Will Training to Failure Get You The Best Result?

Is pushing all you got will get a better result?  Every Workout, every exercise, every set, should we train to failure, and expect a best result?

The answer should probably be No.


Often, we want to improve ourselves or someone else by pushing our limits and make the body adapt.  So, we will improve.  You have experienced that if we train to fatigue/failure for the first/every set, despite a longer rest time, we will not be able to recover completely.  Sometimes, average the reps will increase the total volume.  Thus, in a muscle hypertrophy standpoint, if we have a longer rest time,  and remain a few Reps in Reserve (RIR), the work done will be increased, and thus, the muscle stimulation.  This approach will be slightly better than the ALL IN approach.  But of course, ALL IN approach have its advantage by forcing your body to adapt.  And slowly, your body can do the things that you won’t be able to do before.


Work Hard vs Work Smart

Both approaches have their advantages.  One is Work Hard while the other one is Work Smart.  As a demanding guy, you may prefer working hard.  But when consider the mental and physical condition, you may realise that the ALL IN approach (Work Hard) is not the best solution.  As the efforts you exert, the faster you get fatigue which eventually cause your muscle to fail, both our physical strength/stamina and mind.  When you are crushed, the drop will be significant.   It will be much harder to regain your strength and spirit.


Work Smart Example

For example, the tutorial of 200 reps for Pull Up.  I have used a Low-Intensity approach method.  Since the ratio between intensity and the rest time is perfect for me, I can continue for more reps after I have completed 200 reps.  My body, grip, palm is not destroyed.  But if you take the ALL IN approach, you may start to get fatigue when you are reaching about 100 reps.  The palm hurts, the arm and back have no strength left.  Even if you take a longer time rest afterwards,  you will not be able to completely recover.  So, the total volume of Pull Up will be drastically decreased.  Therefore, sometimes a smarter approach  Will get a better result.


If you review these two approaches:

  • ALL IN mode:  Every set is strenuous.  You have to train every hard.
  • Low Effort mode:  While the other one is like a lite version, just do few reps then rest.

At the first glimpse, the latter one is Down/Lazy/Quitting mode.  But in fact, it is NOT.  Sometimes, rest and recovery is all you need.  Taking a step back will get you a better result.

“Hung SiFu,Do not fight him directly.  Try to cut his punching.”

There are always another paths to your goal.  Be flexible.  Be Water, My Friend.  Look for long term goal.

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