Training to Failure for Strength is NOT a Good Strategy (New Research)


I need to start off this article with a rant.

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Yesterday I was doing some T-bar rows, just minding my own business and a guy began doing cable curls at the station right next to me.

Normally this wouldn’t be a problem but…

After lifting in commercials gyms for 30+ years, I have a 6th sense for obnoxious gym members.

obnoxious bodybuilder

(Not a pic of the actual guy, but same facial expression.)

I somehow knew this guy was going to grunt and lift in a way where we could all hear him.

He did NOT disappoint.

His facial expressions looked like he was on the toilet, the morning after competing in a habanero pepper eating contest.

He was grunting was loud enough to hear from the parking lot.

On a related note…

Not trying to brag, but I’m close to silent like a ninja while training.

silent like a ninja

The problem is people believe that in order to get stronger, you have to push way past your comfort zone.

It is very similar to eating salsa made from habanero peppers.

Why torture your mouth to this level, when jalapeno peppers will do the job?

When you train to failure the workouts hurt more and may cause you to be excessively sore for a few days after.

train to failure causes muscle soreness

It would be fine if this meant better results…

The irony is that this painful type of training doesn’t even get good results.

A somewhat recent study covers this, titled:

Divergent Performance Outcomes Following Resistance Training Using Repetition Maximums or Relative Intensity.

This study compared repetition maximum (RM) to relative intensity using sets and repetitions (RISR).

  • RM = training to failure
  • RISR = stopping a few reps short of failure

Here was the conclusion.

Overall, this study demonstrated that RISR training yielded greater improvements in vertical jump, rate of force development, and maximal strength compared to RM training.

For strength, it makes sense to avoid lifting to failure.

young woman barbell squat

Avoiding failure also allows you to train more often.

The more frequent your training sessions, the further from failure you should train.

For instance…

In my course, Visual Impact Frequency Training, we are modeling the Eastern European technique of hitting each muscle group 4-6 times per week.

Since the muscles are trained so often, none of the sets are even close to failure.

It’s a fun way to train if you have never tried it.

Strength “comes to you”.

When you work each lift many times per week without breaking the body down, your body becomes naturally stronger.

gain strength with romanian deadlift

Gaining strength without excessive muscle breakdown creates a sleek, firm and tight physique.

A sophisticated amount of muscle 🙂

Visual Impact Frequency Training is geared towards strength and definition.

This is an ideal program for men and women who want to get strong without going up sizes in clothing.

The lifting portion is short and doesn’t wipe you out at all.

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For 15 years I've helped fashion models get lean for photoshoots. Use my plan to Lose 5-10 pounds of PURE body fat in 14 days.

This leaves plenty of time and energy for cardio, to help you get lean at a fast rate.


-Rusty Moore

As a former fitness coach to fashion models, I can teach you how to increase muscle definition without adding size.

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