Hofmekler’s Controlled Fatigue Training

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Ori Hofmekler is a well-known fitness expert, former Penthouse columnist and no stranger to controversy. His ideas about training run so contradictory to most of what you see in the fitness magazines that most people either say, “the guy’s a fucking genius,” or “he’s a complete dumbass who doesn’t know what he’s talking about.” Love him or hate him, one thing that Ori got right is his concept about the development of super hybrid muscle. In fact, his Controlled Fatigue Training program is really one of the very first hybrid muscle training programs ever put together. Hybrid muscle training develops super hybrid muscles and developing super hybrid muscle is of course you know, the goal of the Lean Hybrid Muscle training program.

Lean Hybrid Muscle is inspired in part by ancient warrior cultures like the Spartans, the Gladiators, the Vikings and others. Ori’s concepts are also inspired by these warrior cultures. His interest arose from his formative military experiences, which prompted a life interest in survival science and the ways of the warriors. Ori began researching ancient cultures and based on what he learned, became convinced that ancient warrior cultures like the Spartans, the Gladiators and the Vikings were so successful because they had developed a great deal of super hybrid muscle.

Normal muscle fibers are generally either built for strength or endurance with not a lot crossover–at least not in modern man. Ancient warriors though, not only had great strength, but they had a hell of a lot of endurance too. They were like that because the way they trained forced them to develop super hybrid muscle, which is muscle that has essentially been reconfigured, adding mitochondrial density, resulting in a bigger stronger muscle with more endurance capacity.

Ori says that Controlled Fatigue Training builds super hybrid muscle by triggering our body’s survival factors. Survival factors are what keep us alive–there’s a lot of them but they include strength, power, speed and endurance. The survival factors are also what trigger the “fight or flight” response–meaning that you’re either ready to seriously kick some ass or you’re going to haul-ass for the hills with your tail between your legs. The ancient Spartans, Gladiators, Vikings and others, were able to choose “fight” not “flight” because they had developed super hybrid muscle. Their muscles were capable of generating and sustaining strength for extended periods.


Controlled Fatigue Training (CFT) seeks to mimic the same responses in our modern bodies and in the process, prompting the development of super hybrid muscle. Controlled Fatigue Training is built on a methodical combination of strength speed and endurance together–very much like the Lean Hybrid Muscle training program. But CFT isn’t just another training program–it’s tough. Really tough. So tough that I’d say that at least nine out ten guys who start training the CFT way, don’t have the balls to stick with it for more than a couple weeks–if that. CFT requires you to repeatedly shock your body by doing really intense exercises that incorporate strength, speed and velocity to maximize the body’s capacity to resist fatigue and stress.

According to Ori, “the core concept of controlled fatigue training is to gradually train the body to resist fatigue and sustain strength during a prolonged intense physical stress. That way one could handle higher volume of intense exercise and thereby be able to gain strength, speed, and velocity with an improved muscle/ fat composition.”

The overall CFT workouts incorporate three components: 1) pre-fatigue exercises; 2) core exercises; and 3) post-fatigue exercises.  One example of a CFT exercise would be riding a stationary exercise bike on a high level (at least level 10 or above) at a fast pace while simultaneously doing alternating dumbbell raises. Or you might find yourself doing a series of rapid sprints while carry dumbbells and when finished, launching immediately into weighted walking lunges just before doing five sets of dead-lifts. The sets are performed sequentially, with little or no rest between sets.  You can rest for no more than one minute between exercises.

2009-0607 - Crossfit Games '09 training 034-thumb-520x693-850

So you can see the similarities between Controlled Fatigue Training and Lean Hybrid Muscle Training. Both programs have as a core concept, the idea that when it comes to weight training, if you want to see real results, then moderation is for pussies. You’ve got to push yourself to your limits and beyond. The repeated intense, brutal onset of physical stress brought on by training programs like CFT and Lean Hybrid Muscle forces our bodies to adapt by increasing their capacity to utilize fuel and resist fatigue–switching the body into “survival mode.” Once these triggers have been activated, it stimulates a profound anabolic effect that enables us to survive in times of high physical stress or danger by increasing our strength, speed and velocity while maintaining optimum body composition ratios.


11 Comments Add yours

  1. leanhybr
    April 9, 2010
    1:41 am

    This sounds even harder than the 100 Rep Extended Set!


  2. Christopher
    April 11, 2010
    9:11 pm

    Hey Elliot, big fan of you and all the other great trainers out there! I will be getting your business package next month for sure!!!! Need to get paid first, so I gotta wait…In the mean time, I have a question.

    I am doing a 12 week Full Body- Strength program. Xplosive, Knee, Hip, Vert Push/Pull, Hoz Push/Pull, Core. Xplosive sets 4×3 1.5 min. rest, the rest are all 5,3,2,1- 1 minute rest. I love Hybrid Traning with complexes. I am thinking of incorporating this with my previous program. So if on Monday I do my Strength Program the way its laid out, on Wed, I am thinking of going Hybrid. Then back to Friday for the Strength. The following Monday and Friday it will switch to 2 Hybrids and one Strength training, and repeat over the course of 12 weeks. How does that sound?
    Oh yeah, I am a football player in Germany and opening day in May 2. Once the season starts, I am thinking perhaps..one day major lifts for Power and 2 Hybrids early in the week, all done by Wednesday. Games on Saturdays. Is that too much?




  3. hisham
    April 12, 2010
    3:39 pm

    damn, i wanna marry that girl at the last pic who’s doing deadlifts


  4. Hunt
    April 26, 2010
    5:13 pm

    Yo Elliot/Mike

    I’ve actually never tried controlled fatigue training, but i do practice a modified version of Ori’s warrior diet. I personally believe its the best way to eat bar to none


  5. Julian
    June 19, 2010
    7:32 pm

    Hey Elliott

    I’m a bit confused…I just watched the video you posted here and you are advocating 3 diifent types of workout per week in order to buld ‘Lean Hybrid Muscle’ and increase the type 3 muscke fibre…

    I got the impression from an early post that this type of muscle was increased by doing a specific one off workout of say 100 reps per bodypart….like the 5 exercise shoulder routine you posted with 20 reps on each exercise and no rest. Bit confused now..please advise.



  6. Richard
    June 22, 2010
    9:24 am

    You need to clean up the language, There are younger people that read these. They get enough of the bad language at school


  7. Stephen
    July 14, 2010
    6:04 am

    I love the stuff you regularly put out for us.
    This post was super great.
    I do several of your hybrid training programs at 60 years old and get pumped reading and putting to practice the workouts and challenges you set forth.
    I have to agree with Richard and cut out the bad language; in your posts and your videos. Music as well. What kind of example are we setting when we allow ourselves to tolerate that kind of behavior.
    In your 6 Strength and Wisdom Principles you include “Strong Character” and “Strong Faith” in the “Strongest Version of You” and to include that kind of language is not following those principles very well.
    I am very fortunate to be well educated and know that due to my education level I don’t have to use that kind of language to get my point/idea across.
    Thanks so much for your great site, Elliott and I pray you continue to have great success with your training and family.


  8. mike
    August 17, 2010
    4:23 am

    Hi Elliott. Great info on your site!! I’ve learned so much. I Googled Mariusz Pudzaniowski and watched a video of him doing his leg workout on “The Fit Show”. Interesting, the guy’s awesome. But, after Super Mario, they had two body builders on doing shoulder work… the guy has serious issues with posture. His ears are well forward of his front delts and his shoulders are forward and he doesnt straighten his arms out… he could benefit from your videos on stretching and corrective exercises. Thanks for the well rounded out training info dude!! I have no interest in ‘body building’. Thanks to you and Mike W I,m lean hybrid all the way. recently, I went to a local gym and dead lifted 100kg (220 pounds). Not a lot for you guys, but I was happy as I only do body weight exercises and kettlebell style workouts at home. i felt I could’ve upped it a bit too, but next time. I want to be able to deadlift twice my body weight weight ((72kg(158.4lb)) 10 times. Again, thanks for the info and the inspiration.


  9. wrestler strength
    October 28, 2010
    11:20 am

    Great post on a great concept! Thanks guys for everything!!


  10. erik
    March 29, 2011
    1:55 am

    Stephen….Richard….it’s 2011. Take a chill-pill.


  11. Vic Dale
    April 15, 2011
    3:09 pm

    About 14 years ago I was coaching gymnastics and had joined a programme which introduced kids aged about 9-10 years, who had never done anything of the sort in their lives. They usually came from run down areas in the inner cities where there were simply no facilities.

    I had 40 minutes with each group and managed to teach everyone a gymnastic forward and backward roll, a jump- half turn and a hand stand. I don’t recall anyone failing to acheive all four movements and I also managed to fit in some other things as well.

    One boy really stood out. He was was average height and average to athletic build, but his strength was simply amazing. He was about three times as strong as any child I had ever coached, including 15 year olds and I would say he was about twice as strong as most adults.

    I asked how he had got so strong, thinking he must have totally wonderful genetics, but it was simpler than that. His father whom I think may have been a bit of a bully, made him do high numbers of press-ups and chins and started him doing this at an early age. He told me that his dad could sit on him whilst he did press ups and I could well believe it. He could lift all of his school friends above his head.

    I don’t suppose that kid ever ate better than anyone else and he certainly never had dietary supplements and was not jacked up on protein powders. He was just an ordinary kid who had been forced to do heavy and rapid exercise and yes, I am sure he abounded in Lean Hybrid Muscle.

    About 40 years ago, I had unlimited access to a pool with a high board. I was trying to perfect a particular dive and did in the end get really good at it. I would spend 3 or 4 hours at a time diving, swimming to the side, heaving myself out and making for the top board in the shortest possible time. One of my friends watched me and said that the sight of me repeating the process over and over again, day in and day out made him feel tired. The funny thing is I didn’t feel the slightest bit fatigued – far from it, I was ready to go out on the town each night.

    The trick is to find the right inducement. The boy above had his bullying father behind him, the vikings had clan-spirit to drive them forward and I wanted to perfect that dive so much I could almost taste it.

    The thing I always noticed about a good training regime was feeling a slight chill prior to starting, knowing I would either go through the discomfort barrier or I might as well not bother. The old adage; “No pain no gain” really works, but it should not be an excuse for forcing the body with super heavy weights and risking injury or strain, but instead making it work through poundage. Think of each exercise as foot pounds and load the bar with weight which will give a good number, but which can be moved a good number of times. For example, a deadlift using 100lbs will lift the weight 2ft 6ins (when I do it anyway) – that means that each rep is 250 foot pounds. 10 reps are equal to 2500 ft-lbs. If the bar is loaded to 150 lbs and only five reps are possible the set wil only achieve 1875 ft-lbs. If the weight is lowered to 50lbs 20 reps are necessary to acheive 2500 ft-lbs.

    Everyone should find the weight for each exercise which makes for the maximum number of foot pounds to get the best results. This rules out super heavy low reps and very light super-high reps. Look for the maximum amount of work done in each workout.

    Vic Dale


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