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John Robert Cardillo

John Robert Cardillo

John travelled the world to learn the best training and nutrition principles and trained alongside top pro bodybuilders at Gold's Gym California. He was a student of Arthur Jones, inventor of Nautilus and Medx Fitness machines, and the pioneer of hi-intensity training. John developed the HIT3 Training System, which transformed his physique to win countless bodybuilding competitions at just 18 years of age! He was also the first bodybuilder to utilize Faradic Electric Muscle Stimulation in his training and intermittent fasting during his competition prep. John’s SHREDDED Nutrition Diet helped him build one of the most shredded physiques of all time. His diet program incorporates fasting and nutrient timing to help athletes build lean muscle while losing body fat.

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How HIT3 Training Causes Muscle Growth By John Robert Cardillo

Positive Concentric Failure

The First Principle of HIT3 training is performing a set of exercise until the muscle being worked is unable to perform one more full rep because it’s reached positive/concentric failure/exhaustion. Training heavy and to positive failure requires a muscle to increase its strength to be able to complete more reps on your next workout. Strength increase is followed by muscular size increase. This is a simplified explanation of how muscle growth happens; there are of course more variables involved.

Negative Failure

The Second Principle of HIT3 training is negative/eccentric failure. Increasing the intensity of the exercise can be achieved by performing at least 2 negative/eccentric, 10-second repetitions at the end of each set of exercise. A muscle is substantially stronger in the negative/lowering movement of every exercise. Therefore, at the end of a set, after reaching positive failure, the weight should be immediately increased by 25 percent and 2 negative repetitions should be performed. Deliberately slowing down the lowering (negative/eccentric) part of the exercise movement increases a muscle’s time under tension, thereby stimulating more muscle growth.

Static Failure

The Third Principle of HIT3 training is static failure. After reaching positive and negative failure, you can increase growth stimulation by performing a static repetition. Simply holding the weight in the contracted position and resisting gravity forces a muscle to exert maximal effort against resistance to prevent it from moving. This should only be performed after the maximum number of positive and negative repetitions have been performed. When the muscle being exercised is exhausted from the immediately preceding reps, when the muscle is incapable of completing another rep despite maximum effort being exerted. At that point, 1 or 2 static repetitions should be performed to totally exhaust the muscle and ratchet up the intensity to create maximum growth stimulation. Static repetitions increase the time under tension for the muscle being worked.

Inducing Maximum Growth Stimulation

Exercises cause muscles to contract. In order to recruit a maximum amount of muscle fibres to cause the greatest contraction, each exercise must be performed in the following manner:

  1. The exercise must be performed from full extension to full contraction. Half movements won’t provide sufficient muscle fibre recruitment to stimulate a muscle to grow.
  2. Sufficient resistance must always be used to challenge a muscle to increase its strength. Strength increase is always followed by muscular size increase.
  3. Only one set of an exercise performed to muscular failure is required to stimulate muscle growth. Resting and performing a second set of the same exercise leads to overtraining the same fibres used in the first set.
  4. Each muscle can be worked with two or more “different” exercises provided that each exercise biomechanically works the muscle from a different angle to recruit different fibres.
  5. Each set of exercise must be carried to the point of positive/concentric muscular failure in order to induce the greatest amount of growth.
  6. Each set of exercise must include at least 2 negative/eccentric-only repetitions to fully stimulate the muscle to grow.
  7. At the end of a set where the muscle has failed in the positive and negative manner, at least 1 or 2 static repetitions must be performed to induce maximum growth stimulation.
  8. When working a body part with more than one exercise, each exercise should be performed without any rest between exercises.


In order to induce muscle growth, you have to push beyond the pain barrier and force each muscle to work until total failure is reached, whereby you give the body a reason to grow and to increase the strength to perform what was literally impossible in the set of exercises performed. The body will respond by increasing its muscle size in order to increase strength to overcompensate for the hardship it was asked to perform during the set of exercise. Once you have reached muscular failure, you have recruited the maximum percentage of muscle fibres and stimulated them. Any more sets performed beyond the first set would be counterproductive. 

For more info on John Cardillo, check out his website at johnrobertcardillo.com or right here at Muscle Insider at John Cardillo.

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