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Thread: Consistently training to failure?

  1. #1
    Always Learning IZich's Avatar
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    Consistently training to failure?

    I was reading an article on AtLargeNutrition on muscle recovery, and the writer briefly covered the issue of training to failure. According to the article, most of the time training to failure is counterproductive to muscle recovery times as well as possibly damaging to hypertrophy. The writer stated that training to failure should be the exception, not the rule.

    Thoughts on this? If you agree with this, please elaborate more on the reasoning. Thanks so much!
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    Player Hater PowerManDL's Avatar
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    Depends on what you want to define as failure. Also depends on the load you're using.

    Typically speaking, I reserve heavy subjective effort of any type (to include training to failure) for maybe one or two weeks out of every four to six.

    Though on lighter isolation-type work, it won't be as big of an impact as on heavy barbell work, that's something to take into account also.
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    Banned bjohnso's Avatar
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    I never intentionally go to failure. If I don't think I have that last rep in me I'll rack the bar, and hit the goal the next time. Going to failure just takes too much time to recover and I'm too impatient.

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    i usually stop 1 rep before failure. each time.

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    Scorpion32
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    If you train to failure you MUST take at least 5-6 days off that muscle group and only do 2 to 3 heavy sets per lift and only 2 to 3 excercises per body part. I do it and i like it. I have gained some good inches in my legs chestand back as well as my arms. The to to lifting to failure is recovery from evrybody I have talked to and everything I have read. Oh yeah every 6 to 8 weeks you need to take a week off from the gym.

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    Senior Member RichMcGuire's Avatar
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    Im not sure about any set rules. I cant see how once and awhile would hurt you. From how I understand things, training to failure everytime is hard on your CNS, which can limit your ability to truly fatigue the muscle over time.
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    Quote Originally Posted by bjohnso View Post
    I never intentionally go to failure. If I don't think I have that last rep in me I'll rack the bar, and hit the goal the next time. Going to failure just takes too much time to recover and I'm too impatient.
    I agree. The only time I go to failure would be if I miss my 1 RM attempt. I did this quite often last year when I was using Westside, but I've switched routines and the heaviest I'll be doing is doubles.

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    Scorpion32
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    Quote Originally Posted by RedSpikeyThing View Post
    I agree. The only time I go to failure would be if I miss my 1 RM attempt. I did this quite often last year when I was using Westside, but I've switched routines and the heaviest I'll be doing is doubles.
    Respectfully the reason you go to failure when you didn't reach you max is that you were lacking strength. Training to failure forces the body to react and gain muscle in turn gain strength. I have learned that you muscles won't get stonger unless they need to.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Scorpion32 View Post
    Respectfully the reason you go to failure when you didn't reach you max is that you were lacking strength. Training to failure forces the body to react and gain muscle in turn gain strength. I have learned that you muscles won't get stonger unless they need to.
    That's what I meant - the only reason I fail is on 1 RMs when I don't actually have the strength. Other than that it's under control and I'll stop a rep early.

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    Banned bjohnso's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Scorpion32 View Post
    Respectfully the reason you go to failure when you didn't reach you max is that you were lacking strength. Training to failure forces the body to react and gain muscle in turn gain strength. I have learned that you muscles won't get stonger unless they need to.
    Training to failure is not the ideal way to gain strength.

  11. #11
    Scorpion32
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    Quote Originally Posted by bjohnso View Post
    Training to failure is not the ideal way to gain strength.
    You have already stated that. Why? I am not here to bash your training. I am here to gain knowlenge and give my knowledge and experience to others. From my experience intensity and training to failure is a good way to force the muscles to have to repair themselfs to handle the load you placed upon it the previous time you lifted. That along with good diet and rest/recovery will gain strength and lots of it. Am I right? Some would say yes! Am I wrong others would say I am wrong, but why? You said it takes too much time to recover and you are too impatient. Is that why it is not ideal for you?

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    Former Fatass Unreal's Avatar
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    Time under tension, stress on the muscles, and many factors go into sending your body a signal to build new muscle. Going to failure can be a signal, but you don't have to reach that point to get results. Going to failure often can lead to CNS burnout as your central nervous system which must adapt for the load can't repair and react fast enough. You need more then just muscle mass to move big weights.

    Also, people define failure as different things. You should always push yourself and struggle to get the last few reps out, but going to a past that point can lead to some bad stuff.
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    Getting Swole hoser813's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Scorpion32 View Post
    You have already stated that. Why? I am not here to bash your training. I am here to gain knowlenge and give my knowledge and experience to others. From my experience intensity and training to failure is a good way to force the muscles to have to repair themselfs to handle the load you placed upon it the previous time you lifted. That along with good diet and rest/recovery will gain strength and lots of it. Am I right? Some would say yes! Am I wrong others would say I am wrong, but why? You said it takes too much time to recover and you are too impatient. Is that why it is not ideal for you?
    There is an "organ" called the Golgi Tendon Organ that is located inbetween where the muscle fibers attach to the tendons that is sensitive to tension in the muscle. It is activated by too much stress on the muscle and causes it to relax to prevent damage. When you train to failure, you are causing the GTO to activate thus not getting the rep. Repeated activation will cause the GTO to react more frequently, thus seemingly reducing strength.
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  14. #14
    Scorpion32
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    I define failure as no longer able to complete a rep with good form. I try to have my failure between 4 and 6 reps. If I can get more then 6 reps I am lifting too light, If I can't get 4 reps I am lifting too heavy. I also try to either go up in reps or weight every week. I also only lift each body part once a week directly. I use almost all compound movemets. This type of training is called progressive overload if any body would like to do a search on it.

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    Always Learning IZich's Avatar
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    thanks unreal for the details. I define failure as actually "failing" to do the rep - I can't re-rack the bar, I can't lock out, etc.

    The only 3 exercises I worry about going to failure on are the big 3 - bench, deads and squats. For some reason it seems natural to me that avoiding failure simply means that I still have some left in the tank, and I walk away from the gym unsatisfied. I guess it takes maturity to hold back.

    However, everyone here is saying it's not worth it to wait that long for CNS and muscle recovery in between training to failure. The way my split is, I do those 3 only once a week (Mondays, Wednesdays, Fridays). Since they are fairly separate muscle groups, would training to failure "once a week, per body part" still be considered too much? On bench days, I feel my pecs and arms to be fully restored before I start the workout.
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    B320 S315 D440 = 1075
    The Road to 1200
    I'm always open to suggestions and critique, so stop by and help a brother out!

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  16. #16
    Banned bjohnso's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by IZich View Post
    thanks unreal for the details. I define failure as actually "failing" to do the rep - I can't re-rack the bar, I can't lock out, etc.

    The only 3 exercises I worry about going to failure on are the big 3 - bench, deads and squats. For some reason it seems natural to me that avoiding failure simply means that I still have some left in the tank, and I walk away from the gym unsatisfied. I guess it takes maturity to hold back.

    However, everyone here is saying it's not worth it to wait that long for CNS and muscle recovery in between training to failure. The way my split is, I do those 3 only once a week (Mondays, Wednesdays, Fridays). Since they are fairly separate muscle groups, would training to failure "once a week, per body part" still be considered too much? On bench days, I feel my pecs and arms to be fully restored before I start the workout.

    Wether it's too much or not is entirely individual, but it will catch up with you eventually and you will have to take a break from lifting (this is true even if you don't lift to failure). If you don't train to failure repeatedly then generally speaking you can go longer before you have to take a week or so off. When you train to failure excessively your strength tends to take a dump, which tends to piss off us bodybuilders/powerlifters.
    Last edited by bjohnso; 02-05-2007 at 04:46 PM. Reason: spelling

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    Ive never gone to failure on any type of shoulder exercise but my shoulders developed extremely fast compared to most of my other body parts, dont see how going to failure is very important; though it is a lot more fun.
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    This is a very interesting dicussion.
    I do BGB so I hit every muscle twice a week, and I may have been making the mistake of training to failure on every set of certain excercises, but to know this for sure can you please define training to failure?
    You see when I flat bench I do 5x5 and I use a weight I can only lift 5 times, I thought that was the point. Should I actually be using a weight I can lift 6 times and only lift it 5 times to avoid training to failure? The same is also true for bicep curls and bicep concentration curls, should i ease off a bit, especially as I'm hitting the muscles twice a week?
    Thanks.

  19. #19
    Always Learning IZich's Avatar
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    jconrad,

    if you can only lift it 5 times, and are actually lifting it 5 times, you are not lifting to failure.
    If you can only lift something 4 times and the 5th time you drop the weight before you complete the rep, THAT is failure.

    I think most people would say that doing that (as in not lifting to failure, but coming quite close) twice a week is safe. My opinion is that it's okay. How are your gains on BGB?
    6'2" | 215 lbs

    B320 S315 D440 = 1075
    The Road to 1200
    I'm always open to suggestions and critique, so stop by and help a brother out!

    "Determination is the wake-up call to the human will." - TR

  20. #20
    Back on track.. ray34iyf's Avatar
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    Well, aren't you suppose to train to failure when using Wbb #1 because of the lack of volume? That's what I've been doing and have been burning out a bit lately so maybe that's the problem.
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    Quote Originally Posted by ray34iyf View Post
    Well, aren't you suppose to train to failure when using Wbb #1 because of the lack of volume? That's what I've been doing and have been burning out a bit lately so maybe that's the problem.
    No, you're supposed to lift as much weight as you can while sticking within the 6-8 range.

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    Quote Originally Posted by IZich View Post
    jconrad,

    if you can only lift it 5 times, and are actually lifting it 5 times, you are not lifting to failure.
    If you can only lift something 4 times and the 5th time you drop the weight before you complete the rep, THAT is failure.

    I think most people would say that doing that (as in not lifting to failure, but coming quite close) twice a week is safe. My opinion is that it's okay. How are your gains on BGB?
    Thanks for clearing this up for me, i was a little worried about my puny CNS lol.. I'm very happy with my gains on BGB, both in terms of strength and hypertrophy, which as far as I understand it, is the way Built structured the routine for both strength and size. She did a great job.

  23. #23
    Back on track.. ray34iyf's Avatar
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    No, you're supposed to lift as much weight as you can while sticking within the 6-8 range.
    Hmmm...Well since my intensity has been down and all and I'm showing mild signs of overtraining(My progress isn't really showing it; I'm still hitting prs.), do you suggest I take the rest of the week off, or get some good sleep and rest and go at leg day wednesday?
    Age: 20
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    Weight:~160 @ 13-15 bf%?....starting figure after nearly a year of battling CFS/mono...so not too bad imo.

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  24. #24
    Always Learning IZich's Avatar
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    If you're still hitting pr's, most likely you are nowhere near overtraining. You will plateau during overtraining.
    I would say get sleep and rest, and go at it on wednesday.
    Our bodies can usually take a lot more stress than we think.
    6'2" | 215 lbs

    B320 S315 D440 = 1075
    The Road to 1200
    I'm always open to suggestions and critique, so stop by and help a brother out!

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  25. #25
    Who me? Chubrock's Avatar
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    Guys, this has all been discussed before. Try a search.

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