The Lifting To Failure Debate With Muscle Building Workout Programs

One common issue that’s debated frequently in the fitness and muscle building world is whether or not you should be lifting to failure with the exercise you perform in your weight gain workout.

Without a doubt, one of the necessary components to build muscle as quickly as possible is providing that overloading stimulus on the muscle tissues, thus causing damage that will need to be repaired.

When that repair process then takes place, this is when you will begin to grow stronger, and if enough building blocks are provided, larger in the process.

But, how much overloading stimulus is really necessary? Is it a requirement that you go to failure with each lift you perform? Or does going to 90% max effort accomplish enough that complete failure is not needed?

Why Lifting To Failure Is Good

So, the first camp to look at is those that think lifting to failure is a good thing.
The reasons for this - well, obviously, it’s going to push your body to the max, helping you really see what you’ve got.

If you go to the gym and are constantly challenging yourself and are seeing your ability to lift heavier and heavier weights during your weight training program go up, this in itself will likely be a huge motivation.

Similarly lifting to failure will really pump up the body in terms of boosting your metabolic rate and causing maximum tissue damage.

This than means that if you’re looking for pure strength gains and fat loss, this is a good way to go.

Why Lifting To Failure Is Problematic

Now, that said, there are some very good reasons why you shouldn’t lift to failure as well.
First off, lifting to failure is intense. You already knew this though. What you may not have known though is that each time you lift to failure, your CNS is going to take a very large hit.

The CNS, over time, can become extremely overtrained when constantly lifting to failure, meaning that you wind up out of the gym for a good few weeks at least.

Further, even if you don’t overtrain your CNS, realize that when lifting to failure, it’s going to take the body much longer after that session to recover completely from it than if you hadn’t.

For you, this means more downtime away from the gym.

Since numerous studies have demonstrated that muscles tend to grow best when stimulated at the highest frequency possible without sacrificing rest, too much down time is a hindrance.

The Solution

So, what’s the solution to this? Lift to failure - some of the time.

If you properly design your workout program, you should have some sessions that are not meant to go to failure, but rather work on developing more volume, and some sessions where you push yourself to the limits.

This will give you the best of both worlds and allow you to experience optimal muscle building results without feeling like you’re constantly fatigued and overworked.

So, be sure you keep this in mind. Lifting to failure isn’t necessary for the muscles to grow - an overloading stimulus, meaning more than the body is used to will suffice, but at times, lifting to failure can prove to be advantageous.