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Training to Failure?



Ok I hear all the time about "training to failure" does this mean basically not being able to lift the weight as some point in the set? or is it something else?




Training to failure means you can't do another rep in that set. Most or all of the strength coaches here wouldn't recommend it and probably most who post here too. Except for rank beginners, I wouldn't either.


Training to failure means training to the point where you can't do another rep with decent form.


Ok thanks guys, So basically when the arm is too tired to lift to do the rep.I know CW recomends NOT training to failure and Im using his WM at the moment.Would failure on the last few reps of the very last set be ok though and not counted as "training to failure"?


He has said that he recommends avoiding it altogether. But failure on the last set is not a big issue.


You can't fail on the last few reps. Once you've hit failure, you can't do any more. CW generally says it's ok if you hit failure on the very last rep of the last set, but if you fail before then you're using too much weight.


This is true. Failure is not a subjective feeling of tireness. It's when your muscles literally can't move the weight anymore with decent form in the proper range of motion.


Ok thanks chaps Iv'e had that a lot on bicep curls where by the last set of the last few reps I just couldent lift my hand any further to lift the wieght up from the half-way there mark.I used to get a friend to physically push my arm up to finish the rep.is that I take it a "bad" idea then?


I believe that is called a forced rep. It's best to stay away from that and drop the weight a bit so you can squeeze out that last rep or two.


It's not a bad idea for your friend to do this if he needs the extra work, but it won't do you any good.


So let me get this straight. You shouldn't train to where every set you can do no more reps? In other words every set you do you should have a set number of reps you're doing?

And forced reps? Where someone assists you to push out another few at the end of your set, is also bad?

And if the above two things are true
to be negitive, does this apply to
all types are training? (For example
training for strength? Hypertrophy? or

Please someone set me straight on all this. If I'm getting all this straight
I've been doing somthing seriously wrong for the last 4 years.


Ok thanks people, No more forced reps for me then.


Yes, do NOT train to failure on each set. You should be able to have maybe 1 or 2 reps left after your first set. This allows you to do more work overall, as it doesn't tax your Central Nervous System nearly as much.

Yes, every once in a while, forced reps, or training to failure can be beneficial to change things up ONCE IN A WHILE.

Not training to failure, or leaving a couple of reps in your set has been proven to be far more effective for muscle gains and strength gains. That is why many articles here will say to choose your 6 rep max (the amount of weight you can just bearly get 6 good reps with) and do sets of 3 or 4 with that weight.

In the Anti Bodybuilding Hypertrophy program, Chad has days where the weight you use is your approx. 5 rep max, and do 10 sets of 3. If you used your 3 rep max, there would be no way you'd get all 10 sets in with 3 reps.

That way you would be getting 30 total reps with your 5 rep max weight. If you did all 5 reps on each set, you might get 2 sets of 5, 1 set of 4, 2 sets of 3, and 5 sets of 1 with that weight. That would be a total of 25 total reps.

Now that's probably not accurate, but it was just to show my point. I probably wouldn't be able to even get 1 rep after 6 sets to failure with my 5 rep max.

About your question "does this apply to
all types are training? (For example
training for strength? Hypertrophy? or
Definition?", nutrition and some cardio plays more important roles when trying to lose fat, or "train for definition".

It's a good idea to continue to train as if you're trying to gain muscle or strength, to keep or even possibly gain some muscle while losing fat.

Hope that helped.


Check the article in this thread:



You don't have to avoid them completely. Forced reps, drop sets, cheat sets, etc. all have their place in your training. You can use those methods for short periods of time to break through plateaus or for certain training goals. Just don't do them all the time!


Thanks all for the articles,links and explanations.Nate I'll take your advise and save them for an occasional day once in a while.


Just an update on training to failure.I didnt think to ask but lately this has come up.

Say im doing a set and on the 4th rep for example.I cant lift my arm up to complete the rep.Now say I rest for 3,4,5,6? secs then manage it is this STILL training to failure?





I concur, it sometimes referred to as "rest/pause" though I believe there is more "rest/pause" involved, like 10-15 seconds

If you want to learn more about this, check this thread:



Ok thank you tyler, But generaly in refrence to the above conversation would this rest pause be seen as "training to failure"?