The Effectiveness Of Performing Sets Until You’re Worn Out

the effectiveness of performing sets until you’re worn out

Training to failure is a popular technique used by bodybuilders to deliver as much growth as humanly possible. By pushing a muscle group beyond its limitations, you tear down enough new muscle fibers to ensure some new muscle growth. However, very often, bodybuilders place themselves at substantial risk when training in this manner. They use sloppy form or movements which leave the weight suspended over their head right about the time muscular failure arrives. It’s far better to plan for failure by selecting movements which can be completed safely. Here are some movements that work well, sorted by body part. Use them at your own risk, and only after you’ve completely worn out this body part using traditional means.


Avoid movements such as bench press and dumbbell presses which leave the weight suspended over your head. Instead, opt for movements such as machine presses or cable curls, which can be released safely without recourse.


Deadlifts are out, but rows are in. Using chins to failure can be risky, but movements such as machine pulldowns are perfectly safe.


Any overhead dumbbell or barbell press is strictly forbidden. At the same time, however, dumbbell side raises are welcome, as are machine presses which allow the weight to either move, or not move, but never risks the health or rotator cuff of the trainer.


Alternate dumbbell curls are a great cheat exercise which can be used to failure, as are any kind of cable curls. Barbell curls can place the back at significant risk of lumbar injury if completed in a haphazard manner.


Skullcrushers and close-grip bench press are certainly not advisable to be used to failure. Cable pressdowns and dips, however, are very safe and very effective. Train until those triceps no longer fit in your shirt!


Most forearm exercises can be used until failure is reached. At that point, you can reduce the weight by sliding some plates off the barbell, or by grabbing a lighter dumbbell.


Obviously, exercises like squats cannot and should not be taken to failure. In this case, failure would entail being pinned to the floor under a 225 pound barbell, something which wouldn’t be that good for your overall bodybuilding goals. Leg presses to failure aren’t advisable either, as they leave the knee in a very precarious bottom position, something that no bodybuilder desires. Some exercises, such as leg press, are ideal for using until failure is reached. You can keep dropping the weight, and/or reduce your range of motion, until you’re completing 1/8 range repetitions with 3 pounds on the stack!


Lying leg curls are the way to reach failure on hamstrings! Your body’s position leaves you just a few inches from the pin. Keep removing weight and completing as many repetitions as you can.


Seated calf raises are fairly safe for using until failure is reached. Calf sled or a pinned/locked leg press machine is even more preferable in terms of absolute safety as lesser range of motion is used.