Should Your Clients Train To Failure? with Stefan Ianev

When training your clients, we look at whether training to failure all the time is really beneficial & how often you should actually go to failure.

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Most people when they workout tend to have a “balls-to-the-walls” mentality, and often train to failure (or beyond) on most of their Sets. But is that really the best way to make progress in the gym?

 

What’s In This Session?

  • Let’s actually define training to (0:53)
  • What’s the benefit to training to failure? (1:11)
  • This is where people get it wrong (2:08)
  • Everything in life is a trade-off (2:18)
  • This is what happens when training multiple sets (2:38)
  • Training to failure too often does this (3:09)
  • This is what we recommend (3:26)
  • This study actually confirms our recommendation (3:32)
  • The take home point (5:41)

 

Show Notes & Resources Mentioned


The Full Transcript

Most lifters tend to have a "balls-to-the-walls" mentality, and often train to failure or beyond on most of their Sets. But is that really the best way to make progress in the gym? Well, in this video we're going to look at whether training to failure all the time is really beneficial and how often you should actually go to failure.

What's up everyone, I'm Stefan from theFitnessBoss.com, helping you take hold of those 166 hours that your clients try to undo when their not training with you. We publish brand new videos every single week. So make sure you subscribe to our channel, and if you like this video, we'd greatly appreciated if you gave it a thumbs up, and leave your comments below as we love to hear what you think.

In today's video, we're going to be talking about whether it's actually beneficial to training to failure, and how often you should really go to failure for best results.

Alright. So firstly, let's actually define what training to failure really is. Failure is simply training to a point in an exercise where you can do another Rep in good form. It means you've done as many reps as possible with that particular exercise, with a given load, to the point where you can do another.

Now what is the benefit, if any, to training to failure? Well, let's look at this way... If you're doing the set with a sub-max load, and most of your sets will be with sub-max loads, which means you're going to be able to do mulitiple reps with those steps. If you're doing multiple reps with a given load, those first couple of reps are not maximal. What that means is the body in those first few reps is only recruiting the low threshold or slow twitch motor units. Now as you progressively s subject to the first couple of reps reps their bodies and start recruiting intermediate motor units. And as those intermediates and those last couple of reps is when you're starting with the high threshold of motion to the point of muscular failure says is ensuring that you've got as many reps as you can, and you've recruited the last bit of high threshold motor units. So there is definitely a benefit to training to failure in that you going to recruit a larger percentage of motor units over the course of a given set.

Now as to where people started taking this concept out of context and basically think that training to failure on one set is good, then training to failure on every single set must be even better and they think it's the only way to make progress.

But in reality here's what happens. Everything that we do in training and in life as a tradeoff. So with going to failure, Yes you do recruit more motor units by going to muscle failure, but There's also a drawback. The drawback is you accumulate both central and peripheral fatigue by training to absolute failure.

Now what that means is subsequent sets, there is going to be a substantial decrease in performance. Okay. And then also it's going to take longer to recover for the following workout. Because keep this in mind. On average the nervous system takes about five or seven times longer to recover in the muscles. So in a couple of days your muscles might be ready to go again for another bout of training, but your nervous system is not yet recovered. If you're waiting for your nervous system to recover, because you've smashed each of the sets to failure, you could be waiting 5 to 7 days for that to happen, whereas the muscles are ready to go in 2 days.

So training to failure too often not only compromises your total workload for that particular session, but it eats into your overall frequency or your overall weekly volume, because you're not able to train as often. Otherwise you'll burn out very quickly.

So generally most beneficial or advisable to train to failure on the last set of an exercise only.

Now there's actually a study that confirms this. And what it is, they looked at two conditions where the subjects or participants each perform in both cases, three sets of 10 reps. Now in one condition they performed the first set at 50 percent max, the second set they increased the weight and performed at 75 percent of their max (10 RM). And on the last set they increased it to the maximum of 10 RM. So the subject performed the 10 reps with 10RM weight on the last set and went to muscle failure.

Now in the second condition the participants went to failure from the first set, and then reduce the weight just as much as they needed for the second set to get the 10 reps again, to reduce the weight again, just as little as they needed to get up to 10 reps again in the third set. So in essence the second group with 3 sets to failure. While the first group did only one set to failire... one like a warm up set at 50 percent, one like a transition set at about 75 percent, and one set at 100 percent or at 10RM.

Now out of those two groups over the course of eight weeks, the group that did only one set to failure actually increased their bench press more than the group that went to failure every single set.

And that just goes to show that it's beneficial to train failure on your last. If you try to train to failure too often, you might have a detrimental effect compared to not training to failure all the time. Because once you've taken a set to failure, your capacity to recruit high threshold fibers in subsequent sets, as I mentioned, both peripheral and central fatigue is diminished. And overall volume and work capacity for the workouts also diminishes.

But if you just build up a moderate amount of fatigue in those prior sets, so if you create semi-fatigue in your earlier sets, you've fatigue the low to intermediate threshold motor units, without excessively fatiguing the fast-twitch motor units. So that actually primes fast twitch motor unit recruitment for the heavier sets.

So if you come to your heavier sets semi-fatigued, you're going to recruit more of your fast twitch motor units. But if you go to your absolute failure then on subsequent sets you have a compromised capacity or ability to recruit those fast twitch fibers.

The take home point here is that it's beneficial to train to failure so that you can exhaust all your motor units, BUT on the last set of an exercise only. The other sets for that particular exercise generally are done as warm ups or transition sets into heavier set or sets when you're training to muscle failure.

That will do it for today's video. We'll see you in the next video. If you like this video, make sure you hit the like button and subscribe to the fitness boss channel. We post new videos like this every week providing with tips and practical tools to help you get ahead in business building, client training, and social media.

Today we talk about how going to failure too often can actually be detrimental to making progress in the gym because it causes excessive peripheral and central fatigue.

Now let us know what you think about training to failure. Do you train to failure? If so how often do you train to failure.

If you got any questions or comments. Make sure to leave your comments below. We'd love to hear from you and thanks are watching!

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