Training to failure – good or bad?

How do you work with weight? You come to the rack with dumbbells, take the appropriate weight and face a dilemma – to perform a fixed number of repetitions or to do an exercise until you can physically lift the weight. The second tactic is called performing exercises to failure, it is adhered to by many amateurs and professionals. But popular is not always the best, especially in such a specific issue. We will understand the features, advantages and disadvantages when working with weight to complete muscle failure.

It is easy to perform each exercise to failure, you will not have to count repetitions and strive for a particular number. But simplicity is the reason why many people are frustrated with their work in the hall. That is why mistakes and failures are the most discussed topic in the fitness industry.

There is no consensus regarding work with weight to failure. Someone calls this strategy a secret of success, others a recipe for how to get overtraining, and a direct path to injury. What will work to failure for you – a way to achieve goals or complete devastation and the destruction of the chances of success.

training to failure

The essence of training to failure

Although there are many types of muscle failure, the most frequently mentioned type is known as concentric failure, and this is what most people mean when they talk about rejection. From the point of view of this definition, a certain moment in the approach becomes the concentric failure, when the next repetition cannot be completed completely, since the concentric phase of muscle work cannot be completed. In order for muscle contraction to occur after failure, external assistance will be required, for example, the help of a partner or your own reading.

If we take the bench press as an example, the failure will be the moment when, after the lowering of the barbell, you cannot squeeze it back to its original position.

Scientific look at muscle failure

Unfortunately, there are very few studies that reveal and explain the connection between muscle failure and training progress. It is unlikely that such studies will appear in the near future, but there are several facts that are known for sure, as well as circumstances that are known intuitively to professionals in the field of fitness.

Training to failure scientifically

Increase strength

If you conduct training to failure regularly, they will contribute to building muscle strength. It is proved that such a strategy contributes to muscle hypertrophy, facilitates the collection of muscle mass and allows you to break through the plateau effect. Training should take place regularly, give sufficient load, but not too high, so as not to cause overtraining.

muscle building

Stimulate the production of growth hormone

Comparison of training to failure and not to failure shows that the first strongly contribute to the synthesis of growth hormone. But the production of growth hormone depends on many factors, training to failure will be only one of them, so you should not pin crucial importance on them.

hard training

Efficiency depends on training experience.

So much training to failure will be effective for you personally, largely depends on your personal training experience. If we carry out a conditional gradation for beginners, intermediate and advanced athletes, then the work to failure will be useful for advanced and intermediate level athletes, for advanced it will become more productive. Beginners of training to failure are not needed, due to the low level of general physical fitness and endurance, this strategy can lead to unpleasant consequences – injuries and overtraining.


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