Going to Failure: Workout Advice From the Hodge Twins

Going to Failure

Going to Failure: Workout Advice

Going to failure on each set, while training, is something a lot of people do. But, new research is coming out that going to failure every set is bad for you. Some say that doing it on every set damages the central nervous system.

Also, if you do go to failure on the first set, it’s harder to do additional sets afterwards. This makes it harder to work your body completely.

The Hodge Twins talk about their recent thoughts on “Going to Failure” here:

It sure is better to do a warm up before doing a heavy exercise or workout. Still, it remains to be determined if its better going to failure each set, or working your way there. Likely, its best to change it up from exercise to exercise and workout to workout.

You may want to build up your way to failure sets. The first few weeks, try going for a set amount of repetitions. Then after that, designate a week or two where you go to failure. If you have a spotter, you can even do drop sets and negatives. This switches it up to where you are maximizing your fast-twitch muscle fibers potential.

Going to Failure

Going to failure often means bigger muscles, but bigger recovery times. If you find yourself sore for days after every workout, go to failure less. On the flip side, if you’re never sore, it may be a good time to increase the time spent going to failure.

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  1. Hey Chris,

    After reading this article and your opinion on going to failure, I was curious what research shows that going to failure is bad for you? Isolating your fast twitch muscle fibers in a workout comes from explosive, quick movements. Unless a set till failure involved those quick, explosive movements, fast twitch muscles would not be involved. Consistency, along with variety in workouts will help your body maximize gains. Including eccentric, and concentric lifts will add to those muscle gains. The key component for any workout regiment being dieting and the overload principle. Consuming more calories than you are burning will help your body increase in size while lifting weight that requires a higher physical demand. If you could, I would love to see the research showing that going till failure is bad, as well as, your recommendations for increasing gains in fast twitch muscle fibers while including sets to failure.

    • The research comes from Spain’s Research and Sport Medicine Center. Dr. Mikel Izquierdo found that constantly going to failure hurts training. The reason: Doing so suppresses IGF-1 (growth hormone) and increases catabolic stress hormones. Further, when a cell is taxed this extensively it has a harder time rebuilding protein.

      Still, these studies only look at going to failure every set. It did not study using failure on the last set of each exercise. So, the jury is still out. I agree with what you’re saying. It’s about moderation and variety. Diet–along with progressive overload–is always the key. Use lift-to-failure only on the last set of each exercise.

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