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[Supertraining] Training to Failure carruthersjam Sun May 23 12:00:48 2010

Training to Failure and Beyond in Mainstream Resistance Exercise Programs
Willardson, Jeffrey M; Norton, Layne; Wilson, Gabriel

Strength & Conditioning Journal., POST AUTHOR CORRECTIONS, 7 May 2010

Abstract:
SUMMARY: INTENTIONALLY REACHING FAILURE DURING RESISTANCE EXERCISE SETS IS A 
COMMON PRACTICE THAT MIGHT BE MOST BENEFICIAL FOR STIMULATING HYPERTROPHY. 
HOWEVER, FAILURE TRAINING PERFORMED TOO FREQUENTLY CAN RESULT IN REDUCTIONS IN 
THE RESTING CONCENTRATION OF TESTOSTERONE AND CONTRIBUTE TO THE OVERTRAINING 
SYNDROME. THE RESEARCH SUGGESTS THE GREATEST EFFECTIVENESS WHEN FAILURE 
TRAINING IS PRACTICED CONSISTENTLY OVER 6-WEEK CYCLES, INTERSPERSED WITH 
EXCLUSIVE NONFAILURE TRAINING CYCLES OVER EQUAL PERIODS. COACHES SHOULD 
CONSIDER ATHLETES' TRAINING STATUS AND GOALS AND THE POINT IN A YEARLY TRAINING 
CYCLE TO DETERMINE WHETHER SETS ARE TO BE PERFORMED TO FAILURE OR ENDED SHORT 
OF REACHING FAILURE.


CONCLUSION
Intentionally reaching failure during resistance exercise sets is a common 
practice in recreational and sports conditioning settings, despite relatively 
few studies that have directly compared failure versus nonfailure training 
approaches. Anecdotally, the benefits are strongly supported among 
bodybuilders. The research does indicate that training to failure and beyond 
with partner-assisted
repetitions and descending sets might be most beneficial to hypertrophyoriented 
training programs because of greater acute secretions of growth hormone.
However, further longitudinal research is necessary that specifically compares 
failure versus nonfailure approaches to validate the link between acute 
elevations in anabolic hormones and hypertrophy. Failure
training performed too frequently may result in decreased resting levels of 
testosterone and increased resting levels of cortisol, which are 
counterproductive to hypertrophy. Therefore,
training to failure can and should be periodized just like other
well-established prescriptive variables (e.g., intensity, volume¬ónumber of 
sets, repetition range).
Trained lifters may tolerate sets to failure with greater frequency versus 
untrained lifters. The current research suggests that performing sets to 
failure may provide greater gains in absolute strength, hypertrophy, and 
localized muscular endurance when practiced
consistently over 6-week cycles, interspersed with exclusive nonfailure cycles 
over equal periods. When power production is the objective, training to failure 
should be discouraged and
coaches should consider athletes' training status and goals, and the point in a 
yearly training cycle to determine whether sets are to be performed to failure 
or ended short of reaching failure.

================
Jamie Carruthers
Wakefield, UK