If your objective is to gain muscle as quickly as possible most professional weightlifters will tell you that you have to train to the point of failure and some will even insist that you need to go beyond the point of muscle failure. Going beyond the point of failure means used things like negatives and drop sets etc.
But we need to refer to the most relevant research that has now been done on this subject to see if this is actually true. Building muscle has certainly changed a lot in the last 30 years and with the proof of HIIT now being so well proven it seems that going past the point of failure can cause more damage than the gains that you get.
Firstly the biggest problem is the potential for injury when training past the point of failure. When you are trying desperately to lift a weight with muscles that have already been pre-exhausted there is a very good chance that you will start cheating and lose your form.
Secondly when you refer this idea of training beyond the point of failure like Arnold and Franco used to do 50 years ago, you will see that professional bodybuilders very seldom use this technique. There are many successful bodybuilders that use the good old 10 to 12 reps in a set no matter how much weight they are lifting.
It was Arnold who coined the phrase ‘no pain, no gain’ in the Pumping Iron movie that he made with Franco and Serge Nubret. But things have changed since then and if a common denominator was seen in all bodybuilders then it has to be with the insistence of the effectiveness of using the HIIT system of training.
The point is that building muscle is now done a lot more scientifically than it was 50 years ago even though the principal of progressive resistance still remains solidly intact and well-proven. The old school bodybuilders who bulk up in the off-season and get strong to then lose the fat they have gained when competing, is no longer a viable option.
The reason why it is no longer necessary to put on an extra 20 pounds of fat to get stronger and gain muscle is because you can now do both at the same time by using HIIT. Training this way using HIIT will help you lose fat and gain you muscle at the same time.
The conclusion is that you need to slow down the training to the point of failure and only do that no more than once a week with different body-parts if you are not taking something extra to help speed up your repair, like taking steroids.