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Fitness Theory and Practice. CrossFit's rationale & foundations. Who is fit? What is fitness?

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Old 04-12-2012, 02:08 PM   #1
Bret Goldstein
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Training to Failure

I did a search with no joy. Is there any scientific or anecdotal evidence regarding the best uses of training to muscular failure - defined as training to the point where the exercise can not be done for another repetition without help from an outside source / spotter.

I train things to failure often - pull ups, pressing movements, pushups - and I am wondering if I am doing myself any good - or simply consistantly breaking myself down to no good end.

Anyone who could point me in the right direction on this would be appreciated.

The general goal is strength increase.

Thanks.
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Old 04-12-2012, 03:35 PM   #2
Katherine Derbyshire
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Re: Training to Failure

Training to failure is not generally viewed as the best way to increase strength. Pretty much every strength-oriented program out there focuses on small numbers of reps at relatively heavy loads.

Katherine
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Old 04-12-2012, 04:56 PM   #3
Ryan R Johnson
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Thumbs up Re: Training to Failure

Second what Katherine said. Most strength coaches will tell you to leave one rep in the tank (wendler). And even whet they say failure they advise to stop when you know you won't get the next rep ( Johnny pain).

From my personal experience, when I train to true failure, I don't gain strength. May tax the nervous system too much.

Ive gained more size also, not training to failure vs. bodybuilder style ( failure on every set )
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Old 04-12-2012, 06:25 PM   #4
Chris Mason
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Re: Training to Failure

Training to failure is optimal for hypertrophy or bodybuilding purposes assuming one uses it properly and does not overtrain.

Westside uses it with their special exercises, or accessory work (not for all sets).

It isn't a methodology for very low rep training. So, for example, ME work in the Westside template does not include going to a 1 rep failure attempt.
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Old 04-12-2012, 07:36 PM   #5
Ryan R Johnson
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Re: Training to Failure

Chris mason, power lifters seem to be pretty big dudes. From your experience, have you gained more muscle size from strength training or hypetrophy based routines (bodybuilding style)?

Just curious
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Old 04-12-2012, 08:25 PM   #6
Donald Lee
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Re: Training to Failure

With Reactive Training Systems, many train to failure regularly, but we autoregulate the fatigue. We don't take every exercise/set to failure though. Training to failure tends to be better for learning how to grind, so it can be used for that purpose. If you train to failure regularly, you shouldn't be psyching yourself up, as psyching up can be very stressful.

On the more generic strength training side, many people do sets across where the last set is to failure.

Doing supra-max/failure strategies regularly, such as drop sets and rest pause methods, can be detrimental, if not utilized properly.

So basically, it all depends on the way training to failure is implemented and on the individual's tolerance, training status, and training goals.
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Old 04-12-2012, 09:09 PM   #7
Damon Stewart
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Re: Training to Failure

Zatsiorsky talks about it in his book and cites some studies. Too lazy to dig it up but your google-fu could probably find it.

And Chris, thanks for that little nugget. Attended the PL seminar at Westside but really appreciate your posts here.
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Old 04-12-2012, 09:59 PM   #8
Chris Mason
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Re: Training to Failure

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Originally Posted by Ryan R Johnson View Post
Chris mason, power lifters seem to be pretty big dudes. From your experience, have you gained more muscle size from strength training or hypetrophy based routines (bodybuilding style)?

Just curious
Well, I can't really make that judgement because my Westside training includes plenty of special exercises done in a rep range which works quite well for hypertophy.
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Old 04-12-2012, 10:00 PM   #9
Chris Mason
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Re: Training to Failure

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Originally Posted by Damon Stewart View Post
Zatsiorsky talks about it in his book and cites some studies. Too lazy to dig it up but your google-fu could probably find it.

And Chris, thanks for that little nugget. Attended the PL seminar at Westside but really appreciate your posts here.
Thanks .
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Old 04-22-2012, 01:07 AM   #10
George Marrtinez
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Re: Training to Failure

Well, all the studies suggest leaving something in the tank will make you stronger, and I'd certainly agree to that extent with barbells, and heavy weight training. Body weight movements are slightly different, I think you have a much greater ability to recover from them in my personal experience. I usually warm with 20+ pullups, and then do sets of 5 for 20-40 sets, and push-ups for 8 sets of 25, dips for 12,10,8,6,4,2. I just continue doing pull-ups not the point of failure, but where I feel like I have 3-5 left in the tank, which is near failure. I find I can usually do a bit more every workout. I enjoy these workouts a lot more than weighted pull-ups even though I've worked up to 85lb dumbbells pull-ups as singles, because I really like the feeling of taxing myself, and it enables me to drink more vodka and maintain body composition. But, then again I'm kid size, and even with with 85 pounds hanging from me it's only about a 245 pull. Just experiment, research is one thing, but everyone's body responds differently to different training.
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