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Author Topic: How many sets to you train to absolute failure each day in the gym?  (Read 4480 times)
DeltsaForce
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« Reply #25 on: January 31, 2009, 09:44:07 AM »

I usually do 4 sets of 10 reps. The last set is usually to failure. By that I am mean Failure with perfect form, not absolute, total muscle failure.
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burn2live
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« Reply #26 on: January 31, 2009, 09:48:23 AM »

I never train to failure
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Moen
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« Reply #27 on: January 31, 2009, 10:22:02 AM »

I like to take it a step further and actually fail to make it to the gym.

 Grin!!!
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« Reply #28 on: January 31, 2009, 10:26:26 AM »

That's not George Lucas.....

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HAHA, RON.....
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« Reply #29 on: January 31, 2009, 01:11:59 PM »

That's not George Lucas.....



Haha, that's Rolf Harris. UK getbiggers will know who it is.
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« Reply #30 on: January 31, 2009, 01:44:47 PM »

Even exercise I can safety do without a spotter.
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Allegedly.
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« Reply #31 on: January 31, 2009, 01:45:03 PM »

0
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burn2live
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« Reply #32 on: January 31, 2009, 02:52:26 PM »

Haha, that's Rolf Harris. UK getbiggers will know who it is.

Animal Hospital Legend. lol
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« Reply #33 on: January 31, 2009, 03:04:49 PM »

Animal Hospital Legend. lol

Rolf Harris's Cartoon Time Legend.  Cool
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« Reply #34 on: January 31, 2009, 03:26:35 PM »

Rolf Harris's Cartoon Time Legend.  Cool

<a href="http://uk.youtube.com/watch?v=Ag8B9kQjv_0" target="_blank">http://uk.youtube.com/watch?v=Ag8B9kQjv_0</a>
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« Reply #35 on: February 01, 2009, 12:59:46 PM »

i only do 2 sets for each bodypart. both are to failure. after 2-3 warmup sets..1 low rep,1 high rep.. as long as my reps and/or weight improves from the previous workout, that is all my body needs to grow.. which is at a faster rate then when i used to waste time and energy doing set after set of volume style training..

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« Reply #36 on: February 02, 2009, 03:25:42 AM »

Maybe one set to positive failure per exercise, probably less.  Lately focusing more on getting a really good contraction rather than reaching failure.
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« Reply #37 on: February 02, 2009, 09:54:28 AM »

Maybe one set to positive failure per exercise, probably less.  Lately focusing more on getting a really good contraction rather than reaching failure.

I think you should do a minimum of one set to failure, it's fundamental to forcing the muscle to adapt by growing; i don't see how contracting a muscle by itself will make it bigger though it can be good for refinement.



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i only do 2 sets for each bodypart. both are to failure. after 2-3 warmup sets..1 low rep,1 high rep.. as long as my reps and/or weight improves from the previous workout, that is all my body needs to grow.. which is at a faster rate then when i used to waste time and energy doing set after set of volume style training..


I do same, after years of high volume. If you challenge the muscle and fatigue it quickly, more sets are both pointless and focus on endurance. The way it works, if you're going to failure: 1st set is the most productive, the 2nd set adds more benefit but less than the 1st. You can then elect to add a 3rd set, the benefit of which is debatable-arguably it adds slightly more benefit though far less than the first 2 sets-the benefit of a 3rd set depends on the intensity of the first 2. If the intensity's high the first 2 you're not getting much more from the 3rd.

The only justification for doing more sets for an exercise is if you're not really working that hard on each set.
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« Reply #38 on: February 02, 2009, 10:21:33 AM »

Hopefully most of us understand the difference between positive, negative and complete failure. Each affects the CNS (and results or lack of) in different ways.

Personal view: Only exception to reach any stage of failure would be when using one set of all out  reps on a compound exercise. And that being usually once, at the most twice, a week. The squat, bench, DL's, etc for example. Good Luck.
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« Reply #39 on: February 02, 2009, 11:27:49 AM »

There's no reason to differentiate compounds from other exercises in terms of either failure training or effectiveness, it's an arbitrary supposition. One of those fallacies that assumes a life of it's own through the years with no verifiable basis in fact. The guillible don't question it. Plenty of pros who got great results training to failure and using highly effective exercises that wouldn't fall under this rule.

As far as definitions of failure, obviously the default that is most widely known is positive failure.

Frequency of taking it to failure: the body can take alot more than some of the current vogues in training suggest. Recovery really doesn't take that long, that's just one theory. Wink
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« Reply #40 on: February 02, 2009, 06:40:04 PM »





I do same, after years of high volume. If you challenge the muscle and fatigue it quickly, more sets are both pointless and focus on endurance. The way it works, if you're going to failure: 1st set is the most productive, the 2nd set adds more benefit but less than the 1st. You can then elect to add a 3rd set, the benefit of which is debatable-arguably it adds slightly more benefit though far less than the first 2 sets-the benefit of a 3rd set depends on the intensity of the first 2. If the intensity's high the first 2 you're not getting much more from the 3rd.

The only justification for doing more sets for an exercise is if you're not really working that hard on each set.

ive added a 20+ rep set to my weak bodyparts -chest and quads... when i do them i move to a different exersize.. ex: 2 sets of squats, 1 20 rep set of leg press..

so far this has improved these bodyparts..
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« Reply #41 on: February 02, 2009, 09:16:46 PM »

I think you should do a minimum of one set to failure, it's fundamental to forcing the muscle to adapt by growing; i don't see how contracting a muscle by itself will make it bigger though it can be good for refinement.


I think I'm getting enough sets to failure, I might have underestimated before.

I'll give you an example of my biceps workout.

For my heavy exercise (cheat curls or hammer curls) I do about 2-3 warm up sets, then take 1-2 sets to failure.

Then standing dumbbell curls I do about 4 sets between 8-15 reps, stopping 1 or 2 reps before failure.  So something like 14, 12, 10, 8.  Then take my last set of db curls to failure at about 10 reps.

My last exercise is concentration curls and I do 2 sets/arm, neither to failure.  I stop my set when I don't get a perfect contraction at the top.   I'm dieting atm, so I'm not looking to put on much mass (though I don't think it's impossible), just refinement like you said.

Last year I was taking pretty much every set to failure except my first, but I'm liking the way its going atm.
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« Reply #42 on: February 02, 2009, 09:26:06 PM »

Ya that's good, failure part of the time. Sets that don't go to failure are just warmups or pumping sets IMO, they're not the meat of it. Going to failure on every set only makes sense if doing very few overall sets per muscle, then it makes sense every set. Ya, dieting would also change the equation.
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« Reply #43 on: February 03, 2009, 11:25:17 AM »

i perform an exercise until i cant lift the weight anymore. i usually have a spotter to give me 2 or so forced reps. i typically do this every set. i do drop sets, and compound sets every now and then, along with some other high intensity techniques, but usually i stick to lifting a particular weight until i cannot anymore.
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« Reply #44 on: February 03, 2009, 10:27:48 PM »

I usually go to failure on the last set of my compound movements.  I then go slightly higher with the reps for some isolation work, never going to failure.
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« Reply #45 on: February 04, 2009, 07:51:06 AM »

I usually go to failure on the last set of my compound movements.  I then go slightly higher with the reps for some isolation work, never going to failure.

No viable reason to limit hard work to only certain types of exercises; try working harder on isolation work.
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« Reply #46 on: February 04, 2009, 09:40:20 AM »

I am sure most  experience lifters know that not going to failure, every set, never means the any one is not working extremely hard on a exercise. And in return reap the benefits of more muscle size and strength.

Watching the video's of some of the Pro's, and other top BB'ers, it becomes quite clear that there are at least 1 or 2 more rep that could be preformed if true failure was their goal. Watching them workout in person, if becomes even clearer They might push the failure button on the last rep, of the  last set, for a given body area at certain times, but most likely not. And some Pro's may just do it for the video audience, not in real time workouts. After all, BB'ing is just another form of show business.

General rule for success for the top guy's are middle range fast reps and cheating. Add to that, shorter workouts per body part for some. Good Luck.
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« Reply #47 on: February 04, 2009, 09:45:27 AM »

No viable reason to limit hard work to only certain types of exercises; try working harder on isolation work.

Your training info is always solid, pumpster.

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« Reply #48 on: February 04, 2009, 02:50:37 PM »

You're training info is always solid, pumpster.



Thanks man, i appreciate it. That observation was made both from my own experience and from reading workouts of some of the top guys over the years. Guys who got closer to realizing full potential didn't leave any stone unturned in the pursuit of greatness. There's no need to limit yourself with excessive, arbitrary rules that haven't been proven to hold water.


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it becomes quite clear that there are at least 1 or 2 more rep that could be preformed if true failure was their goal. Watching them workout in person, if becomes even clearer They might push the failure button on the last rep, of the  last set, for a given body area at certain times, but most likely not.

That some guys train short of failure in videos doesn't necessarily tell us anything. (1) It doesn't tell us that they always trained that way earlier in their careers when getting to that size, (2) it doesn't tell us that they reached their full potential, because they likely didn't if they never pushed themselves (see Sergio Oliva's comments on getting in to his best all-time shape in the early 70s, only because he was pushed beyond his limits by Arthur Jones, then compare that with guys known to squander potential with pussy workouts, like Dillet and Wheeler-ya they looked great but everyone knows they'd have looked even better by pushing the envelope ), (3) someone like Schwarzenegger clearly says in Pumping that the body has to be brought into new territory "that it's not used to, the 6th, 7th reps"-he's talking about going beyond what can already be done and as he practiced in calf training in finally gaining great calves later, (4) clearly there were guys who included training to failure and beyond who benefitted from it and practiced it-i have no doubt whatsoever that they reached farther into their full potential and beyond. The only way to have addressed that is to challenge oneself, exactly what guys known to have failed to do this neglected, like Wheeler, Levrone and Dillet. You're not doing everything possible to realize true greatness by taking it easy!


Very much common sense to some BBs-full muscular development doesn't happen without inordinate stress on the muscle, which forces adaptation! Very simple!


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« Reply #49 on: February 04, 2009, 06:18:42 PM »

No viable reason to limit hard work to only certain types of exercises; try working harder on isolation work.

I've never really said to myself, this is an isolation movement so don't go to failure, it's just that's the way I'm doing it at the moment.  An example would be chest day, I go to failure on my last sets of inclines, db presses, and dips.  Then I go to 12-15 reps on flyes to get a load of blood into the muscle.  Every now and then I'll do a drop set instead.  It kinda depends on how I feel.

I probably should have been clearer in my first post.   Cheesy
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