Training To Failure…Does It Lead To More Muscle

Training To Failure…Does It Lead To More Muscle 

We have all heard the terms “leave it all in the gym” “only count reps when they hurt” “go to failure you will get bigger” 

So thats left gym goers thinking you ave to go to failure every time you step in the gym in order to make any change to their body 

Before completely dismissing the need to go to failure every time you go into the gym there is some “truth” to the meaning 

To create any change you need to create a change to the boys “normal” that means you have to train hard after all if getting in shape was easy everyone would be in shape 

Training hard will cause an adaptation, after all the bigger the stimulus the bigger the change 

So you might be thinking then training to failure is a good thing, training to failure is a huge stimulus so that will cause the biggest change and technically you're right 


You then have to weigh up the recovery time from training to failure 

Training to failure will cause a huge stimulus but if you completely exhaust a muscle the recovery time would be huge this will the stop you from training again

We know that training volume has a huge effect on muscle growth, the more volume for the most part you will grow more (with enough intensity) but if you go to failure and you cant workout for another 3/4 days then yes you have got a huge stimulus but you are no where near your volume targets to grow 

Training with a few reps in the tank, will again cause a stimulus, granted not as big as going to failure however the recovery time will be far quicker so you could train the same muscle more frequently upping your volume and potentially increasing the muscles size 

Is there a time or place…

You can argue the best times to go to failure or the safest ways to go to failure, the best times to train to failure is going to be in your last week on your training cycle (training cycles being between 4-12 weeks) this is because you have a rest/de-load week coming up you will get extra recovery 

The safest things for you to go to failure on…

Things that won’t potentially be fatal…but in all seriousness 

Squatting to failure isn't fun/that safe but doing leg extensions will be fine 
Bicep/tricep/lat raise training to failure again is safe and due to the smaller muscle sizes are usually quicker to recover while benching to failure again isn't fun and you will need a trusted spotter 
What is important…

When it comes to building muscle yes you must train hard a bigger stimulus the bigger the adaptation, but pushing that stimulus to failure will then be counter productive to your training, recovery will take longer so you wont be able to training hard enough to cause more stimulus 

Take your foot of the pedal a little 

Leaving a few reps in the tank per set, or managing your weight increases in a training cycle is key to maximise results, yes you want to cause a stimulus but leave just enough in the tank so your recovery is quicker so you can train again 

A good training cycle will start with lighter weights increasing intensity through the weeks until the last few weeks are very tough then you rest/de-load and start again

Training hard throughout your whole training cycle again will lead to bigger rest needed (but thats a different post) a good indication that you a recovering well and improving is seeing if the weight you are lifting is increasing throughout a cycle 

If the weight on the barbell is increasing you're doing a great job, if your stagnant then something needs to change, maybe you started the cycle to heavy, maybe you're not recovering enough, maybe you're not eating right…

Take homes…

Train hard BUT avoid going to failure 

Training for size and strength is a long game, think of the training cycle rather than the session right in front of you 

You should always be improving