T Nation

Full Body Workouts to Failure

I know it’s debated whether failure is necessary or beneficial for a lot of workouts, but what about in FBs? I.e. if I’m doing (3 x 10-120 for 6 exercises, should i be reaching failure at all? Just in the last rep of the last set of each exercise?

Currently I find myself reaching failure pretty much at the last 2-3 reps of the last set of each exercise, with my form beginning to go from about halfway through my last set.

Research it then.

It depends- WHEN do you consider failure? Failure of good form or failure to do another rep? Personally, I don’t like to get out of good form due to increased risk of injury and the fact that if I’m out of good form it means a different muscle somewhere is taking some of the weight that my target muscle should be doing. That means I can’t handle the weight on the bar and my target muscle is actually lifting less weight. Put your mental focus in keeping strict form for your last reps. The last couple reps of the last set of each exercise is always a good approach.

Hope this helps,

I think the general advice given out by coaches here is not to hit failure when doing FB’s as you’ll be hitting the muscle group again in a day or so.

In the past when i’ve used full bodys i have gone to failure on some exercises. I dont think it did any harm at all. Listen to your body is my advice - if your feeling great go to failure if you wish, there will be times when you just know its not a good idea!

to be honest I considered failure to be when I just can’t shift the weight at all, no matter how contorted I get hehe! I guess this would be my first error, because as you say, I’m cheating with other muscles and the target muscles aren’t actually working as much. So taking this into account, I pretty much find myself ‘failing’ at the end of every set, with my form going slightly…

Slightly is ok (this is where you want to FOCUS and do the last reps to failure)- Noticeably is a different story;)

OK well by ‘slightly’ i mean my ROM will decrease so i can only go to parallel on shoulder press, or im not getting down deep in my bench, or my BOR doesnt touch my chest, or my chins don’t go above the bar. OR things like my legs start to move position, shifting under my body, back arches…

A kid in my gym workouts like that. Almost always on the last few reps of an exercise, when I probably would have stopped he keeps going with a lesser range of motion to get out a few more reps, and I really don’t have any problem with that. With the examples you gave I do believe you are still working the targeted muscle, but some exercise you gotta be real careful for when you do this, deadlifts are typically an exercise where ya don’t “cheat” form to get out a few more reps. On full body routines it may not be the best idea, but like someone else mentioned, listen to your body.

It’s odd. I just don’t feel like I’ve given it my all unless I’ve strained everything, arching, twisting etc to try and shift the thing :stuck_out_tongue: But then I guess if I put all my mental effort into maintaining correct form and technique then it’ll be just as much effort, but in a lower risk, more beneficial manner.

I think the only reason you’d want to do basic total body workouts would be for the ability to train the same muscles very frequently from different ‘angles’. For those purposes training to failure isn’t the brightest idea.

Training several large muscle groups to failure 3-4 days a week is gonna wreak havoc on your CNS and recovery abilities. Plus, since you’re gonna hit the muscles again in a relatively short timeframe (2-3 days) you can afford to not stimulate the muscles as much as you would on a typical BB split. Like someone said above, I’d stop sets when your form breaks down, and maybe go to failure on the last rep of the last set if at all.