Failure... a Good Thing? | NC Fitness Clubs

Sep 23, 2011

Written by Drew Schultz, Raleigh Personal Trainer & Kinesis Instructor @ O2 Fitness Falls/540

During your next resistance training workout and/or personal training session give this a shot: train What?! You might say? Train to FAIL? What does this mean?

It means the muscles that are the target of your given exercise fail to perform any further repetitions in good form. This means if you have to cheat, i.e. use momentum, jerk the weight, etc, then its time to terminate the set. You want to finish the set just before this happens.

In one of my previous blogs, we spoke of the complacency we often have after doing the same workouts over and over again, and our refusal to push ourselves beyond the comfort zone. When you start to feel the muscle burn, this is generally attributed to lactic acid buildup, a byproduct of localized fatigue in the muscle. Fatigue is good, because without it, we are not challenging ourselves any further than our regular daily activities. That's why we're here at O2 Fitness, isn't it?

When you start to feel the burn, you can be assured that muscular failure will occur within several repetitions. Here's one example. Many new members use the O2 Express Room. The first several workouts you are just getting used to the proper form, how to execute the movement properly. Within just a few weeks, or workouts, it will be easier to perform the given number of repetitions (fifteen is generally recommended for a beginning strength/toning program. Go ahead and add either a 5, 10, or possibly the next full plate on the stack in an effort to achieve fifteen reps again in good form. This is the basic principle of progressive resistance training.If you can still achieve sixteen, seventeen, and so forth, then you have a high-quality problem- you have increased your muscular endurance. You should add more resistance to keep challenging yourself.

I would recommend meeting with a personal trainer to make sure your form is safe, so that you can get the best results since you have made the decision to up the intensity. The personal trainer will give further individual instruction, so that you have the most appropriate exercises for your unique body.
Whether you just want better overall tone, or wish to sculpt a physique that evokes the glories of Rome, give training to failure a try - you will feel and see the results very soon, which is what we all signed up for in the first place!

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