Before we begin this section, please see the following 2 articles for a more in-depth analysis on training to failure:
‘Failure’ is simply the point at which the muscle cannot perform another UNASSISTED rep.
Look at the following 2 statements…
1. Train to failure to force muscle tissue to grow.
2. You should not train to failure.
Both these pieces of advice are offered in the bodybuilding world! Talk about confusing.
I’m a believer in training to failure. Why?
The necessary muscle stimulation to FORCE adaptation occurs in the last rep or 2 of a set.
If you can curl a weight for 10 maximum reps and you stop at 8, you did NOTHING to stimulate growth. As I said in the previous article, “The body is an ADAPTATION machine. Give it a reason to grow and it WILL; don’t and it won’t.”
Those who criticise ‘going to failure’ state that it fatigues the muscle so much that the remaining sets of your workout will be less than optimal.
However, this is not the case when we allow maximum recovery between sets as we do with THT training. Remember that each principle of this routine works in harmony with all other parts to MAXIMIZE results! Do this thing to a ‘T’ and succeed!
One other criticism is that failure is not necessary as one simply needs to focus on progressive overload to ensure growth. By this reasoning you can lift lighter weights for say 10 reps and simply increase those weights every week by small increments and get all the growth you want.
I can lift lighter weights ‘til the cows come home and won’t experience any growth if the muscle itself is not being forced to adapt by pushing it to its natural limit, or ‘point of failure.’ (note: don’t buy into the “failure fries your CNS” nonsense either – it doesn’t.)
Reaching positive failure ensures that the muscle(s) worked are being subjected to 100% of the potential load that each set has to offer.
More Intensity = More Overload = More Muscle Stimulation = More Growth
Again, the synergistic blending of the principles of this program demand that we combine ‘progressive overload’ with ‘training to positive failure.’ You will:
1. Work to failure on each set
2. Record the weight and reps you just lifted
3. Aim to increase your point of failure by at least 1 rep in the following workout.
THIS is what really ignites new muscle growth!
Now let’s look at how much rest we should take between sets…
Maximum Recuperation Between Sets
We just spoke about maximizing our intensity while training. But how can we keep this level of intensity up throughout the entire workout?
This is where ‘Maximum Recuperation’ comes in.
If you don’t allow enough rest between sets, you’ll restrict the amount of overload you can place on the intended muscle in successive sets. In fact, short breaks mean that the only set where maximum overload is reached is the first one.
What a waste!
This does not mean that you take 10 minutes between sets. In fact, studies show that breaks of 2 – 3 minutes allow for maximum performance in successive sets, but longer rest periods offer no further advantage.
This means that you achieve MAXIMUM results with breaks that last 2 – 3 minutes long.
This amount of time allows the recovery of intra-cellular energy stores in the muscle. It is also adequate for flushing out any lactate that has built up from previous sets.
2 minutes is sufficient for smaller body parts and 3 minutes is good for heavy lifts like squats and deadlifts.
MAXIMUM RECUPERATION –> MAXIMUM OVERLOAD –> MAXIMUM RESULTS!
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