The Iron Bible, Failure Minus One, By Marty Gallagher

Defining Resistance Training Possibilities and Impossibilities

At the highest levels of progressive resistance training, we seek to skillfully stress muscles or a group of muscles enough to trigger muscle hypertrophy. Hypertrophy creates muscle growth. We want to induce the adaptive response, the self-inflicted physiological stress required for reactions within the body on a cellular level. Elite physical trainers seek two fundamental benefits from their training efforts—a dramatic increase in raw power and strength, with an increase in lean muscle mass. Both benefits invariably result in improved athletic performance. Here are ten guidelines to help define our approach:

Purposefully limit the exercise menu. Devote 80% of the total training time to the Core Four lifts—variations of squats, bench presses, deadlifts and overhead presses.
Compound multi-joint exercises receive priority, Isolation exercises are used 20% of the time to “fill in the gaps” for muscles such as hamstrings, biceps and triceps.
Limit the number of training sessions to 2-3 per week. Session length should range from 15 to 60 minutes, depending on the trainee’s strength.
Use a full range-of-motion on all exercises. Experiment with pauses, slow reps, explosive reps, drop sets, and intensity-amping techniques.
Always give goals timeframes. Reverse-engineer results and establish weekly mini-goals. Small weekly gains will compound over 10-12 weeks.
We train each lift once a week—we have one opportunity per week to hit our periodized goal.
Continually refer back to the core goals of adding power, strength and size. To create hypertrophy, we train powerfully and establish anabolism with nutrition and rest.
If all the preconditions for muscle growth have been met, all that's needed for anabolism is a savage, limit-exceeding workout.
To trigger hypertrophy, resistance efforts must happen in an anabolic environment.
Capacity is a shifting target. The only way to trigger the adaptive response—hypertrophy—is to exceed capacity.

This is everything to know about our particular progressive resistance training system. Lifetimes of accumulated experience, knowledge and wisdom are contained in these ten points of power.

The Subtle Concept of “Failure Minus One.
To fail or not to fail, that is the question…”

Having trained under and alongside some of the greatest lifters in the world, it's often difficult to describe how hard they train. How do you communicate a degree of effort? You could say an 855lb squat was so heavy that on the 3rd rep of 5, Karwoski’s right nostril shot a spray of blood all down his white t-shirt. The nasal explosion occurred as he was maximally exerting himself, pushing his guts—and apparently his nasal membranes—out. He went on to ... read the complete Iron Bible blog post: Failure Minus One | THE IRON BIBLE