from Coach Nick’s Training Camp.

1) Iso Holds

  • Used to create massive isometric contractions in the muscle
  • Works by increasing cellular swelling, contractile forces and tension in tissue
  • Best Application: used at the end of a set, after being warmed up. Generally near the start of a workout, when strength and endurance is still good. Generally used after failure with 8-12 reps done with good control. Machines are safest, followed by dumbbells.
  • Can also train solo with pauses (i.e. barbell bench)


Chest: Machine Flyes

Shoulders: Reverse flyes

Arms: Tricep Pushdowns, Bicep Curls

Legs: Lying Leg curls, Hack squats

2) Forced Reps

  • Used to overload the negative/eccentric phase of a lift
  • Can be used to push beyond failure, fatiguing more muscle fiber.
  • Used for shock; don’t implement with every exercise -> overtraining will occur fast
  • Best Application: used at the end of a set, after being warmed up. Generally midway through a workout, but can also be done near the start. Will cause rapid fatigue. Generally used after hitting failure around 8 reps. If weight stops for more than 2-3 seconds or form starts to deteriorate, the set should end.


Chest: Barbell Bench

Back: Lat pulldowns (Hammer Strength +++), Pull-ups

Legs: Seated leg curl, Leg extensions

Arms: Bicep Curls, Close-grip bench

3) Forced Negatives (Eccentric Resistance)

  • Used to overload the negative/eccentric phase of the lift
  • Best Application: You can apply this on just about any exercise but keep in mind safety with joints, etc. Use a Moderate weight. Control Is key, as joints can be compromised easily. Never apply “too deep” into the negative.


Chest: Dumbbell Flyes, Incline Dumbbell

Arms: Bicep curls, Tricep pushdowns, Close-grip pushups

Legs: Hack squat

4) Forced/Weighted Stretching

  • Used to apply a deeper stretch to target muscles
  • Allows fascia to stretch. Creates “hyperplasia” – adding new muscle fibers.
  • Best application: AFTER achieving a pump will yield greatest results. Can use more frequently than other partner techniques -> daily on different muscle groups. Be careful of joint angles. You can also apply many of these techniques by yourself.


Chest: Stretch pushups

Back: Lat pulldowns

Arms: Rope Extensions

Legs: Calf Raises

5) Alternating Sets

  • Challenge sets used to increase time under tension
  • Fun way to engage your partner and push eachother past limits
  • Best application: Anytime, but generally good way to finish your workouts, and blast to complete failure. Best used with lighter weights


Chest: Machine Flyes, Machine Press

Arms: Barbell Bicep Curls

Abs: Ball passes

6) Time under tension battles

-Pick an exercise, grab a stopwatch and have each trainer perform continuous reps for a specified time.

-Depending on the bodypart, sets should last anywhere 45-60 seconds. Longer for larger muscle groups and shorter for smaller muscle groups.

-Both must keep tension on the muscle during the whole set for the allocated time

Examples :

-Lateral raises

-Bicep curls

The T-Rex Training Camps run monthly, are open to everyone to attend and go down at our headquarters – Form & Function gym in Mississauga, ON. Email us at for info on the next one!

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