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Old 04-17-2006, 10:35 PM
TheMac TheMac is offline
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Default Re: Failure Training

Alright here are a few of my thoughts on the subject, i actually think it is cool that opinions are so varied on the subject [img]/forum/images/graemlins/smile.gif[/img]

The benefits of failure training is that you recruit a maximum amount of muscle fibers and motor units per set. Jacob Wilson (The Prez) gives us a great illustration of this:
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In principle, lets say that your set lasts 30 seconds. You would begin by recruiting a wave of your relatively smaller motor units.
Note though that I say relatively, because 30 seconds of all out activity is very intense relative to normal activity, and highly anaerbic. So this first wave to come into play in the first few seconds would be full of fast twitch muscle fibers, particularly IIA. Out of this population, the motor units to fatigue out first would be larger, less fatigue resistant. The motor units with more fatigue resistance, which are on the smaller end of the units recruited, would continue to contribute to force output. Following fatigue of the intermediate fibers, more fast twitch muscle fibers that are larger and less fatigue resistant would enter into the lift, but these would fatigue even faster then the previous ones that dropped out, causing you to relatively rapidly recruit even larger motor units.

Here is an illustration

A. Lets say that muscle fibers range from 1 – 100s to fatigue as they each contain differing endurance properties ( in reality, some slow Mus much greater endurance time, showing dozens minutes without fatigue)

Say that you lift a weight at a speed of 1 second a lift. On first lift one division of MUS recruited and the second not. Slow fatigue resistant and some intermediate fibers recruited first. After several lifts, some of Mus are fatigued. The ones with the lowest endurance become exhausted. For example after 6 reps, only MUS with endurance time under 6 seconds are exhausted. Now new Mus are recruited. These new ones are fast nonresistant to fatigue. They become exhausted quickly. If only 10 lifts of 12 performed the entire MU population can be divided into 3 divisions

1. Mus that are recruited but not fatigued – If they are not fatigued then the stimulus may not be high enough for adaptation . All MUS having endurance above 10 s are in this category. Without special training ST fibers will not adapt well.


2. MUS recruited and exhausted – These r the main MUS subjected to a serious training stimulus in this set. These possess intermediate features. In this population, no slowest( recruited but not fatigued) or fastest Mus ( not recruited).

A key point is that the corridor of MUS subjected to a stimulus may be relatively narrow or relatively broad depending on the weight lifted and number of reps per set. One objective of strength program can be to increase subpopulation of Mus influenced by training or ‘ broaden the corridor ‘

3. Mus not recruited and therefore not trained – If you would have performed to failure the picture is changed in the final lifts. At failure a maximal # of available MUS r recruited.

All MUS r divided into two populations: exhausted and nonexhausted. The Training effect is substantial in first group only. If reps are 12 then all above 12 s fall into second group.

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Now the negative of failure training is the great amount of fatigue induced from it leading to a much more rapid progression to overtraining. This is not as great of an issue for people training a muscle group once a week but does become more of a problem once you reach 2-3 times a week.

In my own opinion i feel that failure training will slow progress if done on every set during a high frequency training program. With this in mind here is what i have came to think as "optimal".

Working to failure on the last set of an excercise will recruit fibers that would not be utilized in a non failure training set while keeping fatigue to a minimum. This also allows me to judge my progress by how many sets of a certrain weight i can keep at the same number of reps. If i reach failure earlier than i planned on it mighthint to me to lay off the volume a bit.

Also non faiure sets seem to be optimal for shocking methods, if you were to go to failure and then drop the weight you would need to drop it a lot to be able to keep going. By not training to failure before that drop endurance will be much better.

I want more opinions to keep comming through, this is great guys [img]/forum/images/graemlins/smile.gif[/img].
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