Why is Lifting to Failure Bad?

Discussion in 'Strength & Conditioning Discussion' started by theNuge, Mar 17, 2008.

  1. theNuge

    theNuge Brown Belt

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    I'm currently doing the Bill Starr 5x5 and it says under no circumstances train to failure. I don't and I haven't. I got the impression that the writer also doesn't train to failure and he thinks it's one of the reasons why he's so strong.

    Why is training to failure wrong?

    I'm asking this question partly because I'm probably going to do GVT after I'm done with the 5x5. That program seems like it's built for failure. What are your thoughts?
     
  2. Donut62

    Donut62 Black Belt

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    Training to failure isn't necessarily bad, it's just something that should be used in limited fashion because it is extremely stressful to the body and impedes recovery much more than leaving a rep or two in the tank (which gives comparable results).
     
  3. Merrill

    Merrill Purple Belt

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    Lol.


    Which version of the 5X5 are you doing?
     
  4. Merrill

    Merrill Purple Belt

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    Trying to increase bar speed is a good way to get through sticking points with 1 RM attempts. It builds confidence in the lift as well. I rarely miss a lift. Some people make poor weight choices and miss lifts frequently. I think this "negative reinforcement" leads to shitty attitude. Missing a lift doesn't do much for strength building either.
     
  5. thethirddiaz

    thethirddiaz vas a morir

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    He was talking about GVT, not the 5x5.

    Nuge, I think the reason he states it like that is because he is trying to address curl monkey types that aren't used to working compound lifts. If you are constantly lifting to failure on the big lifts (specifically squats and deads) you will fry your CNS and not gain as much as if you didn't. That is why he is advocating not pushing until failure on the 5x5.

    As for GVT, similar to Smolov, these are built to push you close to failure, which is why you don't do them for more than one cycle, and when you do them you get significant amounts of rest. For all of the great lifters on this board, I don't think anyone has even tried to do a full cycle of Smolov and of the guys that did the meso cycle, a few didn't finish because it is so taxing.

    Starr is being a bit facetious in that introduction, but you should stay away from lifting to failure on the big compound lifts until you get to know your limits better.
     
  6. theNuge

    theNuge Brown Belt

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    Maybe I misused the "this" pronoun. I meant that GVT seems like it's built for failure.

    No, I'm definitely NOT working to failure on the 5x5.
     
  7. Merrill

    Merrill Purple Belt

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    Turn on your funny meters.

    I thought "That program seems like it's built for failure." was funny.

    I asked which version of the 5X5 as a secondary question because there are a few of them.
     
  8. Merrill

    Merrill Purple Belt

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    Double due to Sherdog gheyness.
     
  9. theNuge

    theNuge Brown Belt

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    Oh, I thought you were laughing at my lack of grammatical correctness...

    I'm doing the Bill Starr 5x5 from the FAQ.
     
  10. Merrill

    Merrill Purple Belt

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    I think I might do the 5X5 next. I think I need to squat more.
     
  11. joshetc

    joshetc butthole hurts from teh gay

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    If you deadlift or squat to failure, you more than likely won't be able to walk. It is also hell on your recovery time. You can make good gains without going to failure, then recover faster and go not quite to failure again.

    Try doing the conditioning forum challenge from last month (deadlift bodyweight for most reps in 5 minutes) at the end of your workout, and you'll see what I mean.
     
  12. ThinkGreen

    ThinkGreen Der √úbermensch

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    You should be training close to failure on all of your sets, so it's pretty inevitable that you train "to failure" sometimes, even if it happens to be 5reps, or 1rep. I think what he means though is doing a bunch of reps until your muscles are burnt out, which isn't helpful for strength gains.
     
  13. theNuge

    theNuge Brown Belt

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    You'll certainly get more squatting in under that program. For the first five weeks you're squatting three times a week.
     
  14. SmashiusClay

    SmashiusClay Avatar of Cyttorak

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    Film yourself benching and squatting to failure, now edit tthe footage so you watch just the first rep then the last rep, see that? Yep, your form now looks like rancid dog turds, lifting to failure often enforces really bad form as well as frying your CNS.

    Lifting to failure bad, mmkay.
     
  15. Tornado

    Tornado Blue Belt

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    ...because if done consistently, you effectively increased the motor unit's threshold, which means you need a stronger action potential to elicit a contraction. In other words, if you train to failure long enough, you end up increasing the amount of current required to activate a motor unit. Once in a while it's okay but in the long run it's not a good srtategy.
     
  16. VicDienekes

    VicDienekes Green Belt

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    *learns*
     
  17. Todd Gack

    Todd Gack Dutch

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    *does one set to failure*
     
  18. Merrill

    Merrill Purple Belt

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    *Does one set to failure of randomly generated exercise*
     
  19. Todd Gack

    Todd Gack Dutch

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    *swoons*
     
  20. joshetc

    joshetc butthole hurts from teh gay

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    Never heard of this, but it makes a lot of sense. Is this just theory or do you have a source? I'm interested to learn more. Regardless, this is good to know.
     

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