Failure Boosts Size Not Strength

Failure training, or lifting to the point where you're unable to hoist another rep, is popular with bodybuilders who are focused on developing muscle size. But a study published in the NSCA's Performance Training Journal doesn't recommend this approach if you're focused on better performance.

Researchers recruited competitive rowers for an 8-week training program that encompassed the bench press, cable rows, lat pull downs and power cleans. Some trained to failure on all four exercises. Other trained to failure on just 2 of these exercises, while another group didn't train to failure at all. They're the ones who experience the greatest increases in strength and power output.

The Bigger Picture: Although the not-to-failure lifters performed better on 10-stroke and 20-minute all out rowing tests after this 8-week experiment, scientists didn't report which subjects ended up with the biggest muscle size gains. There are different strategies for attaining a wide range of results. Find out the best way to train for achieving the goals you have in mind.
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