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Training to failure article
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entsminger

Virginia, USA

==Scott==
I ran across this interesting article on Training to failure so I thought I would share it with some of you guys who like myself often wonder if I should train to failure or not.

www.weightrainer.net/training/failure.html
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southbeach

i never wonder "if"..always TTF for me. Just makes sense to me. Can't learn to sprint faster by jogging, only thru pushing the envelope of sprinting ability.

The ability to train hard is developed by training TTF. There is no guessing training TTF.
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entsminger

Virginia, USA

==Scott==
Other things talked about on this site are things like small boned and large boned individuals, Ecto, messo and endo type builds. I would be interested in what type build you figure you have? I'm 5'8 and have about a 7 1/4' wrist. I'm just guessing in somewhere between a ecto and messo type build?? How about you??
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entsminger

Virginia, USA

southbeach wrote:
i never wonder "if"..always TTF for me. Just makes sense to me. Can't learn to sprint faster by jogging, only thru pushing the envelope of sprinting ability.

The ability to train hard is developed by training TTF. There is no guessing training TTF.


==Scott==
Did you read the whole article? It seems that one important issue is how To Failure effects small boned individuals vrs large bone. From the microscopic details you've told me about yourself I'd guess you lean toward the small boned individual? 6'6" and thin? Based on what this fellow is saying small boned individuals may burn out quickly always going to failure? You might be better off not going to failure?
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Joseph Anderson

southbeach wrote:
Can't learn to sprint faster by jogging, only thru pushing the envelope of sprinting ability.


This is not a good analogy. You make it sound like sprinters training only consists of sprinting (which is not even close to true . . . they actually spend more time performing lower-intensity work). Further, they don't sprint-to-failure train either.

What's your point?
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southbeach

entsminger wrote:
==Scott==
Other things talked about on this site are things like small boned and large boned individuals, Ecto, messo and endo type builds. I would be interested in what type build you figure you have? I'm 5'8 and have about a 7 1/4' wrist. I'm just guessing in somewhere between a ecto and messo type build?? How about you??


i'd place you squarely between and endo and meso.

Me an obvious ecto :(

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smanjh

entsminger wrote:
==Scott==
Other things talked about on this site are things like small boned and large boned individuals, Ecto, messo and endo type builds. I would be interested in what type build you figure you have? I'm 5'8 and have about a 7 1/4' wrist. I'm just guessing in somewhere between a ecto and messo type build?? How about you??


Yeah, that was my impression as well.

From the 5 years I spent over at HI.net, I would venture to say this is usually correct. Ectomorphs do not do well with very infrequent training, but pure mesomorph guys with insane genetics do. Those guys really get away with anything though.

But those genetics are not limited to mesomorphic types, I have seen plenty of ectomorphs that got freaky huge naturally for their size, and most of them ended up with a handful of working sets.

Ectomorphs without those genetics do seem to fall in line to requiring more volume to get to the point that a lot of us can get to in a TTF set.

But other ectomorphs do real well on a HD consolidated program, but the rest is really at 10 days or so minimum for them if they can push it to that level of intensity.

The burn out talk in the article, the over reaching, will happen no matter what program your on assuming your going for strength gains. My issue with HIT in general is the perpetual reducing idea. Instead you probably need only 2-3 days in between when training for strength gains, and maybe a few weeks of 1x a week. This fixes that issue, trust me. I have eclipsed strength wise where I ever was before, yet I did it mainly with HIT type training outside of one month of using more volume since I was able to train again in April.
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entsminger

Virginia, USA

southbeach wrote:
entsminger wrote:
==Scott==
Other things talked about on this site are things like small boned and large boned individuals, Ecto, messo and endo type builds. I would be interested in what type build you figure you have? I'm 5'8 and have about a 7 1/4' wrist. I'm just guessing in somewhere between a ecto and messo type build?? How about you??

i'd place you squarely between and endo and meso.

Me an obvious ecto :(



===Scott==
If you do consider yourself an ecto it might be even more important for you to examine the article on this site I listed with a more open mind. Like you I have always also gone by the stance of training to failure. I love training to failure and I feel wimpy when I stop short of failure but maybe that's why my progress has not always been so great? Workout after workout I would push it to the limit but after the initial few weeks of training gains would barely come, if at all and I would get discouraged and quit. Then the cycle would start all over again, and again. I feel great doing failure sets but maybe it's just to much for my system to recover from properly ,especially when I do it every workout.
Jones always seemed to have the genetic giants at his disposal to train so yes, they might do well on always to failure but how many of them do you recall ever being thin ectomorphs??
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simon-hecubus

Texas, USA

entsminger wrote:
==Scott==
Other things talked about on this site are things like small boned and large boned individuals, Ecto, messo and endo type builds. I would be interested in what type build you figure you have? I'm 5'8 and have about a 7 1/4' wrist. I'm just guessing in somewhere between a ecto and messo type build?? How about you??


southbeach wrote:
i'd place you squarely between and endo and meso.

Me an obvious ecto :(


Steve Reeves had 7-1/4" wrists at 5'11" or 6'0". Wrist size as a measure of your BB potential is a bunch of hooie.
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simon-hecubus

Texas, USA

P.S. My arms are ecto, but my stomach is definitely endo. That probably makes me a Winstone-Dennehymorph.
;-)
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Tony Williams

entsminger wrote:
==Scott==
Other things talked about on this site are things like small boned and large boned individuals, Ecto, messo and endo type builds. I would be interested in what type build you figure you have? I'm 5'8 and have about a 7 1/4' wrist. I'm just guessing in somewhere between a ecto and messo type build?? How about you??


5' 10" 205 lbs.

7" wrist.

Definitely born an ecto. So to compensate, I overworked myself with weights in a hot garage for hours as a teen ... in order to get ... smaller :).

Regards,
Tony
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entsminger

Virginia, USA

simon-hecubus wrote:
entsminger wrote:
==Scott==
Other things talked about on this site are things like small boned and large boned individuals, Ecto, messo and endo type builds. I would be interested in what type build you figure you have? I'm 5'8 and have about a 7 1/4' wrist. I'm just guessing in somewhere between a ecto and messo type build?? How about you??


southbeach wrote:
i'd place you squarely between and endo and meso.

Me an obvious ecto :(

Steve Reeves had 7-1/4" wrists at 5'11" or 6'0". Wrist size as a measure of your BB potential is a bunch of hooie.


==Scott== No, wrist size can't tell if you have what it takes to be a well proportioned bodybuilder but I think it can give us an idea of how big our arms might grow too?I'm sure there are exceptions as there are exceptions to everything. Reeves arms weren't the hugest but his shoulder to waist differental were exceptional.
My brother is very messomorphic and athletic and has almost 9 inch wrists at 5'10' and I'm sure he could easily have build a 19 inch arm with no drugs if he wanted to. Unfortunately he never was interested in lifting.
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WesH

entsminger wrote:
My brother is very messomorphic and athletic and has almost 9 inch wrists at 5'10' and I'm sure he could easily have build a 19 inch arm with no drugs if he wanted to. Unfortunately he never was interested in lifting.


Funny the way that works, isn't it?
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db144

SB:
Have you ever tried 2 or 3 sets of compound exercises NTF? What made you decide on a TF routine? How often do you lift? If it is once per week I can understand how you get away with a TF routine but one would think you'd be overtraining when the cardio is thrown in.

d
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cmg

smanjh wrote:
entsminger wrote:
==Scott==
Other things talked about on this site are things like small boned and large boned individuals, Ecto, messo and endo type builds. I would be interested in what type build you figure you have? I'm 5'8 and have about a 7 1/4' wrist. I'm just guessing in somewhere between a ecto and messo type build?? How about you??

Yeah, that was my impression as well.

From the 5 years I spent over at HI.net, I would venture to say this is usually correct. Ectomorphs do not do well with very infrequent training, but pure mesomorph guys with insane genetics do. Those guys really get away with anything though.

But those genetics are not limited to mesomorphic types, I have seen plenty of ectomorphs that got freaky huge naturally for their size, and most of them ended up with a handful of working sets.

Ectomorphs without those genetics do seem to fall in line to requiring more volume to get to the point that a lot of us can get to in a TTF set.

But other ectomorphs do real well on a HD consolidated program, but the rest is really at 10 days or so minimum for them if they can push it to that level of intensity.

The burn out talk in the article, the over reaching, will happen no matter what program your on assuming your going for strength gains. My issue with HIT in general is the perpetual reducing idea. Instead you probably need only 2-3 days in between when training for strength gains, and maybe a few weeks of 1x a week. This fixes that issue, trust me. I have eclipsed strength wise where I ever was before, yet I did it mainly with HIT type training outside of one month of using more volume since I was able to train again in April.


smanjh -

Can you elaborate on your volume and frequency that you speak of?

Thank you,

Ron

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simon-hecubus

Texas, USA

entsminger wrote:
...Reeves arms weren't the hugest but his shoulder to waist differental were exceptional...


I have 7-1/4" wrists myself. I'd be happy with arms 2" smaller than Reeves were!

I think his best asset was long muscle bellies --- that plus his small joints is what made his physique so pleasing to the eye.
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southbeach

db144 wrote:
SB:
Have you ever tried 2 or 3 sets of compound exercises NTF? What made you decide on a TF routine? How often do you lift? If it is once per week I can understand how you get away with a TF routine but one would think you'd be overtraining when the cardio is thrown in.

d


i've done it all db. multiple sets, rest/pause, supersets, descending sets, ascending sets, giant sets, SS, circuits, machines, barbells, infametric, negative only Nautilus (loooved those babies!)...

I always came back to TTF machine training! It doesn't get any better than that!

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entsminger

Virginia, USA

southbeach wrote:
db144 wrote:
SB:
Have you ever tried 2 or 3 sets of compound exercises NTF? What made you decide on a TF routine? How often do you lift? If it is once per week I can understand how you get away with a TF routine but one would think you'd be overtraining when the cardio is thrown in.

d

i've done it all db. multiple sets, rest/pause, supersets, descending sets, ascending sets, giant sets, SS, circuits, machines, barbells, infametric, negative only Nautilus (loooved those babies!)...

I always came back to TTF machine training! It doesn't get any better than that!



==Scott==
So then I can assume you are continually making progress, the weights and reps keep going up consistently or are you just working out to maintain what you have? I would think that if you have been working out as long as I think you say you have, you'd be a strong as a bull by now if going to failure was working so well for you??
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entsminger

Virginia, USA

simon-hecubus wrote:
entsminger wrote:
...Reeves arms weren't the hugest but his shoulder to waist differental were exceptional...

I have 7-1/4" wrists myself. I'd be happy with arms 2" smaller than Reeves were!

I think his best asset was long muscle bellies --- that plus his small joints is what made his physique so pleasing to the eye.


===Scott==
Yes , he did seem to have long muscle bellies. I'm just guessing that Reeves arms were never really any bigger than 18, if that.There's alot of exaggerating going on when measurements are taken. I don't mean to pry but how big have your arms been at their best?

At best my arms have been about 16 1/4 pumped.Now they hover between 15 1/2 when I am not working out much like the last few weeks whrn I have been sick to 16 when I am.
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southbeach

entsminger wrote:
southbeach wrote:
db144 wrote:
SB:
Have you ever tried 2 or 3 sets of compound exercises NTF? What made you decide on a TF routine? How often do you lift? If it is once per week I can understand how you get away with a TF routine but one would think you'd be overtraining when the cardio is thrown in.

d

i've done it all db. multiple sets, rest/pause, supersets, descending sets, ascending sets, giant sets, SS, circuits, machines, barbells, infametric, negative only Nautilus (loooved those babies!)...

I always came back to TTF machine training! It doesn't get any better than that!



==Scott==
So then I can assume you are continually making progress, the weights and reps keep going up consistently or are you just working out to maintain what you have? I would think that if you have been working out as long as I think you say you have, you'd be a strong as a bull by now if going to failure was working so well for you??


i think it a myth that constant gains are possible into perpetuity. AJ said that with proper TTF training we'll all reach our genetic limit fairly quickly...after that dribs and drabs.

I'm now (and have been) at the dribs and drabs stage ;) i still get a little here and a little there but pretty happy with where I am at..

But I'll never stop pushing on my genetic limit TTF training.
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simon-hecubus

Texas, USA

entsminger wrote:
Yes , he did seem to have long muscle bellies. I'm just guessing that Reeves arms were never really any bigger than 18, if that.There's alot of exaggerating going on when measurements are taken. I don't mean to pry but how big have your arms been at their best?


Mine are 16" at best and I'm 5' 10-1/2" and way fatter than you. That's why I identify with Ray Winstone and Brian Dennehy --- two guys with big barrel bodies and small arms.
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HeavyHitter32

Did Reeves really have 18" arms? Just wondering as they never looked as big as Mentzer's which Jones measured at 18.5". Of course, Mentzer was shorter so perhaps they looked larger.
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smanjh

cmg wrote:
smanjh wrote:
entsminger wrote:
==Scott==
Other things talked about on this site are things like small boned and large boned individuals, Ecto, messo and endo type builds. I would be interested in what type build you figure you have? I'm 5'8 and have about a 7 1/4' wrist. I'm just guessing in somewhere between a ecto and messo type build?? How about you??

Yeah, that was my impression as well.

From the 5 years I spent over at HI.net, I would venture to say this is usually correct. Ectomorphs do not do well with very infrequent training, but pure mesomorph guys with insane genetics do. Those guys really get away with anything though.

But those genetics are not limited to mesomorphic types, I have seen plenty of ectomorphs that got freaky huge naturally for their size, and most of them ended up with a handful of working sets.

Ectomorphs without those genetics do seem to fall in line to requiring more volume to get to the point that a lot of us can get to in a TTF set.

But other ectomorphs do real well on a HD consolidated program, but the rest is really at 10 days or so minimum for them if they can push it to that level of intensity.

The burn out talk in the article, the over reaching, will happen no matter what program your on assuming your going for strength gains. My issue with HIT in general is the perpetual reducing idea. Instead you probably need only 2-3 days in between when training for strength gains, and maybe a few weeks of 1x a week. This fixes that issue, trust me. I have eclipsed strength wise where I ever was before, yet I did it mainly with HIT type training outside of one month of using more volume since I was able to train again in April.

smanjh -

Can you elaborate on your volume and frequency that you speak of?

Thank you,

Ron



Well, it is really a long answer, but since you asked...

I don't believe there is a perfect, set amount of volume or frequency required for everyone. For me,the formula that is working well is the most volume that I can take while keeping the perceived effort (intensity) as high as possible. For me, this is 3-5 sets of a few different exercises in either an AB split, or a whole body routine.

After about 20 minutes, I notice a lack of drive to go that hard, so I generally try to work within that time range.

The ectomorphic types I am talking about, they would feel about sick after a HIT workout per their posts. Not right after, that is normal, but for days. It got absurd, like 2 weeks between training.

The reason I presume is that they could not handle the intensity systematic wise and were better off weakening themselves with several lighter NTF sets before hitting a failure point with lighter weight.

The other issue is conditioning factors. They would take feeling like crap as an overtraining sign and do nothing until the next weight workout.

Having come back from a long layoff, I can tell that this is a lack of conditioning sometimes, and perhaps they needed more frequency assuming progress kept coming.

Eventually the progress would stop, and the cycle would repeat albeit longer and longer rest periods and negligible progress over time.

This happened with me, and I found the answer to be in maybe reducing volume and frequency for a week or maybe a month, and then giving it a go at higher volume and frequency, like moving from a Darden routine back to Mentzer's consolidated routine, back to a Darden routine.

Let me know if you have any more to add or ask about.
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crazeeJZ

WesH wrote:
entsminger wrote:
My brother is very messomorphic and athletic and has almost 9 inch wrists at 5'10' and I'm sure he could easily have build a 19 inch arm with no drugs if he wanted to. Unfortunately he never was interested in lifting.

Funny the way that works, isn't it?


No, you guys are just mentally sick with Dorian Yates body envy. You freaks.

Lol. I can see his brother's thinking. If he was already built, then he wouldn't want to be bigger and gross the ladies out.

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summaHIT

Ontario, CAN

Summary
Training to failure results in more muscle fiber microtrauma. This may result in a greater growth stimulus than stopping sets shy of failure. However, excessive microtrauma and degradation may partially offset the growth stimulus and blunt the anabolic response, not producing a net anabolic effect any greater than stopping sets short of failure.
Several set protocols produce greater anabolic hormone release than single set protocols, but repeated failure efforts appear to increase levels of catabolic hormones such as cortisol. Repeated sets shy of failure, to a point, appear to possibly lower resting cortisol levels.
Training to failure imposes greater stress on the peripheral nervous system and may lead to an extended period of inhibition and recovery as compared to stopping sets short of failure. This may have the side effect of further stressing the central nervous system.
Training to failure, especially with heavy loads (roughly 85% of one-rep max and above), imposes greater stress on the central nervous system, connective tissues and joint capsules. This may lead to an extended period of central nervous system mediated inhibition.
Clearly, training to failure imposes a longer recovery period than an otherwise identical routine but with sets stopped short of failure. Therefore, if a person choses to train to failure then training must be done less frequently than if the person did not train to failure. The question to be answered is whether it is more productive, from a muscle growth perspective, to train to failure infrequently, or to train short of failure but more often. Herein lies the difference between the two approaches.


Me:
This summary is very good. This is what we always have to deal with.
What is the ideal protocol to follow?
From his examples you would have to conclude that indeed working to failure is not ideal. But what is ideal? I do not know. I think it is always changing.
I used to always believe that only training to failure was the answer. I never saw the results I wanted however despite constantly making the exercises harder to perform by going slower and going to negative failure as well. I used to as well criticize others and believe that their progress would be superior if they worked out LESS and lifted to failure. I am sill a very low volume guy though.
I do believe Chad Waterbury is right in his belief about how the fast twitch fibers are recruited and why he recommends stopping after he performance of he exercise declines.
It makes sense. I can go to failure holding up a paint brush but no growth is stimulated. People do however grow performing multiple sets of Olympic lifts nowhere near failure. Why?

I suck at the bench press but was a very good fooball and Rugby player. It was not a limiting factor. I did however, after my prime, lift more than ever in the bench press using a 10 sets of 3 reps protocol. It is very hard to complete despite the lack of failure and you need a lot of motivation. I would rather get it over in 1 set if that is all it takes.
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