Is it a good idea to train to failure?

Training To Failure. Is it a good idea? Part 2

Training To Failure. Is It A Good Idea? Part 2

👆Watch the video above 👆
Or read the post below in 5 minutes

Train to near failure.

Train until you can feel the next rep will suffer because your shoulders can’t maintain their posture; your external rotators at the hip can’t keep your knees from collapsing inward; the strength of your core muscles will become compromised and cause your back to arch.

Training to near failure implies you train maximally within the confines of safe movement patterns to the point where you can no longer maintain them, at which point you stop.

Whether that is a squat, press, or sprinting down a track, treat it like it is your job to know what those patterns are, how to maintain them under load, and when to progress them safely.

If you don’t want that job, then I strongly recommend you get a personal trainer or train with a friend who knows proper form and has an attentive eye.

Besides staving off an injury in the gym, training to failure of form rather than failure because of total system shutdown (cough…. crossfit….cough) has other benefits.

When you learn the proper form for the exercises in your program, you are simultaneously learning the most stable positions your body should naturally operate in outside of the gym.

When you bend down to pick up a heavy object, lift your suitcase into an overhead compartment, or help push your friends broken down car over to the side of the road, you will subconsciously brace yourself into the stable positions you have been practicing in your exercise programs.


Sometimes the exercise doesn’t even have a chance to start before there is a failure of form. If you cannot get into the start and end positions of an exercise because of mobility issues without load, what makes you think your form will improve when you start loading the bar?

If you cannot lift your hands straight overhead without compensating in your spine or bending your elbows, then it’s really not a good idea to start overhead pressing until you restore that mobility.

If you cannot do a bodyweight squat to parallel without your heels lifting from the ground and your torso tipping forward, then a barbell back squat is likely not the best exercise for you at this time.

The good news is that, after working on that mobility of the shoulder and adding strength to surrounding muscles, when you are finally ready to start overhead pressing your foundation will be strong and your progress will be quick.

After improving your ankle flexibility and thoracic mobility, you will be able to squat from a solid foundation.

And if you honestly feel like you are losing out on results because you have to focus on corrective exercise rather than the squats and overhead presses you would rather do, remember there is always a safe, regressed version or analog to the restricted exercise that can help keep you on the path to your goals.


How to train maximally, but safely

In summary, take the time to figure out what your current mobility restrictions are and how they will determine the best exercises for your program.

Have your personal trainer or a qualified friend coach you as you do your exercises, correcting your movements or stopping the exercise when they notice your form breaking down.

If you go to boot camp or a CrossFit box, know what the proper form should be for all the exercises you will be doing and pay attention to what your body is telling you.

If you feel like you are compromising the health of your spine, shoulders or other joints just to get out more reps, stop the exercise immediately and assess how you feel and what part of the movement was giving you trouble.

Don’t let anyone tell you to keep pushing, even if they are the coach. You are the one who will have to live with the consequences and pain of any injury you incur, not them.

As always, thank you for taking time out of your day to read this post! I hope you got something from it!

If you did, or if you have any questions, I'd love to hear from you! Feel free to leave me a comment! And feel free to share with a friend.

Liked This Article?
Share It With Your Friends!


Taylor Patterson

Certified Personal Trainer
Certified Nutrition Coach
Certified Behaviour Change Specialist

Book A Coaching Call!