Is Training to Failure Good for Muscle Growth?

Is training to failure good for muscle growth?

One of the foundations of a successful bodybuilder is to build a training program so that it necessarily contain sets to complete failure of muscles. If you are involved in powerlifting, training your muscles to failure is contraindicated, this is purely a bodybuilding method for increasing muscle.
At this moment maybe you have the same obvious question: why bodybuilders need to use this method in order to build muscle mass, while powerlifters are able to get such a large force and gain a huge amount of muscle mass without it?
The answer to this question you will find further in this article. We will explain why training to failure is or was considered a good method to get muscle grow and how it works and if you really need to include it in your training program.

There always have been two main techniques of training in bodybuilding that contradict each other. One of them says that the muscle growth happens due to working with low weight and high reps, while the other, in turn, argues that the weight has to be critical, and the number of repetitions can be reduced to minimum.

There were also famous bodybuilders who claim that it is enough to make just one set with maximum weight. In this case the approach should be carried out as long as the muscle is not completely fail, and the athlete can not perform even the part of the movement. One of them is Arthur Jones who invented the trainer "Nautilus”. Since he was a highly respected man among bodybuilders, many people follow his advice. Suddenly, this method really have produced results, thousands of people like exploding inside, revealing a so muscle growth, they did not even know existed.

Many years have been passed since then, and so, there is a reason and an opportunity to consider this method of training to failure closer and evaluate it with a fresh eyes.

So, what is the basis of bodybuilding, which physiology laws contribute to the success in the gym? There are two main laws. The first one said that any physical activity leads to increase of muscle mass, and secondly, if the load is the same type, then the growth will be very short.

This is a quite good news for novice bodybuilders. Why? Because even if you build a clumsy exercise program, muscles will still receive load, and thus will grow. Most important is that problems begins after this -muscles adapt to this load, and their growth stop. So have to do some changes in your training program, because if you continue to do the same way you will get no results. You will never get the your final goal about a nice builded body.

Generally there is no such program to which you can stick and continue to increase muscle mass continuously. The main factor is to change from time to time exercises included in your training program. Performing the same exercises you will not get anywhere, but by vary methods, you will see that the mass begins to grow.

That’s the point which explains the success of training to failure method proposed by Arthur Jones. As you see, he doesn’t come up with a magical method, but just changed their training methods, so that the muscles started to grow. Over time, muscles adapt to the relinquished training, and was invented a new one.

You have to understand that such training can be not only useful, but also harmful to everyone who try it.
Obviously, the main indicator of a bodybuilder is a large amount of muscle mass. However, it is important that it constantly grow. This means that we should not immediately jump to the maximum weight, but  increase it gradually, carefully approaching the maximum and overcoming it. Thus, the load will continue to grow, and with it will continue to grow your muscles. Take, for example, the bench press. Start with 30 pounds, and gradually increase the weight. Thus, in case of a continuously work, you will gain 80 pounds and this is a perfect indicator for your muscles.

In case of training to failure such scenario is not possible. First of all, because here weight is a critical factor. And such a critical weight, oddly enough, is not sufficient load for muscle growth. Anabolism is not stimulated by such kind of work, and as you know without anabolic process there is no growth.

It is also proved that such a male hormone testosterone is produced primarily during large number of sets and repetitions.
Also, have to be noted that training to failure is much more traumatic, and threatens the state of overtraining.

Another aspect that have to be mentioned is that training to failure cause lack of oxygen in the blood. In this case, if you practice this training method too long, the regularity of muscle oxygen saturation is disrupted, which can lead to massive destruction of the cells of muscle tissue. And this means a  significant loss of muscle mass.

Also, have to be said that training to failure have is a mediocre form of exercise. Given the weight with which you work, the joints support a huge overload. Moreover, recovery from such training is quite long, and if practice training to failure for a period of time, you can easily achieve a state of overtraining. And if you do not have the opportunity to acquire very expensive pharmacological therapy is highly recommended do not play with this.

Obviously, use of this method in everyday training is not necessary. If you bring the arm to the limit in each approach, it will not cause muscle growth. However, as a means to surprise your adapted muscles you can include training to failure in your workout, and this would be a good choice.

Then how to stimulate muscle growth?
If training to failure doesn’t ensure muscle growth, what can bodybuilders do in order to achieve it?

There is a only one answer, namely consistently and steadily increase the weight. Moreover, it should be noted that this is not a linear process, which must be followed for years. If you do, you can reach so called training plateau, which means  that you stuck to this stage for a very long time, and will be unable to raise your weight.

The secret here is that the hard training should alternate with unloading days, in which the weight should be reduced. Combination of periods of hard work with periods of unloading should be three to one.
As already mentioned, in order to trigger muscle growth has to begin the anabolism process, which is achieved by the total number of repetitions of the exercise. The more approaches and repetitions you perform, the higher is muscle growth. However, there are many cases when fatigue doesn’t allow you to perform total amount of exercises that you have included in your exercises program.
There is a very interesting fact that you have to be aware of. This fatigue affects primarily not core muscles, but stabilizing muscles. They are much less than core muscles, therefore get exhausted much faster. As a result, the athlete stops even before the target muscle was obtained the required load.

There are different recommendations, one of them is to finish the target muscle group in a special insulating simulator that offloads the stabilizing muscles, concentrating on those you are working on.
But this, of course, does not mean that it's time to abandon basic exercises. The rule is quite simple: after performing basic exercises, you have to work on core muscles using isolating simulators, in which case the muscle growth is assured.

The idea that training to failure is not absolutely necessary is confirmed by a study developed by Complutense University of Madrid. It shows that if you finish each set before you fail, you get your will get your muscle grow and increase this way muscle strength too.

As you see training to failure is not that ideal, magical method that can get your muscle grow very fastly. But we have to “give to Caesar what is Caesar’s” and to say that it is a great method to alternate your workout, and thus take out your muscles from adopted stage they are in. Think very well before getting involved in a such method of training as it include a high risk of injuries. Also, you may get overtraining very fast and you will need a longer period of recovery than in case of usual workouts. Moreover, training to failure doesn’t trigger anabolism  process, responsible for muscle growth. It is achieved during performing many repetitions, and you have to be aware of this.

However, it’s up to you to make the right decision to include training to failure in your workout program or not.  But we are pretty sure if that after reading this post if you decide to do it, you will do it maximum carefully and will pay attention details that will keep you away from any injury.  

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About F Kyle

It just me, i love to write and sharing nice articles and stories about sports, anabolic steroids and about how to build solid muscles.

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