Training Techniques To Help Avoid Failure | The Portal

Training Techniques To Help Avoid Failure

The method employed by many top bodybuilders and strength athletes is to train “beyond failure”.  How can this be done?  Is it physically possible to complete more of a workload after failure has been achieved?  Is it actually possible to give 110%?

The answer, technically, is no. 

When failure is achieved, no more full repetitions with that amount of weight can be completed within the next 2-3 seconds (normal repetition delay time).  Athletes continue training using a few techniques, which allow them to squeeze out a few more repetitions.

Less weight

If you are using a machine with a pinned weight stack, it’s very easy to quickly re-rack the pin and continue pumping out a few more repetitions.  Moving “down the rack” using dumbbells in an uncrowned gym can be equally fast.  If you’re using a barbell, it is often not productive to risk sliding off the plates, but it can be done.  A quick reduction of weight allows for a few more reps to be completed after muscle failure with the heavier weight has been achieved.

Poor form

Loosening form – or slightly swinging the weight in order to recruit tendons and other body parts to help the muscle group move the weight – is a great way to keep the muscle working even after it fails being able to move the weight alone.  Be sure to use correct form until failure.  Only after the muscle group cannot move the weight alone, should other parts of the body be used to assist.

Spotter assistance

Your spotter can remove 5 to 10% of the weight resistance by simply putting a finger or a hand on the bar, and helping it move through the positive part of the exercise.  This removes just a bit of the workload, and is essentially the same as the ‘less weight’ method.  Spotters can be useful on bench press, squats, and other movements where it’s hard to remove weight plates from the bar.


The use of rest-pause sets allows athletes to continue a set, after pausing for 5 to 10 seconds to allow blood and lactic acid in the region to dissipate.  This allows the muscle to regain some of its strength so a few additional reps can be competed.

Always train using good form, with full weight, and minimal spotter involvement, until you reach failure.   Once you cannot move the weight again, employ one or more of these methods to continue taxing the muscle group.



Via BuzzFeed