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What 'Training to Failure' Means & is Training to Failure Good for Hypertrophy?


What 'Training to Failure' Means & is Training to Failure Good for Hypertrophy?
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Failure is not always dreaded in the world of fitness. Sometimes it's encouraged- especially when training for muscle growth. When lifting weights, you can experience many challenges in stabilizing yourself and not compromising your form. To effectively overload your muscles and force them to grow, you need to challenge them beyond what they're used to.

You can make your muscle-building process much smoother and effortless by introducing changes to your training regimen rather than going for a new program. This is where training for failure comes in; it's the perfect way to push your muscles to their limits and help them grow.

When you're lifting weights, there are two ways you can train- with a weight that you can lift for a certain number of repetitions or with a weight that you cannot lift for the desired number of repetitions. Training to failure means continuing to lift a weight even though you can no longer complete the desired number of repetitions.

One of the main benefits of training to failure is that it forces your muscles to adapt and grow. When you push your muscles to their limits, they have no choice but to get stronger and thicker to handle the stress. This is how you build muscle size and strength.

Training to failure can also help you break through plateaus. If you've been stuck at the same weight for a while, it may be because your muscles have adapted to load and are no longer being challenged. Pushing yourself to failure can help you overcome these plateaus and continue making gains.

The question of how much weight to lift and how many repetitions are central to any training program. But there's another critical factor that often gets overlooked: how close to failure you train.

Training to failure means pushing your muscles to the point where they can no longer complete the desired number of repetitions. It's a controversial topic in the fitness world, with some people advocating for it and others saying it's unnecessary.

So, what's the verdict? Is training to failure beneficial or not? Let's take a look at the pros and cons.


Some of the benefits that you can dig from training to failure are:

Build Muscle Faster

If your goal is to build muscle, then training to failure is one of the best things you can do. When you push your muscles to their limits, it forces them to adapt and grow stronger. This is because lifting heavy weights breaks down muscle tissue, and your body responds by repairing the damage and building new muscle fibers.

Increases Your Strength

Training to failure is also an effective way to increase your strength. This is because lifting heavy weights breaks down muscle tissue and strengthens your nervous system. When your nervous system gets better at recruiting muscle fibers, you'll be able to lift more weight and get stronger.

Boosts Your Motivation

Training to failure can also be a great motivator. Seeing yourself lift heavier weights and achieve new personal bests is a great way to stay motivated and return to the gym.


While training to failure feels too good to be true, there are a few potential drawbacks to consider.

Can Be Dangerous

Training to failure can be dangerous if you're not careful. This is because when you push your muscles to their limits, there's a higher risk of injury. This is why it's essential to warm up properly and use good form when lifting weights.

Might Lead to Overtraining

If you train too close to failure too often, it can lead to overtraining. Overtraining is when you train so hard that your body can't recover, leading to fatigue, injuries, and other health problems. This is why taking breaks from lifting and giving your body time to recover is essential.

It's Not Necessary

Training to failure is not necessary to build muscle or get stronger. If you're starting, you can make significant progress by training with lighter weights and not going to failure. As you get stronger, you can start incorporating more challenging weights and sets, but there's no need to train for failure.

Is Training to Failure Good for Hypertrophy?

Hypertrophy is increased muscle size due to the enlargement of the individual cells that make up the muscle tissue. This can be caused by an increase in the number of contractile proteins within the cells or by the size of the cells themselves.

Training to failure is a weight training method in which the muscles are worked to the point of exhaustion, usually by performing one more repetition than would be possible without failing. This is thought to lead to greater muscle growth because it results in higher muscle stimulation.

Training to failure has long been considered an essential part of the training regimen for athletes and bodybuilders seeking to maximize muscle growth. However, there is debate over whether or not this method is effective.

Some research suggests that training to failure does lead to more significant muscle growth. One study found that trained athletes who lifted weights to failure had greater muscle growth than those who did not train to failure. A review of the available research concluded that training to failure might result in slightly greater muscle growth, but the difference is not likely to be practical or meaningful.

So, what does this all mean? Training to failure may lead to minimal additional muscle growth, but it is not likely to be a significant difference. If you are seeking to maximize muscle growth, there are other, more effective methods that you should focus on. However, it does not mean the technique does not work.

If you can maintain your form throughout the set, you can earn maximum benefits from training to failure. All you have to do is to ensure you follow the proper technique and give your best to build the muscle you have always wanted.

When Should You Go for Training to Failure?

Training to failure is a method that involves working your muscles until they can no longer perform the desired number of repetitions. This type of training is usually reserved for experienced lifters looking to push themselves to the limit to see results.

When done correctly, training to failure can be an effective way to break through plateaus and see new gains. However, it’s essential to know when to do this type of training and how to do it correctly, as there is such a thing as overtraining.

Generally speaking, you should only train to failure occasionally and not make it a regular part of your workout routine. This is because constantly pushing your muscles to their limit can lead to overtraining and burnout. When you decide to train for failure, make sure you give your muscles plenty of time to recover afterward. A good rule of thumb is only to do this training once every two weeks.

When it comes to performing the exercises, there are a few things you should keep in mind:

  • Always use proper form. This is especially important when lifting heavy weights, as bad form can lead to injury.
  • Start with a lighter weight, such as a dumbbell, and gradually increase the amount of weight you’re using as you get more comfortable with the exercise.
  • Don’t be afraid to push yourself.
  • You're probably not working hard enough if you’re not feeling muscle fatigue.

If you want to add this type of training into your routine, ensure you do it correctly and don’t overdo it. With proper form and a gradual increase in weight, you should be able to see the results you want without putting your body at risk.


1. Why do people train to failure?

The main reason people train to failure is that it is an effective way to build muscle. When you train to failure, you force your muscles to work harder than they are used to, forcing them to grow to adapt to the increased demand.

2. Is training to failure safe?

Yes, training to failure is safe if you use the proper form and technique. It is important to remember that when you are lifting weights, you are putting your body under a lot of stress. Therefore, listening to your body and taking breaks when needed is essential.

3. How often should I train to failure?

There is no definitive answer to this question, as it depends on your goals and fitness level. However, most experts recommend that you only train to failure every once in a while, as it can be taxing on your body and recovery.

4. What are the benefits of training to failure?

Training to failure has several benefits, including increased muscle growth, improved strength, and enhanced fat loss. Additionally, training to failure can also help break through plateaus.

Final Words

So, should you train to failure? The answer depends on your goals and your level of experience. If you're just starting, it's not necessary. Training to failure may benefit experienced weightlifters already familiar with the correct lifting techniques. For beginners, it may be best to avoid training to failure to prevent injuries.

But training to failure can be beneficial if you want to build muscle or get stronger. Just be sure to warm up properly, use good form, and take breaks to avoid overtraining.

Reading List

Article Sources

  • Schoenfeld, Brad Jon PhD, CSCS, FNSCA1; Grgic, Jozo MS2. Does Training to Failure Maximize Muscle Hypertrophy?. Strength and Conditioning Journal: October 2019 - Volume 41 - Issue 5 - p 108-113 doi: 10.1519/SSC.0000000000000473
  • Krzysztofik, Michal, et al. “Maximizing Muscle Hypertrophy: A Systematic Review of Advanced Resistance Training Techniques and Methods.” International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health, vol. 16, no. 24, Dec. 2019, p. 4897. PubMed Central,
  • Santanielo, Natalia, et al. “Effect of Resistance Training to Muscle Failure vs Non-Failure on Strength, Hypertrophy and Muscle Architecture in Trained Individuals.” Biology of Sport, vol. 37, no. 4, Dec. 2020, pp. 333–41. PubMed Central,

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