The only way to stimulate maximal growth in any muscle is to work it to failure. This article explores this contention and concludes that muscle failure is a core concept in achieving meaningful muscle gains.
You can only build muscle tissue if you can generate progressively stronger muscular contractions, so this calls for an emphasis on finding ways to increase exercise intensity. This should not be confused with exercise duration as maximum training intensity will actually shorten the time needed to achieve maximal muscular growth.
In an earlier article I outlined the ways in which you can intensify your training. Here we’ll focus on the role that training to failure has to play in intensifying the training effect.
Anything less than maximum effort will reduce the effectiveness of your muscle building workout. The only way to force an optimal reaction in any muscle is to train it to failure – in other words, no matter how much effort you put in you are simply incapable of completing one more rep of a given exercise.
Too many people seem to finish a set when they reach a certain number of reps, but the body will only show significant change if you ask it to do something extra. Only by passing through the break-over point of momentary muscle failure will you stimulate the muscle to grow.
Anyone starting out should not attempt this method of training as it could lead to serious injury. Spend several months perfecting exercise form and conditioning the body to lift heavier weights before gradually introducing training to failure.