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Do You Need 

To Train To 

🏋️Does training to failure lead to more 'gainz?'

First things first, what is training to failure?

Training to failure means completing as many reps as possible until you cannot perform any more (WHILST maintaining appropriate form because we're training muscles not movements).

Two key mechanisms behind building muscle is muscle fibre activation and mechanical tension.

Training to failure can lead to increased muscle fibre activation!

However, to produce a sufficient amount of tension a minimum number of reps needs to be completed, lets say ~5 as a simple rule of thumb...

📚What does the literature say about training to failure?

  • Training to failure with a heavier load (80% 1RM) produced greater hypertrophy gains vs using a lighter load (60% 1RM) with participants choosing when to end sets (Giessing et al., 2014)

  • However, Sampson and Groeller (2015), observed with loads ~85%, training to failure or stopping a rep or two short resulted in no difference increases in muscle size

  • When comparing training to failure with heavier loads vs lighter loads training to failure or at least very close to failure led to equal increases in muscle size (Nobrega et al., 2018)

🧐So what does this mean?

When using a heavier load with at least 5 reps, training close to failure (1-2 reps shy) may be enough.

When using lighter loads (12+ reps) training TO failure may be required.

Great, why don't we always complete each set to failure?!

Training to failure can be quite taxing on the central nervous system (CNS), which if you're not recovering efficiently, can lead to overtraining.

Key factors to take into consideration:

  • has technique been perfected and form for each rep standardised

  • total volume across the session and week

  • the frequency the muscle is trained

  • are you able to recover from the volume

  • exercise selection (multi-joint vs single-joint)

  • number of reps you're failing at

  • lifting experience (beginners may not need to train as closely to failure)

We hope this helps you decide how to approach your training. Of course, there is never a blanket solution to this topic.

This is something we work closely with our clients and try to perfect.

This way they get the best results from their training and save years of wasted time....

For more information on working with us, follow the links below...

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