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Abaddon 01-18-2011 01:23 PM

Philosophy of Failure
This is a broad question, I guess. But I will try and explain it.

I've recently received info from a reliable source about training to failure. Apparently working to failure on most if not all sets in a workout is NOT the way to go about it.

Now, as you know, there's failure and there's failure; on paper it's a very fine line, yet having the right motivation/dietary stimulant/support person(s) can make a big BIG difference.

I've always trained this way, in rough halves:
Reps to the brink of complete failure as often as possible in my major compounds, at the start of the routine (and when you're training solo, the brink is quite stark).
Reps in the high ranges (12-15+ per set) on isolations; not to failure, but high intensity and exhausting.

I'd like to know how other people structure their routines, and how/when/why reps to failure is utilised?


BendtheBar 01-18-2011 01:32 PM

I have never trained to failure. It's simply not needed for muscle or strength gains, so I ignore it and focus instead on maxing clean reps on sets.

It's not needed for beginner gains, and beyond that when the weight gets heavy, it can amplify CNS stress and beat the snot out of the body.

Some people can handle it better than others, and I certainly think people CAN use it at times. But I do not in any way feel it's needed.

If you are going to use it, I recommend using it on your last set of an exercise. Lifting involves a form of pleasure, and some people enjoy training to failure, so I will never say "never use it."

Steroid users require more intense contractions to stimulate receptors and new growth so failure is a more vital approach for that side of the sport.

5kgLifter 01-18-2011 01:39 PM

I never train to failure but I've read the same thing and concerning more than one discipline.

If something is taken to its limit/failure, the body responds by slamming the brakes on in anticipation at the next session and that's a surefire way to take a step backwards.

I do sessions in which I have 100 deadlifts and that kind of thing, but still never to failure just higher volume and with plenty of rests so that it never gets to the point of tiring either.

Abaddon 01-18-2011 01:41 PM

This is quite counter-intuitive to what I've read, BTB. Thanks for your contribution.

I've always thought that the most gains are made in the last couple of reps. Therefore it follows (to my mind at least) that maximum exertion in the last reps of each set is optimum...?

EDIT: you say you've NEVER trained to failure? Never ever? I thought it was essential?! Some of the time, at least.

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