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05.01.2018


Just started with strength training? Training to failure isn't necessary, making enough sets is...

If young and healthy women start working out with weight for the first time in their lives, then they do not have to train to failure in the first ten weeks. Brazilian sports scientists at the University of Brasilia reported this in the European Journal of Translational Myology. It is important that these women make sufficient sets however.

Study
The researchers divided 89 young women, who had not previously trained with weights, over three groups. All groups trained their biceps twice a week for 10 weeks.

The first group made 3 sets, and trained to failure [RF].

The second group made 4 sets of 7 reps, and did not train to failure [NRFV]. Because of the extra set, the training volume in this group was equal to that of the first group.

The third group also did not train to failure, but made no more than 3 sets [NRF].

Results
The 1RM - the weight with which the women could just make 1 rep - increased in all groups. The researchers found no differences between the groups.


Just started with strength training? Training to failure isn't necessary, making enough sets is...


The muscle size of the women in the to-failure group [RF] increased more than that of the women in the not-to-failure group [RNF]. But that also applied to the muscle size of the women who trained not-to-failure, but did an extra set [RNFV].


Just started with strength training? Training to failure isn't necessary, making enough sets is...


The increase of the number of reps the women were able to make didn't differ between the groups.


Just started with strength training? Training to failure isn't necessary, making enough sets is...


Conclusion
"In summary, similar elbow flexor 1RM strength and muscle endurance improvements were observed in young women after 10 weeks of training, independent of the performance of the repetitions until failure or training volume", the Brazilians wrote.

"On the other hand, only those groups who performed a greater total volume of repetitions increased their muscle thickness. This result suggests that the subjects elbow flexor muscle hypertrophy may be optimized using a greater volume of total work, whereas muscle fatigue (i.e., repetitions until failure) does not add any additional stimulus."

"From a practical standpoint, repetitions until failure are not necessary to optimize the enhanced muscle strength and endurance induced by strength training. It seems that there is a stimulus threshold in which training with more repetitions does not provide further strength gains."

"On the other hand, within the volumes investigated, it seems that a greater volume of total work may be a necessary to achieve muscle hypertrophy in previously untrained women."

"Training until concentric failure should be further investigated, including studying their effects in longer training periods and other periodization models."

Source:
Eur J Transl Myol. 2017 Jun 27;27(2):6339.

More:
To-failure sets more effective for relatively experienced strength athletes 27.06.2015
Study: for novices strength training just as effective without doing sets to failure 22.06.2015
Just started working out? You don't need to-failure sets to achieve growth 17.10.2014

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