Training to Failure

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Training to Failure

Post by davidmk » Wed Apr 16, 2008 5:24 am

I have been trying to figure out why on day three we are not supposed to train to failure. I have done some web searches, including this site, but I am still not sure. It seems as if they are frequently training to failure at crossfit.

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Post by agoodlysize » Wed Apr 16, 2008 9:19 am

There is no real evidence that training to failure provides optimal results as opposed to training to near-failure (as SF does).

^This is a pretty good summary.

From the article:
"The hallmarks of successful training are long-term consistency and progression. But progression must be gradual- very gradual- if it is to be consistent. Many athletes insist on always taking a set to utter failure, even if it's not necessary to achieve a new personal record. But these same athletes neglect to project these gains into the future, which reveals the impossibility of continuing these gains. As an example, if you manage to put 5 pounds a week on your squat, this equates to 20 pounds a month, and 240 pounds a year. If this could be continued for even three years, you would be a national level powerlifter, with size to go along with it! A better approach is to achieve very small increases in load on a regular basis, even though you won't reach failure. These smaller increases are easier for the body to adapt to, and recuperate from. Taking each and every set to complete failure is like trying to run a marathon at sprint speed- after a very short period of sprinting, you'll have to slow down considerably, if you expect to finish the race."

A few more articles.

It seems training to failure constantly greatly increases the chance of over-training. The theory I ascribe to is that it is better to increase your workload by doing a great number of reps in small sets and building from there, rather than blowing out your system with as many as you can do until failure.

For me, fitness is a life-long goal, and training to failure makes me hate working out. I have to make smaller steps than a lot of the folks here to keep me consistantly working out, but that is just what works for me.

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Post by changeup » Wed Apr 16, 2008 12:38 pm

Ditto to what agoodsize said. Instead of me rambling on, here is a quote from Ed McNeely. He is the strength coachfor the Cnd Olympic rowing team (many world and olympic medals). Rowing is a sport that has a unique demand for explosive power and exceptional endurance.

Here is what Ed said:

"Do not train to failure

Training to failure is unnecessary to achieve improvements in strength. There is no advantage to training to failure and several possible disadvantages. The highest blood pressure readings occur at or near the failure point. A study done at McMaster University in Hamilton, Ontario noted that exercising to exhaustion using large muscle masses could increase blood pressure to as high as 400/300 mm Hg. While this is transient and probably not dangerous to a young health individual the researches suggested that it may be a cause for concern in older people or those with a history of cardiovascular problems." ... rticle=153

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Post by davidmk » Thu Apr 17, 2008 8:18 am

Thanks you two. That is some interesting information. I have always thought that it was that last rep or partial rep that was going to give me the most gains, but apparently not.
I will not train to failure and monitor my gains. This will be interesting!

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