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The Only Way to Succeed in the Gym is to Fail

 width=One main key to overall success in the gym is to always reach failure. This is the most important rule due to the fact that it promotes the most muscle growth. A lot of lifters go into the gym and do 3 sets of 10 reps on, let’s say, the bench press for example. They increase the weight each set and seem to still finish with 10 repetitions. Maybe that last set they struggled to reach 10, but what about the first two sets? Basically, they wasted 10 minutes of their time with too many warm-up sets. Instead of reaching failure and breaking down muscle tissue, this particular lifter fatigued his chest by messing around with a lighter weight on the first two sets. Therefore the end result ended with less weight being used on his heaviest set because his muscles were too fatigued from the get-go. Don’t get me wrong, it’s great to warm up, as everyone should to avoid injury, but to fatigue your muscles before your heaviest sets is not the best approach. When you have in your mind that you are going to do 3 sets of 10 repetitions you need to do a weight that will make you reach failure on those 10 reps. Yes, I do mean on your 1st, 2nd, and 3rd sets. This enables you to push the most weight your body can push for those 10 reps without any previous fatigue. Reaching positive failure ensures that the muscle(s) worked are being subjected to 100% of the potential load each set has to offer. You may have to decrease the weight a little bit on the last sets, but you have to understand you are there to work out your muscles not your ego. You may feel as if everyone is in the gym seeing you struggle on your last set with weight you normally could throw up, but for one, the world does not revolve around you, and two, who cares if they are! You are in there to make yourself better and to push yourself to your limits. The key word in the last couple sentences is “your,” for the fact that YOU need to worry about YOU and not what others may be saying about the way you lift. Plus this type of lifting will lead to more overall growth which will lead to more weight being thrown around. Then the so called “on-lookers” will be asking themselves how you look better than they do or how you’re getting stronger each week. Trust me the weights you push in those 1st couple sets will supersede any weights you every pushed in the weeks to come!   Vincent Russo, 25 years old from Kenilworth NJ. Has a BA in Biology from Fairleigh Dickinson University in Madison NJ. A Bodybuilding.com Team Athlete, Silver Model, High School Football Coach, Substitute Teacher, Waiter/bartender. Was a top 5 finalist out of 500 guys for bodybuilding.com‘s 2012 BodySpace Spokes Model.  Compete in the Men’s Physique category where in recent competitions placed 2nd in NPC East Coasts (Nov. 2011), and 3rd in Bodybuilding.com‘s BodySpace Spokes model competition (LA Fit Expo 2012).