T Nation

Training to failure- Forced reps????

I have read some recent literature by some “leading strength experts” and many seem to recommend not training to failure. Some say that training to failure overly taxes the CNS others say that there is a physiological event that occurs when you reach failure that is not beneficial.
I am under the impression that when someone does forced reps they effectively train past failure without ever failing.
So would using forced reps be a way of avoiding failure but also allowing yourself to train much harder than would normally be possible.

Ian King who recommends not training to failure also recommends doing some eccentric work in maximal strength phases. What is the difference??

Basically if you try to lift a weight concentrically and fail, then you have reached concentric failure. With forced reps, you dont reach failure because your spotter is helping you. With eccentric training you dont reach concentric failure since you do not attempt the concentric portion of the movement.

I think you may be a little confused as to what forced reps are. Doing a “forced rep” means that you cannot complete the rep in good form with no help, so you begin to rely on the spotter’s assistance coupled usually with terrible form to get more reps in. It’s a stupid practice most of the time, and as you said others have suggested, the nervous system is taxed well beyond its recovery capacity (if you plan on training again any time soon). The difference btw forced reps and negatives? Big difference. You’re not continually attempting to recruit all the fiber possible to move the weight during the concentric portion of an eccentric only rep. The taxation of your nervous system is therefore not nearly so great.

I personally hate the notion of ‘overtraining’. I really think this is blown out of proportion. Overtaining is hard to do. I like hitting failure myself…Taking my body to it’s natural limits. I have only experienced overtraining when hitting the same body psrt hard serveral days in a row.

When you train to failure during a workout you basically create very high levels of neural and muscular exhaustion…this tends to screw up the rest of the workout. In other words…if on your 3rd set of the workout you train to failure and have someone yelling at you helping you out with 3 more b.s. reps then the rest of your workout will tend to be done at a sub-standard level of strength intensity. Also it has been theorized that training to failure teaches your body how to fail…there is some evidence that this is true…I challenge you to find some really strong guys that bench press over 400 lbs and squat over 600…ask them how often they train to failure and see what the results are.
Forced reps are probably ok if done just every once in a while and eccentric reps are such an overload (if done correctly) they help you get used to handling heavier weights.