Strength Training Intensity – How Much is Optimal

The latest issue of Muscle & Fiction and all the High-Intensity zealots would have you believe that if you don’t take a set to absolute muscular failure, you are wasting your time. That just isn’t true. On an effective strength training program for the natural lifter, most sets should stop 1 or 2 repetitions short of failure. We should avoid going to failure on all but the last set of each exercise. A simple, yet effective way to evaluate your rating of perceived exertion (RPE), is using this table developed by respected strength coach and competitive powerlifter Mike Tuchscherer.

RPE Scale (lifting)

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Training to Failure doesn’t Trigger Muscle Growth, Progressive Overload does!

Countless studies have demonstrated that progressive overload is the key to muscle and strength gains.  Going to failure too soon in your workout will hurt your performance, and undercut your total workout volume. We want to maximize our performance during each workout. We do this by stopping short of failure on all but the last set of each exercise. Your maximum effort should be given to the last set of the last exercise for any given body part. Continue reading “Training to Failure doesn’t Trigger Muscle Growth, Progressive Overload does!”