T Nation

What is Failure?

On exercises like the bench press or squat, it’s obvious when you’ve gone to failure. But on an exercise such as a lat pulldown or cable row, what is considered failure? I could continue doing lat pulldowns so long as I can pull down a couple of inches (to greatly exaggerate the point). On the other hand, just because I can’t get the bar to my chest may not necessarily constitute failure. With a cable row, similar–I could continue to pull out even just inches rather than the initial range of motion.

Thank you.

Once your form breaks down, I would call that failure. Even if you keep doing reps with a partial rom, you can not longer do the origonal exercise, so you’ve hit failure on that exercise. For example, I can still do quarter squats after I hit failure on ATG squats, but it’s not the same exercise.

[quote]ninjaboy wrote:
Once your form breaks down, I would call that failure. Even if you keep doing reps with a partial rom, you can not longer do the origonal exercise, so you’ve hit failure on that exercise. For example, I can still do quarter squats after I hit failure on ATG squats, but it’s not the same exercise.[/quote]

Agreed. Failure is once you can no longer bang out another full rep.

I agree…no point in doing partials

[quote]Petermus wrote:
I agree…no point in doing partials [/quote]

You can keep doing partials, but dont call them lat pulldowns when they are partial lat pulldowns.

I agree…no point in doing partials

Partials have a place as a plateau breaker, when you shock your muscles into growing by repping to failure, and then doing partials until you can’t, and then holding the isometric contraction until your eyes bleed.

But yeah, when you can’t exercise strict form or full ROM, yeah, that’s failure.

maybe lightening the weight may make it “feel” more like faliure

[quote]Petermus wrote:
I agree…no point in doing partials [/quote]

Partials can be an incredible way to spun further gains if used properly. It was used by some of the STRONGEST MEN on the planet to become inhumanely strong (Paul Anderson, Bob Peoples, Herman Goermer, and this was way before the advent of steroids and “gurus” and supplements)

This is failure:

I knew this was coming.