Training to Failure: Is it Right for You?

Whether you are engaging in a strength training routine, a powerlifting routine or a bodybuilding routine, you may be wondering how far you should push your body.  While some people believe you should lift as much as you can comfortably lift for a pre-determined number of repetitions, others believe that following the “training to failure” method is the best way to lift weights.  But, what exactly does training to failure mean, and what are the pros and cons of this philosophy?

Understanding Training to Failure

As the name implies, training to failure involves continuing to pump the weights until you cannot lift anymore.  As such, you don’t have a predetermined number of repetitions. Rather, you select the weight you would like to lift and you continue to lift that weight until your muscles cannot handle any more repetition.  Although there are no predetermined number of reps involved with training to failure, you should generally choose a weight amount that allows you to engage in 7-12 repetitions before your muscles become exhausted.

Pros and Cons of Training to Failure

Although many people within the weight training industry agree that training to failure helps achieve larger muscle gains within a shorter period of time, this method of weight lifting puts you at a greater risk of suffering from injury.  This is particularly true if you are inexperienced with weight training.  Furthermore, training to failure is a form of overtraining, which means it puts more stress on your muscles and takes it longer to recover from the workout.  Therefore, if you do engage in training to failure practices with your weight lifting routine, it is important to provide your body with plenty of time between workouts to properly recover.