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Thread: Failure to go to Failure???

  1. #1
    Senior Member Craig James's Avatar
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    I have noticed that many of you have posted routines that encourage heavy sets that go to a percentage of muscular failure- but not all of the way.

    I'm sorry, but this makes no sense to me. It is my opinion that to stress the muscle best and most efficiently, one's heavy set(s) should go to the complete muscular failure point and beyond.

    I am just curious if any of you who espouse the percentage ideas have found any decent gains to be made from this method...

  2. #2
    Soon to be lean... Joe Black's Avatar
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    Well, I don't ever train under failure..

    However I do train LESS beyond failure as I used to.. I find I progress more if I use forced reps sparingly so in a way this supports training under failure..

    Anyone else notice this?

  3. #3
    Player Hater PowerManDL's Avatar
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    Originally posted by Craig James
    I have noticed that many of you have posted routines that encourage heavy sets that go to a percentage of muscular failure- but not all of the way.

    I'm sorry, but this makes no sense to me. It is my opinion that to stress the muscle best and most efficiently, one's heavy set(s) should go to the complete muscular failure point and beyond.

    I am just curious if any of you who espouse the percentage ideas have found any decent gains to be made from this method...
    Yep.

    Muscular failure adds to the efficiency of a given set because it recruits a majority of the muscle's fibers in the final fatigued reps, but it has its drawbacks--

    One, since those fibers are recruited in a fatigued state, the mass of them aren't getting fatigued, and therefore, stimulated to grow.

    Two, failure itself isn't the stimulus for hypertrophy-- that's a function of amount of muscular tension per unit time. You may in fact be limiting yourself by *consistently* doing low volume work, when by stopping a rep or two short of failure and adding a set, you could enhance that TUT and thusly growth potential.

    Now, this isn't to say that you low-volume enthusiasts don't have a point about recovery. I feel that this is a valid concern, and a reason to cycle both methods.

    Three, when I use heavy weights (5's or less), that's geared to do two things: develop high-end strength by activating motor units that the lighter weights to failure can't activate, or don't activate properly with the 1-3 rep sets; and target the fast-twitch fibers in a given muscle to stimulate them for growth; this is done with the 5-6 rep sets.

    Its all about trying to organize the different approaches-- there are times when higher volume is good, times when low volume is good, and times when max weights are good. There are other approaches as well that have places in mass routines, as plateau-busters or other methods. They should all be included as needed.

    That's my reasoning.

    Power
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    Rockin' the midlife crisis xraygirl's Avatar
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    I don't go to absolute failure for purely practical reasons. I lift at 4:00 a.m. After that, it's deal with the kids and work from 7:00 til 4:00 p.m. or 6:00 p.m. depending on my shift. After that is school on Mon & Wed till 10:45 p.m. get home to bed at about 11:00 p.m. and start again the next day. I'd be dead inside a week if I trained to absolute failure.

    Diana, sleep deprived in Japan

  5. #5
    Meathead Philosopher Pup's Avatar
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    I think training to failure is a must, you gotta lift heavy and you need to go to your breaking point to achieve maximal hypertrophy, this is just my opinion of course.
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  6. #6
    WBBs motivational Speaker Rock's Avatar
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    How can you not go to failure....?????
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    So how do you rotate low volume/high volume/max weights/etc.? How often do you change it up and/or what do you observe in your workout that signal "time for a change?"

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  8. #8
    Senior Member hemants's Avatar
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    I always train to concentric failure on every work set with a couple of exceptions.


    With squats, I am uncomfortable with the idea of failing and letting the weight drop on the pins so I try and go to "one rep short of failure".

    Similarly with deadlifts, since it is always my lower back that seems to give first, I am uncomfortable with the idea of going to failure. I'd rather superset with a safer leg exercise.

    I'd be willing to entertain suggestions though

  9. #9
    Player Hater PowerManDL's Avatar
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    Originally posted by IceRgrrl
    So how do you rotate low volume/high volume/max weights/etc.? How often do you change it up and/or what do you observe in your workout that signal "time for a change?"
    If you're using linear periodization, that can be hard.

    Fortunately, that's not what I recommend.

    I think the low-volume failure and higher-volume to non-failure should be the back-bone--- just alternate periods where one is the mainstay, and the other is used every 3rd workout or so.

    Throw in the max weights for an exercise or so every couple of workouts.

    The rules aren't set in stone-- just keep progressing.

    Power
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  10. #10
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    Hey Power when you are talking about higher volume, are you increasing the amount of reps, sets?

  11. #11
    Player Hater PowerManDL's Avatar
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    Originally posted by Esprit
    Hey Power when you are talking about higher volume, are you increasing the amount of reps, sets?
    Volume as in set volume; more sets.

    Power
    Vin Diesel has a fever.. and the only prescription is more cowbell.

    Budiak: That girl I maced
    Budiak: macked
    Budiak: heh maced
    Budiak: I wish

    ShmrckPmp5: a good thing people can't fire guns through the computer...your ass would have been shot years ago

    Y2A 47: youre smooth as hell
    Y2A 47: thats why you get outta tickets, and into panties

    galileo: you're a fucking beast and I hate you
    galileo: hate

    assgrabbers are never subtile, they will grabb ass whereever they go,public or not, I know the type, because I am one. - Rock

  12. #12
    As I Am Paul Stagg's Avatar
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    Ever hear of Louie Simmons?

    Dave Tate?

    Ed Coan?

    Fred Hatfield?

    They all suggest training sub- failure.

    It all depends on your goals.

    I currently do not train to failure. If I do fail on a lift, I adjust the poundage so I do not fail next time.

    Training to failure is NOT a must. Progression is.

  13. #13
    Player Hater PowerManDL's Avatar
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    Originally posted by Paul Stagg
    Ever hear of Louie Simmons?

    Dave Tate?

    Ed Coan?

    Fred Hatfield?

    They all suggest training sub- failure.

    It all depends on your goals.

    I currently do not train to failure. If I do fail on a lift, I adjust the poundage so I do not fail next time.

    Training to failure is NOT a must. Progression is.
    Thanks Paul---

    Those four you listed are among my major inspirations for lifting; and a better group I don't think you'd find.

    Power
    Vin Diesel has a fever.. and the only prescription is more cowbell.

    Budiak: That girl I maced
    Budiak: macked
    Budiak: heh maced
    Budiak: I wish

    ShmrckPmp5: a good thing people can't fire guns through the computer...your ass would have been shot years ago

    Y2A 47: youre smooth as hell
    Y2A 47: thats why you get outta tickets, and into panties

    galileo: you're a fucking beast and I hate you
    galileo: hate

    assgrabbers are never subtile, they will grabb ass whereever they go,public or not, I know the type, because I am one. - Rock

  14. #14
    Senior Member Craig James's Avatar
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    Never heard of 'em.

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    MulletII - AKA Ninja Boner Gyno Rhino's Avatar
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    They're all elite powerlifters. Can't believe you've never heard of them.

  16. #16
    King Nothing ericg's Avatar
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    Originally posted by Craig James
    Never heard of 'em.
    Great site, mostly PL stuff:

    http://www.drsquat.com/index.htm


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  17. #17
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    there powerlifters not bodybuilders, different sport.

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    As I Am Paul Stagg's Avatar
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    Which might just make my point about diferent goals, Ronan.

  19. #19
    Senior Member
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    yes true

  20. #20
    Administrator chris mason's Avatar
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    Craig, Fred Hatfield is also known as Dr. Squat, the guy who was either the 1st, or one of the 1st to squat over 1000 lbs.

    Let's take a different look at using these gentleman as our paradigms. First, and foremost, they all take lots and lots of steroids (and other drugs), so the rules of engagement are quite a bit different for them than for a natural trainee. The advantage of training to failure is that it allows the trainee maximal stimulation with minimal volume. Yes, gains can be made at 80-90% intensity levels (or training to 80-95% of failure), but to receive sufficient stimulation, one must perform more work by doing a greater number of sets. Now, a natural trainee has a limited capacity for the body to recover from physical exertion, especially near maximal or maximal exertion. So, if one must perform more work in order to properly stimulate the musculature when training at sub-maximal levels, one runs the risk of outstripping one's ability to recover from said exercise. On the other hand, by training to failure, a trainee can receive sufficient stimulation from fewer sets, thus leaving more energy for recovery, and hopefully, supercompensation. So, the training methodologies that work very well for doped trainees doesn't necessarily translate to a natural one. We must all try to remember that growth doesn't occur while training, it occurs while resting, and like any form of exertion, more exertion requires more recovery. Think of an extreme example, which requires more time for the body to recover, a 100m sprint, or a 3 mile run?

    How about this, I am curious how Yates and Maddog train, how about it guys, how do you train, failure or not?

  21. #21
    Player Hater PowerManDL's Avatar
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    Originally posted by chris mason
    Craig, Fred Hatfield is also known as Dr. Squat, the guy who was either the 1st, or one of the 1st to squat over 1000 lbs.

    Let's take a different look at using these gentleman as our paradigms. First, and foremost, they all take lots and lots of steroids (and other drugs), so the rules of engagement are quite a bit different for them than for a natural trainee. The advantage of training to failure is that it allows the trainee maximal stimulation with minimal volume. Yes, gains can be made at 80-90% intensity levels (or training to 80-95% of failure), but to receive sufficient stimulation, one must perform more work by doing a greater number of sets. Now, a natural trainee has a limited capacity for the body to recover from physical exertion, especially near maximal or maximal exertion. So, if one must perform more work in order to properly stimulate the musculature when training at sub-maximal levels, one runs the risk of outstripping one's ability to recover from said exercise. On the other hand, by training to failure, a trainee can receive sufficient stimulation from fewer sets, thus leaving more energy for recovery, and hopefully, supercompensation. So, the training methodologies that work very well for doped trainees doesn't necessarily translate to a natural one. We must all try to remember that growth doesn't occur while training, it occurs while resting, and like any form of exertion, more exertion requires more recovery. Think of an extreme example, which requires more time for the body to recover, a 100m sprint, or a 3 mile run?

    How about this, I am curious how Yates and Maddog train, how about it guys, how do you train, failure or not?
    The whole point about failure being "sufficient stimulation" is flawed because of the reasons I mentioned above--

    Failure doesn't cause hypertrophy, so there's no conceivable way that a few sets to failure is "maximal stimulation."

    You may "run the risk" of overtraining, yes, but I seriously doubt that doing 3-5 work sets one rep short of failure is going to be that much harder than 2 sets to failure.

    You said that you'll have more energy available for supercompensation with lower volume-- but if lack of energy is what is the stimulus for growth in the first place, then you're cutting that stimulus short. This isn't a problem if you're doing other types of workouts to aid the process, but if you do it consistently, that adds up to a lot of missed growth over the years.

    Not to mention that training only for local muscular endurance can only work for so long before something's got to give; perhaps this is "genetic potential" you claim to reach in two years is in fact a giant plateau?

    As far as Yates and Maddog, why are you pointing out steroids above, then quoting two roiders as examples?

    I've countered every thing you've said many, many times before, and you never have anything new to say about it.

    How many times do I have to keep making the same counters to every point you just raised?

    Power
    Vin Diesel has a fever.. and the only prescription is more cowbell.

    Budiak: That girl I maced
    Budiak: macked
    Budiak: heh maced
    Budiak: I wish

    ShmrckPmp5: a good thing people can't fire guns through the computer...your ass would have been shot years ago

    Y2A 47: youre smooth as hell
    Y2A 47: thats why you get outta tickets, and into panties

    galileo: you're a fucking beast and I hate you
    galileo: hate

    assgrabbers are never subtile, they will grabb ass whereever they go,public or not, I know the type, because I am one. - Rock

  22. #22
    Administrator chris mason's Avatar
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    I have never said anything about it ? Do you have recollection problems? You are also demonstrating your lack of comprehension when you ask why I mentioned Maddog and Yates.

    Answer this, if the stimulus for hypertrophy is "a function of muscular tension per unit time" as you say, why would taking a set to failure not be superior? Let's use an example, a trainee loads 100 lbs on the bench press. He can perform 10 reps to failure with this weight. He performs each rep with a 2 second up/ 4 down cadence. So, if he stops at 8 reps, he has placed his muscles under the amount of tension created by lifting 100 lbs for 48 seconds. If he goes to failure, he has placed the muscle under tension for 60 seconds. Let us say that this trainee can perform 4 sets per session without running the risk of overtraining. So, by stopping short of failure, he has achieved 192 seconds of muscular tension with the 100 lb load. If he had gone to failure, he would have achieved 240 seconds of muscular tension, and by your definition, received more stimulus for growth. Hmmmmm......

  23. #23
    Senior Member Cackerot69's Avatar
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    Let's look at this a different way...

    Since training to failure is a lot more stressful on the nervous system than stopping (say) one rep short of failure you are able to train more often.

    So let's say trainee A trains to failure and adds 5lbs to his squat once a week for a month. That's a 20lb increase in a month.

    So trainee B takes his sets just short of failure, and because he avoids the unnecessary nervous system stress he can train each part every 5 days and he adds 4lbs to his squat every 5 days.

    The failure trainer has 4 sessions of progress in a month, and the non-failure trainer has 6.

    So, the net progress for the failure trainer is 20lbs to his squat, but the net progress for the non-failure trainer is 24lbs to his squat. This all only becomes more evident with more time training.

    Progress is the name of the game, who achieved better results?

  24. #24
    Administrator chris mason's Avatar
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    My argument was based upon the principles presented by Powerman. In addition, you are making the erroneous assumption that the nervous system requires anywhere near the same amount of "recovery" time that muscles do. When one "fails" in weightlifting it has nothing to do with the nervous system, your nerves are still firing away nicely, so why do you think that training to failure causes greater "stress" to the nervous system?


    Oh yeah, ,myself, and everyone who trains in the manner I espouse has made better gains .....
    Last edited by chris mason; 07-16-2001 at 08:08 PM.

  25. #25
    Proud Father Maki Riddington's Avatar
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    Originally posted by chris mason
    When one "fails" in weightlifting it has nothing to do with the nervous system, your nerves are still firing away nicely, so why do you think that training to failure causes greater "stress" to the nervous system?




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