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Strength Training To Failure: Is It Safe? Is It Necessary?

atlanta brookhaven crossfit decatur dr. caleb performance physical therapy strength training weightlifting Oct 19, 2023

I get this question a lot: "If I don’t do as many reps as I can, will I still get stronger?"

Let’s answer that question. 


Strength training, like anything else, shouldn’t be done to failure for a couple of reasons:

  1. Risk for injury: As we approach failure our tissues become less efficient in performance and when you combine lack of motor control and a load (especially a heavy one), our risk for injury is significantly increased.
  2. Strength gains are similar when training near failure compared to complete failure: Research shows that objective strength gains are either the same or extremely similar when training 


Q: How do I know what “near failure” means? 

A: Repetitions in reserve 


This concept refers to the amount of reps you think you could perform if you actually went to failure. 


Example: Say a lifter is performing a tough set of 10 reps with a back squat. After their set, they should confidently be able to say that they could perform 12-13 reps total but ONLY if they had to do so. 


Apply this into your training regimen and see if this doesn’t help your recovery and strength gains!


Also, if you’re someone looking to get into training but don’t know where to start, or you’re dealing with any sort of injury limiting you from doing the things you love, give Athletes' Potential in Decatur or Brookhaven a call at 470-355-2106 or fill out a contact request form at the link below and we will reach out to you. 


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All the best, 

Dr. Caleb 


Let us help you figure out to live your best active life today! 

 Remember, Movement is Medicine! 

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