Study Supporting Not Training to Failure

It’s a fairly old (2016) article citing this study. But it supports the idea that you should stop short of failure.


I think this is one of those times where science and bodybuilding simply disagree. Science may point to not training to failure, and much progress can be made with those methods.

BUT every huge guy I know (arms >19" and lean) trains to failure.

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As far strength gains training to failure, at least for competition, training to failure is not the best route, from what I have seen. One of the last things you want to do, is learn how to miss.

From all the time I watched Charles Bailey powerlift, he never trained to failure. Before he started training for powerlifting he asked me about the rules. I worked out about the same time he did, and watched him progress. In the 275lb class, he accomplished a 1,100lb squat and a 2,500+lb total in meets. Not that I could imagine wanting to “help” spot someone squat 1,000+lb squats.

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Chad Waterbury covered this years ago!


Excellent article. Made me think even more about how I do my sets.

yes there are several studies now showing that. Plus, annecdotal, most the big bodybuilders never train to failure, only a few do/did. Many of us every day trainees also found that failure does nothing but prolong recovery, require very low volume and end up reducing gains a lot. IMO, failure is the single worst concept ever created for bodybuilding.


Only 24 men in their early 20’s which means an extremely limited demographic was tested. They even admit in the study most of the results are statistically unreliable. Most of the p values are far in excess of 0.05. The study is worthless. Did you guys actually read the study?

Isn’t that a little rash? How about: “Most of the P-values are far in excess of 0.05. The study is not statistically conclusive.”