November 13, 2020 By BridgeAthletic

Hypertrophy: Is going to failure needed or not?


To train to failure or not to train to failure, seems like a simple enough question to answer…

The contrast in value between training to failure vs not training to failure or submaximal efforts frequents the literature. However, there is still no clear answer as to which one is the “best”.

The popularity of this contrast can even be referenced to specific philosophies that were more prominent in the late 1990’s and early 2000’s, where you would see athletic staffs labeled as “HIT” (typically associated with a single set to failure on a machine) or not. Obviously, the popularity of “HIT” training in the athletic setting has dwindled, but the pursuit to understand it compared to submaximal training is still being examined.

In the recent article, Is Performing Repetitions to Failure Less Important Than Volume for Muscle Hypertrophy and Strength?, muscular failure (MF) and submaximal or not to muscular failure (NMF) were examined. 

This research was performed on untrained individuals, which can either be discounted by some because the population doesn’t relate to those they train or considered as a pure look into the effect this has unrelated to prior training practices. Nonetheless, this article suggests that both methods showed similar results when volume was equal.

Therefore, the determining factor on how and when to use these training protocols is dependent on the practitioners understanding and perspective for each individual, but it is clear that both have value.

To see how to program both of these efforts in the Bridge platform, check out the video below.



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About the Author


At Bridge, we are all athletes and coaches first. As athletes, our team has experienced everything from riding the pine on JV, to winning NCAA championships, to competing in the Olympic Games. As coaches, we have helped countless athletes reach their full potential, winning everything from age group section championships to Olympic Gold Medals.

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