T Nation

Balls to the Wall, But No Failure?

Some guys say that they train “balls to the wall” , or accuse others of NOT training “balls to the wall” as a reason for their lack of results.

Fine

What I don’t understand is that those same posters, and even some authors, later go on to say that they don’t recommend training to failure (or at least they recommend avoiding it for the most part).

So, can someone please tell me how one is expected to train “balls to the wall” and yet avoid failure?

It seems to me that unless you are training to failure you still have something left in you that you’re holding back on. That doesn’t sound like “balls to the wall” to me.

Sure, this is a petty topic and if it weren’t for the fact that so many people keep saying it, I probably would have completely ignored it, but its to a point where I have to understand what these people are talking about.

There is a difference between balls to the wall and failure. Going to technical failure as Boyle and others put it is the best way to go. On some isolation and machine exercises failure is acceptable because it does little damage on the CNS.

It may take some experience to find this fine line between failure and balls to the wall, technical failure. Try not to get too frustrated…experiment and see what works for you.

I’ve wondered the same thing…I think they just mean train with a heavy weight, and don’t cheat or skip exercises.

[quote]bruinsdmb wrote:
There is a difference between balls to the wall and failure. Going to technical failure as Boyle and others put it is the best way to go. On some isolation and machine exercises failure is acceptable because it does little damage on the CNS.

It may take some experience to find this fine line between failure and balls to the wall, technical failure. Try not to get too frustrated…experiment and see what works for you.[/quote]

This is the best explanation I think. I don’t train to failure that often on compound lifts but I still train my ass off. I think th reason most coaches say it is because you go into a gym and see people for example benching maybe 5 straight sets to failure. That will put alot of stress on your CNS. I think it’s ok for the last set to go to failure once in a while.

Also there are tons of stupid people whose form drastically changes whey they go to failure. This can cause injuries.

Balls To The Wall - training smartly, yet intensely…adding that extra 10lbs on ur 5th or 6th set of deadlifts, and bustin ur ass to pump to grind out that 3 grueling reps that feel like 100 reps…

Failure- 95lbs on a bench and doing it 100 times…stick with Balls To The Wall training

I don’t think it is possible to go balls to the wall when you first start out, because your CNS isn’t allowing your muscles to work to their full potential, but after a while you should be seeing the signs of going balls to the wall, here are some in my opinion.

Loss of hearing and/or dizzyness after a balls to the wall set of squats, nausea after anything, including things as small as bicep curls, blood-shot eyes.

There are probably more, but when you see someone with those symptoms, or feel them yourself, you know they just gave that last set everything they had, whether it went to failure or not.

Of course I try to give it my all all the time, and those things only happen once in a while, but when they do it is always when I did more reps or more weight than I thought possible.