Bill Roberts wrote:
Nowhere did I say that no one who uses the expression actually trains to failure (though they don’t do it on vast numbers of sets, as that doesn’t work)… I said that many who use the phrase do not actually strive maximally yet fail to move the wait, but terminate or get a spot prior to this.
You said, “the vast majority of successful strength athletes do not frequently if ever intentionally exert maximal effort unsuccessfully (genuinely trying to complete the rep but failing to do so) and most successful bodybuilders don’t do that every set either, if indeed frequently at all.”
I was just using examples to suggest that it’s actually used more frequently than you seemed to be suggesting. [/quote]
Really? I don’t tend to see powerlifters in their training deliberately trying for reps that they strain against, doing their best to complete, and fail to lift.
I see bodybyuilders ending sets in the way I described, which they may call failing but when there’s no failure, at least not most sets, I don’t agree with calling it failing.
One has to try, to actually fail. I think one might say one also has to legitimately try, not half-hearted try, otherwise it’s more quitting than “failing.”
I read a post here just yesterday in which a frequent poster explains how he “fails” on the fifth rep, and then explains how he squeezes up the 5th rep but it’s really hard. All in the same sentence!
That’s not failure! Unless one likes calling red “yellow,” up “down,” and left “right.”
Also, a person not trying another rep because you’re convinced he can’t get another is not failure, because he didn’t even try. But how many lifters call this “failure”? Nope, rather it is (successfully) doing as many reps as possible. Not failing.
I also described before other things that aren’t failing.
Now if you want to tell me that most successful bodybuilders or lots of them anyway in fact do try as hard as they can, stall on the weight, fight it but it doesn’t go – yes, their best effort failed, it is indeed failure – you can tell me that but I don’t believe it, and actually I don’t think you would tell me that.
Rather, as I was saying, they “go to failure” without, uh, going to failure, at least in most sets.
Practices that in fact don’t have any failure in them at all may be called going to failure by some, but it’s a misnomer.
Anyway, genuinely fail at a lot of reps in a lot of workouts and this is a great way to burn yourself out, and in fact most do not do this. Rather they use alternate practices that I described that don’t have them failing, at least not on most sets.
If it were only causing difficulty when people failed to think for themselves, that would not be so much of a problem because everyone, one hopes, could address that. But the problem is worse than this, because one cannot tell what a person means what he is writing or saying in most cases when he uses this phrase, unless he is very detailed. Most people assume that others mean by something the same as what they mean, but this is often not so.
And generally speaking when the person hears or reads replies, he also will not know what the reply means. He’ll assume the meaning is according to his own, but it may well not be.
Let’s say the person, by meaning “go to failure,” means what the above-described fellow means. He means he squeezed out the last rep but it was hard. (Oh, the inhumanity – hard reps.)
On the other hand, let’s say that when you use the phrase, you mean genuinely trying to get another rep, fighting it as if there were a real chance, continuing to truly strive for it even as the bar speed gets very slow – because sometimes the bar speed can be very, very slow and the rep still can, with blood and guts, be completed – and only end the set when you just flat cannot move the bar upwards any more no wmatter what, for love or money.
Unless the two of you explain to each other how your meanings are totally different, isn’t his question on how many sets he might “go to failure” on get a completely confusing and misleading answer – to him – if you reply according to your meaning?