As a coach, one of the biggest issues I face is getting people (particularly beginners) to justify why they are lifting the weights they lift. Nearly all people who are new to weightlifting have no idea how to use the science available to them to get the results they want, whether it’s weight gain or weight loss.
Why Should I train to failure??
Studies have shown that training to failure results in a significantly greater increase in the secretion of growth hormone compared to non-failure based training. It also facilitates maximal strength gains, and allows you to break through plateaus. However, this type of programming is NOT a blue print to any movement. For example, you would not squat and dead-lift to failure! if you did, you be at huge risk of injury due to the fatigue in your muscles. This type of training format Is mainly used in the upper body push/pull and isolated leg movements e.g leg extensions and hamstring curls. If you are looking to pack on muscle, this would be your biggest ‘bang for your buck’ training method to get the stimulus needed to grow muscle. However, when it comes to bulking the amount of progress you make is massively defined by the quality of your movement and your nutrition.
Time to start failing
Training to failure is a time proven technique for maximising muscular growth. From a physiological point of view, failure occurs during the concentric phase of a repetition when the muscles can’t produce sufficient force to continue to move the weight upward. The exercise set must be ended and a brief period of recovery begins where more immediate energy (ATP) is given time to be re-generated by the muscles. During this recovery time some metabolic by-products inside and outside of the muscle fibre tissues are removed or restored. It is important to note that the challenged muscle fibres aren’t entirely fatigued at this point, they just can’t produce enough force to overcome the specific load. This is the point where the lifter would drop the resistance load to continue working a particular muscle group, there by releasing more growth hormone (HGH).
The best athletes are defined by their failures. As your strength coach …..I urge you to start failing!
Andrew Graham BSC Honours
Strength coach and injury specialist
2nd floor RSU tower
Sukhumvit soi 31 –Tel – 02-662-161