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Going to Failure on Assistance Work?



I'm doing the Boring but Big (variation 2) and really loving what's happening. I just had a question regarding pushing to failure on assistance work. I understand leaving 1 or 2 reps in the tank on the main working sets, and I've been able to exceed the prescribed repetitions no problem so far. What I've noticed though, is it's on my assistance sets where I begin to reach mechanical failure. Specifically on my bench press, actually.

For example, the other day I was benching on week 2 and did my 70%x3, 80%x3, and then 90%x6 and felt pretty good about it. I then moved onto the assistance work of 5x8 at 70%, but at set number 4, I failed on rep 8 - couldn't quite get my elbows to lock out. Same thing with set #5, couldn't quite lockout the last rep.

When this happened, I felt like I would probably miss rep number 8, but tried for it anyway driving like hell off the chest, but didn't make it. In the future, should I just stop the set before failure? Maybe do a rest-pause to nail those last reps? Or rest longer between sets to try and recover a little better? I'm currently trying to keep my rest periods tight, like 60-90 seconds, but I bet if I rested like 3min I could hit all 8 reps.

Interestingly, I haven't had this problem with the other lifts, just the bench press.

Thanks for the input!


Are you training to get stronger? If so, take the rest needed to complete the set with proper speed/power. Bar speed is 10000000000000000000000000000000% more important than rest periods.


Yessir, training to get stronger. Fast barspeed > short rest time. Got it. Thanks Jim, I really appreciate it.


Is the fatigue more important if training for size? Good post, thanks!