Analysis of Training to Failure

Introduction

Exercise is essential for maintaining physical fitness and overall well-being. However, excessive physical activity can lead to adverse health outcomes. Training to failure is the repetition of various drills to the extent of temporary muscle failure when the neuromuscular system cannot produce enough force to outdo a particular workload. This paper will argue that one should not exercise to the point of muscle failure as it does not yield better results.

Disadvantages of Training to Failure

Training to failure is not a productive approach to physical activity as it does not have the same benefits as a regular one. First, repetitions of various exercises are most efficient for motor learning at the beginning of a workout. According to Lasevicius et al. (2019), it is easier to maintain the correct working technique or focus on the targeted muscle’s extensive contractions early in the session. Second, strength training without repetitions to muscle failure is more effective for developing stamina. Martorelli et al. (2017) note that exercise to the point of muscle failure does not promote better neural activation and does not enhance endurance. Lastly, sessions with no muscle failure are positively correlated with muscle hypertrophy and are more appropriate for casual gym-goers. Research shows that it is easier for untrained individuals to increase muscle volume when exercising without excessive repetition (Lacerda et al., 2019). Overall, a regular strength training regime is easier to maintain and can yield better results, specifically, enhanced stamina development and hypertrophy.

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Advantages of Training to Failure

It can be argued that exercise to failure can be an advantageous system. First, it can be effective in stimulating muscle growth and endurance (Fonseca et al., 2020). Second, it can produce faster results during one session when compared to other methods. Third, exercising to failure is motivating and helps develop performance conditioning (Fonseca et al., 2020). However, these arguments can be debunked to illustrate that training to the point of muscle failure is not optimal. Thus, other programs can be effective for muscle gain and endurance, with Grgic et al. (2021) pointing out that training to failure yields similar results to non-failure regimes. Furthermore, this system does not necessarily lead to quicker results and faster muscle gain or stamina development. Although more fiber is recruited during extreme repetitions, it is not always stimulated to hypertrophy and does not result in faster muscle growth (Grgic et al., 2021). In addition, although the regime can be motivating, it can be argued that for untrained individuals exercising to the point of muscle failure can be debilitating and discouraging.

Conclusion

In summary, training for failure has both advantages and disadvantages. This regime has comparable results to other programs, with similar muscle gain and stamina development outcomes. Moreover, it does not produce faster results and can be demotivating for persons with little experience in strength and resistance training. Overall, it is my opinion that exercising to the point of muscle failure can be substituted by other effective and safe methods.

References

Grgic, J., Schoenfeld, B. J., Orazem, J., & Sabol, F. (2021). Effects of resistance training performed to repetition failure or non-failure on muscular strength and hypertrophy: A systematic review and meta-analysis. Journal of Sport and Health Science, 1–11.

Fonseca, F. S., Costa, B. D., Ferreira, M. E., Paes, S., De Lima-Junior, D., Kassiano, W., Cyrino, E. S., Gantois, P., & Fortes, L. S. (2020). Acute effects of equated volume-load resistance training leading to muscular failure versus non-failure on neuromuscular performance. Journal of Exercise Science & Fitness, 18(2), 94–100.

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Lacerda, L. T., Marra-Lopes, R. O., Diniz, R. C., Lima, F. V., Rodrigues, S. A., Martins-Costa, H. C., Bemben, M. G., & Chagas, M. H. (2019). Is performing repetitions to failure less important than volume for muscle hypertrophy and strength? Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research, 34(5), 1237–1248.

Lasevicius, T., Schoenfeld, B. J., Silva-Batista, C., Barros, T. D., Aihara, A. Y., Brendon, H., Longo, A. R., Tricoli, V., Peres, B. D., & Teixeira, E. L. (2019). Muscle failure promotes greater muscle hypertrophy in low-load but not in high-load resistance training. Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research, 1–6.

Martorelli, S., Cadore, E. L., Izquierdo, M., Celes, R., Martorelli, A., Cleto, V. A., Alvarenga, J. G., & Bottaro, M. (2017). Strength training with repetitions to failure does not provide additional strength and muscle hypertrophy gains in young women. European Journal of Translational Myology, 27(2), 113–120.

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