It’s okay to fail... sometimes
In fact, with weight training, it’s actually very beneficial to fail!
When it comes to resistance training, regardless of whether it’s strength or size we want, our muscles need a reason to develop. We do this by using various methods to place stress on them. For instance, to become stronger we need to lift as much as possible and to become bigger we usually increase the number of reps.
Whatever the reason, it’s important we provide a stimulus so that we can adapt.
Feel the burn!
Everyone loves ‘the burn’. It makes us feel good and for the most part it’s usually a good way to tell if you’re working hard enough.
Shortly after the pleasant, burning feeling, comes pain. Don’t worry! If you manage to push through that, well... you’ll probably experience even more pain; this is where most people stop.
That’s fine! You’ve already caused damage (in a good way) and you’ve created stimulus for your muscle to develop, so that it will be better at performing the exercise next time; however, if you can work past this point until failure, the point where you physically can’t complete the movement, then you’ve created a much larger stimulus than before.
Mind over matter…
There’s no denying it, working until failure is tough! You must constantly remind yourself of the reason why you’re doing it; that way, your mind won’t give up before your body does.
If training to failure is so great, why not do it all the time?
Because we’re human!
Not only can it be difficult to achieve if you train alone (without a spot) but Imagine if every time you went to the gym you ‘failed’. Your motivation would decrease and you’re more likely to stop altogether.
It’s a great resource to use if your progress is slowing or has stopped completely. However, my advice would be: if you’re progressing at a reasonable rate then keep going as you are and save the failure work for when you have adapted to the current stimulus.
*A side note*
Please be careful when choosing your exercises. To reduce the chance of injury use low risk exercises like isolation ones for failure. That way, if you run out of steam, you aren’t going to cause any complications.