We have all heard the phrase go hard or go home, but the question is how many of us practice what we preach? When most people start training they go hell for leather, making new gains all of the time and it makes us feel unstoppable. Knowing that relentless lifting will reap rewards spurs us on to keep pushing hard; but what happens when the gains stop?
Many bodybuilders and weight lifters slow down their efforts when they hit a plateau, feeling that all of their efforts are in vein and somewhat ‘pointless.’ A defeatist attitude leads to failure, but with muscle building- you can learn to make failure your secret weapon. When we mention workout to failure, this does not mean giving up and walking away; it means pure muscle fatigue and exhaustion. Think of it this way, how are you going to break through a plateau and/or continue to improve if you never push yourself as hard as you can?
Only when your muscles are pushed to their absolute limit will you induce maximum hypertrophy and strength gains. Training to failure has to be worked on, pumping blood into the muscle with working sets and hitting your target muscle of that session with everything you have. Structured sets, good equipment, ample rest and a killer attitude.
Don’t give up when you still have gas in the tank
Bodybuilders aim for intensity in their workouts; usually going to failure for each working set. This is the best known way for muscles to respond and grow. You hit the muscle group as hard as you can and then let it fully rest before you train that particular area again, bodybuilders also use periodization to allow each muscle group ample rest. By training specific body parts on different days instead of doing full body workouts, each muscle gets the due work and rest it needs for maximum recovery and growth.
Working out to failure does not mean you should sacrifice form- cheat reps, partials and a spotter should only help you right at the end of your working set, when you are really struggling to squeeze out that last full muscle contraction. If you don’t venture into the failure zone, your muscles will stagnate as they have become too used to the monotonous regime you bore them with.
So remember to focus on structure, good form and the right weight for your rep range, then by combining all three you can then focus on maximizing your time in the failure zone. Good luck!