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Training to Failure question

Training discussion on Training to Failure question, within the Bodybuilding Forum; Originally Posted by 0311 From 0311's post 6 months ago, "A Training Philosophy For Solid Mass Gain by Kelly Baggett" ...


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Old 04-16-2007, 09:53 AM   #1
ghij_mpu
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Default Training to Failure question

Quote:
Originally Posted by 0311 View Post
From 0311's post 6 months ago, "A Training Philosophy For Solid Mass Gain by Kelly Baggett"

Snip

25. Is failure necessary?
A muscle does not have to be trained to failure to be stimulated either. Microtrauma results from any increase in tension beyond what a muscle is fully adapted to. Failure and forced reps donít do much, if anything extra for strength or size gains, yet they do create a lot of fatigue and prolong recovery time. How many 135 pound bench pressers have you seen doing forced reps with spotters saying, ďItís all you?Ē How many 400 pound plus bench pressers have you seen doing forced reps period?

snip
I have a question about training to failure. I've seen the above philosophy in a few different posts here on bb.net, and I'm a little confused.

I am currently training using Rippetoe's Starting Strength. I am adding weight each workout and from what I understand I should keep adding weight until I start missing reps. But the only way I'll know I'm missing reps is to try to squeeze out those last really hard reps and ultimately I will reach failure and not finish a rep. But to do this, I can not adhere to the quoted advice above.

I take the recovery aspects of training very serious and I really need to at my age (I turn 50 this week). So there is my confusion. Am I jeopardizing my recovery by pushing out those last reps that I can barely do? If so, how do I miss reps to know when to reset?

As an example, yesterday I Benched a PR for 3x5. I did the last rep out of shear determination that I was going to do it no matter what, and I feel like it fell under the forced rep category. So technically I didn't miss a rep, but it was forced. If I read the above quote correctly, I shouldn't need a spotter, I'll know not to do that last one or two forced reps.

I normally would have posted this question in my journal, but I think this topic will get better visibility for all to see if I post it here in the Training Forum.

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Old 04-16-2007, 10:17 AM   #2
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I think the purpose of the article is so you are not doing it all the time and it is not "needed" to grow. In your program you are going to hit that wall and it is ok to go to failure. Remember the program says to keep adding weight until you start missing reps, i.e., going to failure. So when you really need that spot for the last rep or two, you shouldn't add weight the next time till you can get that weight up by yourself. Once you can do that, then technically you are not training to failure. A forced rep here and there is ok, it is the nature of progression and taking you body to the next level. Just don't keep adding weight and continue to do those forced reps and missed reps.

What I like to do is if I miss a rep, then keep to that weight till I just get that last rep, I'll use that weight one more week to see how easy it is and then the following week add weight, example.

Squat, last set:
week 1, 315x5
week 2, 320x4
week 3, 320x5 (just got last rep)
week 4, 320x5
week 5, 325x5

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Old 04-16-2007, 10:35 AM   #3
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That article relates more to the people doing ridiculous amounts of volume or doing 'kill sets', I think.

I think Dave has a good point. Everyone ends up with a forced rep or a missed rep sooner or later. Preferably later

Look at it this way, doing rippetoes program (for example) you can smash through PRs for quite a while before you end up missing reps. But once you miss a rep it becomes that much harder to keep setting new PRs. Training to failure is not ideal, but look at the progress you make leading up to your first couple missed reps.

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Old 04-16-2007, 10:55 AM   #4
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When I was doing a strict D.C. program most is taken to compleat failure. finishing on the neg. But then again your only talking about doing a single working set per body part.

I couldnt imagine doing high volume and going to failure on each set would be to good for you

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Old 04-16-2007, 11:31 AM   #5
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I agree with everyone. Don't take the failure thing out of the context it was written in. And remember that there is a difference between reaching momentary failure and "failure training" which is what the article is reffering to. I.E. making going to failure a GOAL of training because some people believe that if you don't go to failure on every set or on every last set ore something your muscles won't grow.

Kelly is just saying that is not true. And if you went to failure every time on something like Rippetoe...you wouldn't progress. That doesn't mean that your are not going to reach failure sometimes and it is certainly going to be necessary to do that. But if you DON'T reach failure but increase the stimulous next workout you adapt and get stronger and grow. Whereas continuous working to failure causes more fatigue and more inroads on recovery.

That actually reminds me of that progression example I told you was wrong. Where you miss reps add weight, then miss more reps and add more weight....that was more like failure training. Here when you reach failure you are actually either holding over the weight or lighteining the increments or backing off, etc...all of which serve to allow recovery to catch up and mangage fatigue.

Given that it is perfectly ok to work to failure on some things...such as your pullups in Rippetoe. And besides, for myself when it's getting tough and I am trying to push out that last hard rep I have no intention of failing! I just had a bench press rep where I got stuck in the middle (where I always do) and the bar hovered in the air for at least 5 seconds maybe more unitl I got it up. That's a long time. But I got the rep. It wasn't forced. I didn't technically train to failure. Quite frankly I doubt many people could do it and there is no way I could do that if I hadn't pushed out those last seemingly impossible reps in the past or at least tried to.

Remember that a huge part of strength development is neural. Your nervous system has to learn to call the muscle fiber to action more effeciently. Those hard reps can be a big part of that process.

If you were to stop short of that point when it comes in the interest of avoiding failure it would be detrimental to your abilitly to generate intensity. Failure is a tool just like anything else which can be used correctly or abused.

Anyway, sufficeth to say that what you are doing is perfect and you have nothing to worry about. Just keep plugging.

Last edited by EricT; 04-16-2007 at 12:05 PM..

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If you act sanctimonious I will just list out your logical fallacies until you get pissed off and spew blasphemous remarks.
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Old 04-16-2007, 01:04 PM   #6
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Thanks everyone. Now that you explained it, you're all right that I was reading the intent of the original quote wrong, which explains why I asked. I'm definitely not training to failure every set. But there will be times when I do hit failure and that's OK.

My last rep of Bench Press yesterday was exactly like Eric's. I was stuck in the middle. My spotter started reaching for the bar, but I told him I'll get it. It took a while, but I got it. So to test my understanding...I'll use the same weight next time I Bench and it should be a little easier. If it is, I'll add weight the next time.
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