T Nation

Do you need to train to failure?

Is it necessary to train to failure on all exercises? I train to failure on just about everything except squats for obvious reasons. What do you do, and why? Thanks.

I wonder about this a bit too. I read Charles Poliquin said you should cycle this. First week at 85%, then 90% next, then 100% the last. I’ve tried something close to this, but i felt really lazy the last week. I wasn’t really training all that much around this time tough, so i’d like to hear some other responses about this…

There’s a lot of schools of thought on this one. Start reading… Charles Staley has some pretty strong beliefs about focussing more on the quality of each rep and improving from session to session. Failure, he says, is a side effect of training that occurs sometimes, it is not the goal. Ian King also has his theories on how to periodize intensity, ie how close you come to failure. Check out his article in issue 97 for more details.

One set! One set! All the way to failure! You puss, you can’t train your legs to failure? I TRAIN MY LEGS TO FAILURE! And I do so with the added weight of my 60 lb. pot belly weighing me down!

Another thing to consider: “Training to failure” is a relative term. Your idea of failure may vary greatly from mine.

Why don’t you just get one of those cool contraptions of yours to go to failure for you, Prof Frink?

Actually - when I started following Ian King's theories about building up to failure over a three week cycle (like the Polinquin theory you posted) I noticed I never got sore, increased in strength faster (definately over that last week) and still kept getting bigger. I have a feeling it's an overtraining preventative sort of thing. Worked for me, at least. I would hypothesize that it would be especially helpful when training the same muscles often (such as in one of King's workouts).