FPF Show Episode 14: Should You Take Your Sets to Failure to Maximize Strength and Muscle?

By Nichole Bonner

January 1, 2022

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In today's episode we go over a really nice study that helps answer the question, "Should You Take Your Sets to Failure to Maximize Strength and Muscle"?  We go over:

  • What's the theory behind training to failure?
  • Do we have research showing that training to failure increases injury risk?
  • What does the older research say about failure training?
  • Does failure training produce superior results for muscle hypertrophy?
  • Does failure training produce superior results for strength?
  • Do these results change for novice vs. experienced weight lifters?
  • Do these results vary on the muscle group?  Legs vs. arms?
  • Do these results carry over to a physical therapy setting?
  • How can we use this information to help people with pain and injury?

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Show Notes / Relevant Articles:

  1. How to Use Auto-regulation to Boost Performance and Reduce Injury Risk
  2. FPF Mini Course - 7 Reasons Why Injuries Happen in the Gym and What to do About it


  1. Grgic J, Schoenfeld BJ, Orazem J, Sabol F. Effects of resistance training performed to repetition failure or non-failure on muscular strength and hypertrophy: A systematic review and meta-analysis. J Sport Health Sci. 2021 Jan 23:S2095-2546(21)00007-7. doi: 10.1016/j.jshs.2021.01.007. Epub ahead of print. PMID: 33497853.
  2. Izquierdo M, Ibañez J, González-Badillo JJ, Häkkinen K, Ratamess NA, Kraemer WJ, French DN, Eslava J, Altadill A, Asiain X, Gorostiaga EM. Differential effects of strength training leading to failure versus not to failure on hormonal responses, strength, and muscle power gains. J Appl Physiol (1985). 2006 May;100(5):1647-56. doi: 10.1152/japplphysiol.01400.2005. Epub 2006 Jan 12. PMID: 16410373.

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