Is Training to Failure a Good Idea?

Is Training to Failure a Good Idea?
Failure training typically involves training at submaximal weights for as many reps as possible. This technique maxes out recruitment of fast and slow twitch muscle fibers and is an excellent way to promote hypertrophy. Andy Khamoui and Jeffrey Willardson discussed the pluses and minuses of this training technique. The few studies that examined failure training showed that it increased muscle mass and strength slightly better than other training techniques. However, it also delayed recovery. In strength sports requiring movement skills, failure training could interfere with sports practice. Also, excessive training to failure, such as used in “boot camp” training methods, can increase the risk of rhabdomyolysis— muscle cell destruction that can cause kidney failure and death. Failure training might be a good alternative during brief cycles when athletes are not emphasizing movement skills. (Strength Conditioning Journal, 33 (4): 19–21)

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