James Steele PhD on Momentary Muscular Failure vs Sub-Maximal Failure, Optimal Time Under Load/Reps and Fasted Training

James Steele II, Ph.D, Professor, Lecturer, and High Intensity Training Expert
James Steele (via The21Convention.com)

James Steele PhD is a lecturer in Applied Sport Science at Southampton Solent University in the UK. He’s helped publish some game-changing studies on exercise (see resources), and is well known for his talk titled ’There Is No Such Thing As Cardio’ which he presented at The 21 Convention.

James is one of the UK’s finest experts on exercise, and is a keen participant in HIT. This was his second appearance on the Corporate Warrior podcast (click here for his first interview), and he did an excellent job building on our first discussion.

In this interview, we talk about training to momentary muscular failure vs sub-maximal failure, the amount of recovery people really need between HIT workouts, the benefits of a fasted workout, his views on X-Force machines, how to rehab/prehab effectively, how to prevent chronic back pain, and much more. James also provides an in-depth description of his own A/B routine and training frequency.

Enjoy the podcast below!

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Show Notes

How did James get into strength training? [5:00]

What is ‘objectivism’ and how do you apply it to learning? [10:30]

‘Momentary Muscular Failure’ (MMF) versus ‘Sub-Maximal Failure’ (‘90% to failure’) [23:05]

How much recovery do people really need between workouts to MMF, and is it true that one needs more recovery as one becomes stronger? [36:08]

An in-depth look at James Steele’s current A/B workout regimen [45:05]

Is it imperative to reach MMF within a specific time frame to trigger muscular hypertrophy and strength gains? [52:00]

Is it possible to experience hypertrophy and strength gains without consuming a large amount of calories? [55:35]

How much recovery does James have between workouts? [1:01:45]

Is their hope for non-responders to resistance training? [1:03:25]

What is the main cause of back pain? [1:08:50]

How much does prolonged sitting affect long term back pain? [1:13:45]

What does James do for prehab and rehab? [1:20:40]

Is rehab/prehab/mobility training necessary for everyone? [1:27:40]

What does James think about X-Force? [1:30:45]

How is James going to make his mark on public health? [1:33:45]

Exercise might not burn many calories, but does frequent movement cause body fat to lose its utility? [1:37:50]

What is the most effective way to burn body fat? [1:40:20]

What are the benefits of training in a fasted state? [1:42:50]

James’s top 3 tips on how to exercise more effectively [2:02:50]



No Such Thing As Cardio by James Steele

Dragon Ball Z (James’s inspiration)


Ayn Rand

Resistance Training to Momentary Muscular Failure Improves Cardiovascular Fitness in Humans: A Review of Acute Physiological Responses and Chronic Physiological Adaptations

Dr. Stuart McGill Crunches

My Fitness Pal

There Are No Nonresponders to Resistance-Type Exercise Training in Older Men and Women

My interview with Skyler Tanner

My interview with Roger Schwab

Resistance exercise with low glycogen increases p53 phosphorylation and PGC-1α mRNA in skeletal muscle

Arthur Jones

Interview with Doug McGuff Part 2


Body by Science: A Research Based Program to Get the Results You Want in 12 Minutes a Week by Dr Doug McGuff and John R. Little

Healing Back Pain: The Mind- Body Connection by John E. Sarno MD

Atlas Shrugged (Penguin Modern Classics) by Ayn Rand

Super Crunchers: How Anything Can Be Predicted by Ian Ayres

The Black Swan: The Impact of the Highly Improbable by Nassim Nicholas Taleb

The Signal and the Noise: The Art and Science of Prediction by Nate Silver

Human Action: A Treatise on Economics by Ludwig Von Mises

Introduction to Objectivist Epistemology: Expanded Second Edition by Ayn Rand

The Story of the Human Body: Evolution, Health, and Disease by Daniel E. Lieberman

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