Muscle failure is a term that is used to describe the point at which your muscles are no longer able to perform a certain task or function.
In the world of bodybuilding, it means performing repetitions of a weight lifting exercise until you can no longer move the weight from its starting position.
How Muscle Failure Works
When it comes to muscle growth, added stress on the muscles of the body leads to greater gains. Therefore, it logically follows that in order to achieve the maximum amount of new muscle, you need to apply as much stress as possible to the muscles you are training during your workouts.
The best way to ensure that you are fully exhausting your muscles while performing each set is to work your muscles to failure. This is a technique that can be used to fully exhaust your muscles and maximize your gains.
You will eventually get to the point where you can no longer perform a full rep for the set you are currently performing. While this is a good way to exhaust your muscles, you have to take it a step further to reach full muscle failure and achieve the maximum amount of stress on the worked muscle group.
In order to reach the point of failure, and maximize your ability to build new muscle, you will also need to perform partial reps.
A partial rep means that after you have reached the point where you can no longer perform a full repetition, you continue to perform as much of the repetition motion as possible until you can no longer move the weight from its starting position.
For example, if you were performing the lat pull down exercise, your partial reps would consist of pulling the bar down from its starting position as far as possible and as many times as possible until you can no longer move the bar from its overhead starting position.
Performing partial reps on certain exercises can be problematic. If you do not have a spotter because you workout alone and do not have access to a smith machine, you would obviously not want to perform partial reps of the bench press exercise until you reach full muscular failure as you would become trapped under the bar.
If you have a spotter or access to a smith machine, most bodybuilding exercises can be safely performed to failure without fear of injury or becoming trapped under the load.
However, it goes without saying that you should always use extreme caution when lifting weights and never attempt to perform an exercise with excessive weights if you are not comfortable using the proper form.
I recommend performing “practice sets” using light enough weight that will allow you to focus on executing the proper form before adding any weight. Once you are comfortable and feel that you can safely perform the exercise, add the proper weight accordingly.
If you do not have access to a smith machine, a spotter, or are not comfortable performing partial reps of a certain exercise, simply do as many full reps of the exercise as possible for each set until you are able to safely perform partial reps on the exercise and reach full muscle failure.
The only way that you can fully exhaust your muscles and maximize the stress placed on your muscles during your bodybuilding workouts is to perform partial reps until you reach full failure.
Reaching full muscular failure will give your body the best muscle confusion opportunity and allow you to build new muscle.
Implementing the muscle failure technique as described on this page will always push your muscles to their limits and never allow your body to become accustomed to your workouts.
In addition to reaching muscle failure, you will also need to implement my other muscle confusion techniques in order to optimize your ability to build new muscle and get the most out of your bodybuilding workouts.