This training method consists of reaching the point where you can not lift the load or one more repetition or fail in the middle of one of the last repetitions of the series, hence the name, during all or almost all the training series.
As with almost everything in the fitness world, there is no absolute truth, so in this post we will talk about the pros and cons of this training method and when it is advisable to use it and when it is not.
The opposite concept to Train until muscle failure It is training with submaximal loads. Muscle development depends on both mechanical stress and metabolic stress. Mechanical stress increases the longer the time under muscle tension and when the total load lifted during a workout increases.
The defenders of the method of submaximal loads defend that with weights lower than that implied by muscle failure you can perform a greater number of sets and repetitions and that therefore the total weight lifted at the end of training will be greater.
On the other hand, they argue that the greater metabolic stress of training until muscle failure can lead to possible injuries from muscle tears or greater wear and tear suffered by the joints or overtraining. At this point I would like to make a point to comment that it can always be very helpful to have a trusted physiotherapist. In my case I trust https://topclinicasfisioterapia.com/madrid/.
The problem with overtraining is that it can end in catabolism and our body destroys muscle instead of generating new fibers or increasing the size of current ones.
On the other hand, the defenders of failure as the best method to gain muscle volume hide behind the fact that the growth of our muscles is due to hypertrophy, which is the result of muscle damage generated by both mechanical stress and metabolic stress.
Both groups are right, and therefore the best way to optimize our training will be a combination of both methods. The plan to follow will also depend on your muscular level and your experience in the gym, as well as if you have a partner with whom to train or if on the contrary you train alone.
Muscle failure for beginners in the gym
Training until muscle failure is totally discouraged for those inexperienced in fitness. As I have mentioned, there is a greater risk of injury with this type of training so experience and careful technique become key factors to carry out a training of this type.
Therefore, if you are starting in this, focus on mastering the technique of the exercises of your routine and learning the key concepts to maximize muscle development.
Muscle failure vs submaximal loads
For those who have been in the gym for a while, the question is not what training method to use. As we have seen, both methods have their pros and cons.
In the first seasons in the gym it is preferable to train with submaximal loads for safety and because until reaching a good level of muscle mass, this type of training is enough to achieve the necessary stimulus in the muscle so that it grows.
However, at a certain point, our steady progress stops and it is necessary to introduce new techniques so that the impact of training on the muscle is large enough for growth to be generated.
How and when to introduce series until failure?
There is no empirical norm about it, so I’m going to talk about what works best for me. All my routines and the ones I upload here to the page (which are the same) are usually formed by one or two exercises of the so-called basics that are performed at the beginning of the training.
These exercises are always exercises with free weight (barbell or dumbbells) and in which you can load a lot of weight.
They are the exercises with the greatest potential for hypertrophy of the muscle group in question. These exercises are the ones I perform with maximum loads and even muscle failure.
The routine usually continues with more isolation exercises in which the level of load loses importance with respect to that of a much more careful technique and a very controlled tempo of the eccentric phase and the concentric phase.
With this training method we manage to fatigue the muscle with the first exercises and later We will notice much more the work of isolation exercises.
The end result is a perfect harmony between metabolic stress and mechanical stress. If you follow these guidelines and a good diet, progress is assured!
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