T Nation

Optimal Gains on Suboptimal Lifts?

I posted a similar question on another board, but the answers were mostly along the lines of ‘harden the f up’ and didn’t really address the question. I’m assuming T-Nation knows a little more…

Holding all other variables constant, could a suboptimal workout lead to optimal gains? Is muscle repair post-workout independent of effort as long as a certain muscle-tearing threshold is surpassed during the workout?

If someone can bench 200 for 8 reps, but only benches 200 for 7 reps, would the muscles repair be the same assuming the muscle micro-tears occur at rep 6? Or does pushing that 8th rep cause additional tears and lead to additional growth?

It makes sense that more effort = bigger gains, but different workouts can have the same effect which seems to counter that point.