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Going To Failure In Bodybuilding Set

Posted by: Kevin

Going to failure...rule of 100.

I've looked at many workout routines and many stress "going to failure". "Going to failure" has always been described as doing reps until you absolutely cannot get one more. But, how many is that? I often found myself trying to guess for a particular exercise and selected weight what number was going to be my "failure" point and I would always try to get to that number and some how my body would be at "failure" when I hit that number. I bet I could've done more. I've come up with a theory on how to break the "going to failure" platuea many of us are probably on.

Recently I have started running. Not just on a treadmill but I entered and completed my first marathon last year (Flying PIG in Cincinnati, OH, time of 4:07:01). Not record pace but not bad for a guy who at 5'8" was weighing in at a solid 225 when I took up running a couple years ago at the age of 30. Anyway, I am training for another marathon again and during my training runs I often find myself running as hard as I know I need to run to make it to the finish. What I'm trying to say is that when you know where the finish line is you work just hard enough to get there. When I am running a route that I do not know I realize that my pace is quite faster than when I run my usual recovery run route and I know all the mileage markers. This got me thinking when I am "going to failure" when I am in the gym.

For example, let's do flat chest dumbell presses. I know I can get about 10 reps at 80lbs. So that number is precoded in my mind when I am working to failure and I will only work as hard as necessary to achieve my predetermined (mental) amount. Same as running my five mile recover run. I know when I have only 1 mile remaining so I kind of glide in, not really pushing since I know the finish is near.

I have started rethinking my "going to failure". I now start with a number that I know is unatainable. I call it the "rule of 100". I know I cannot get 100 reps at 80lbs on flat bench chest. However, I tell myself that is the number I am going for. I begin and surprisingly enough I am getting past my 10 reps, more around 14 now. Hmmm??? Let's try that on shoulder press...wow, didn't make 100 but I can do a few more reps to failuer than I normally do. Let's take this outside...map a new route, 5 miles, don't know the mile markers. Hmmm...might beat the 4 hour mark at the PIG this year!

Happy training. Yes you can!

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