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Is Training to Failure Better for Hypertrophy



Refalo et. al. (2022). Influence of Resistance Training Proximity to Failure On Skeletal Muscle Hypertrophy: A Systematic Review With Meta-Analysis. Sports.Med


Details of the Study:


  • The researchers analysed the effects of failure under three separate categories- muscular failure, set failure and high velocity thresholds.


  • In all categories, there were trends favouring the failure condition, although these findings did not reach statistical significance.


  • This lead to the authors to hypothesize that training closer to failure appears to be non-linearly beneficial for muscle growth.


  • In other words, training to failure may be slightly superior compared with leaving a few reps in reserve, although the benefits are marginal.



Real World Application:


  • Training to failure can be fun to truly test your limits and this research supports the idea that it would be beneficial to do so, when the goal is muscle growth.


  • However, when adjusting to new training loads or during times when life stress is higher than usual, you can train slightly sub-maximally safe in the knowledge that it will not significantly prevent you from reaching your training goal.

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