“All life is an experiment. The more experiments you make the better. What if they are a little coarse and you may get your coat soiled or torn? What if you do fail, and get fairly rolled in the dirt once or twice? Up again, you shall never be so afraid of a tumble.” ~ Ralph Waldo Emerson

ke2 wbtxini nathan shipps

I’ve been perusing the article below for a while now.  Trying to ferret-out any solid, rubber-meets-the-road takeaways.  Unfortunately, I haven’t found many.  Instead, it’s simply reinforced — at least, in my mind — the validity of a wave-and-weave / autoregulation approach.

At least, for non-specialized fitness.  That is to say, if you’re an athlete in a particular sport, training must be directed with that endgame in mind.  Unfortunately that manner of intense, specialized training comes at the expense of health.  It’s the old Heath vs Performance balance (and, if you’re an athlete, Faustian bargain) that I’ve discussed many times prior.

Here’s the study:

http://jap.physiology.org/content/100/5/1647Screenshot 2017 01 08 12.33.18

Now this isn’t a badly constructed study as studies go, and much can be learned from it at a 101 level.

But still, we’re asking the wrong questions here.  Or rather, we’re cornered into asking the wrong questions because of the nature in which studies have to be constructed.  Not a bad thing, per se… unless you attempt to make studies the end-all, be all directives of your training.  Which, unfortunately, I see a lot of.

Comprehensive training is never an either/or proposition.  It’s an and-and-to-what-degree endeavor.  Artistry in lieu of paint by numbers.  The ability to navigate and course-correct; a subject to which the Five Ts is devoted.

So in my mind, a more meaningful study would have encompassed not whether one should or shouldn’t train to failure, but to what inroad; how much drop-off?  When and to what degree to autoregulate?

The question of autoregulation and sufficient inroad / drop-off, however, is a very individualized thing, and not the sort of question that can be answered in any other than an n=1 environment.

How can inroad and drop-off be measured?  Speed of movement (using a push device, for example) or force output (a HUGE bonus of ARXFit equipment) compared to recovery time and the all-important end result.  In other words, are you getting “better”.  And “better” is a very individualized concept.  It might mean increased muscle mass.  Or speed.  Or a number of other factors.  Again, this is the provence of the Five Ts methodology.

A quick word on blood markers

Although interesting, I’m not so sure we should place such a big emphasis on blood markers in this study.  At least, on the hypertrophy / performance side of things.  For more on that, see this post.

For instance, we might glean from the findings here that mTOR might be potentiated more toward muscle growth than tumor propagation in cancer patients, with the proper training protocol.

However, the biomarker profiles revealed would simply indicate what we’ve known intuitively for so very long: that smart, dedicated and routine iron work leads to a long, healthy life, with very little time spent in the dreaded “decay zone”.  That is, the technology-aided “purgatory” between health and death that so many of our elders have endured over the last 50-ish years.


We should all aspire to live as animals in the wild.  Full-on life… then a quick passing.  I for one would much rather go in an Acapulco cliff-dive fashion rather than a slow, year’s long agonizing bleedout.

Heal thyself, harden thyself, change the world –



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