Learning not to train to failure

Has caused me to become more lazy than ever. As soon as I had the piece of knowledge that training to failure constantly can actually be very unporductive I started training less and less harder LOL. This may be a the beggining of an unwanted trend with my workouts. Lately my strength sessions have been less than grueling, probably half of what I used to do. I used to workout until complete exhaustion and now I get a solid burn going and I am turning off the radio and heading for the showers. Learning to gauge ones abilities and maximum output is key and varies from individual to individual depending on numerous variables but what would you guys say is an appropriate number of days let's say per month where it is acceptable to train to failure?

I guess it differs with the excersises. Going to failure on deadlift vs. failure on biceps curls produce very different feelings :-)

How do you define failure?

there are three different kinds of failure. Concentric, isometric and eccentric failure.

When someone says not to go to failure he probably means not to go to concentric failure (which is the first one to occur).

Read this for a more thorough explanation: http://www.strengthcats.com/CPworkingtofailure.htm

You can even go farther than this. While you may fail doing an exercise in a certain range, you may be able to do it in another range.

There are of course training programs (mainly in bodybuilding) where one trains beyond failure and (for example) changes to a lighter weight.

I don't see the point of ever training to failure.

Instead of training to failure with a particular weight, I prefer to test my max-single with a HEAVIER weight once every couple of months, then start over with that new max.

From what I have read even the westside powerlifters lift to failure when using the repetition method. But it seems to not be as important as the max effort or dynamic effort method.

Thanx guys..basicly my workouts consist of 75% bodyweight exerceises although every other set I throw on a backpack with 10-15 lbs. Pullups, dips, pushups, burpees, knee raises, crunches, free squats and jump squats ect.

However I do intergrate some weights including, dumbell swings, snatches, bent over rows, seated rows, good mornings, and military presses.
I use very light weight that can allow me to do 15-25 reps per set in a circuit style fashion. My goal is muscular endurance, functional strength and fat burning.

I am naturally a fairly hard worker, but recently I have been leaning towards the idea that less very well could equal more. Or maybe I am getting lazy in my old age? lol

Basicly I quit before I am completely exhausted which my old workouts would consist of me wearily stumbling to the blender to make a shake and spilling milk and powder all over the place from lack of motor skills

Lately I have been throwing in the towel when realisticly I have alot of gas left in the tank for a variety of things. Don't get me wrong, withing the 30-45 minutes that I working, I am working damn hard and many times with very little rest inbetween. Usually 30 seconds to a minute and a half max at times.


"Lately I have been throwing in the towel when realisticly I have alot of gas left in the tank for a variety of things."

Pavel Tsatsouline recommends that athletes train this way most of the time, maxing out or repping out on "test" days everywhere 4-8 weeks.

"From what I have read even the westside powerlifters lift to failure when using the repetition method."

I'm pretty sure this is incorrect.

"I'm pretty sure this is incorrect."

You seem to be incorrect in your assumption that I'm incorrect :-)

Go to http://www.westside-barbell.com/articles.htm. Download article named "June - 01 The Repetition Method". On the first page you can read the following:

"Many don't realize it, but we also use the repetition method to failure, never in the classical lifts, but rather with special exercises with dumbbells, belt squats, the Reverse Hyper®5356,359 and 6,491,607b2, and so forth."

I stand corrected! I could have sworn that I read Dave Tate basically say that failure was bad... oh well.