“It’s the last rep you do is when you make all the gains,” according to  Arnold Schwarzenegger. This isn’t 100% accurate, according to science but it still is on point. The vast majority of your gains come from really pushing your muscles to failure.

Pushing yourself to failure tells your body that you need more muscle and strength to survive. That’s when your body will really kick into high gear to rebuild that muscle as fast as possible.

What does it mean to train until Failure?

Training until failure means that your cannot perform another rep of the exercise you are using. But most people cannot make it to complete muscle failure.  It is painful and very taxing on your system. This causes subpar gains in muscle and strength.

Failure isn’t when you’re tired. It’s not when your muscles are screaming at you to stop. It’s not when you don’t feel like going anymore. It’s not even where you think your limit is. It’s when you physically cannot move your muscles to do one more rep. It takes a lot of mental willpower and determination to really push a muscle to failure.

Pushing Yourself; The mental Game.

Pushing yourself to failure is largely a mental challenge. Champions learn to master their resistance and push through barriers, while others give up too early.

So how do you master the art of pushing yourself further?

The first step is to focus on your sense of power. This sense of power should build as you continue to lift. A lot of people find that they tap into a primal, raw sense of power as they work out. Focus on this and use it to propel your workout forward.

You can also use an external goal to help you sustain motivation. For example, if your goal is six pack abs, you can picture those six packs as you’re nearing the end of your set. As things get really tough, visualize your goal to help take you to the finish line.

Useful Tips to Help

Here are a couple techniques that can really help you push your muscles to failure.

First, you can extend the length of the last rep. Just as you think you can’t go any further, extend that rep to 30 seconds. Instead of doing a pull-up in 3 seconds, do it in 30. This will really push your muscles to the limit.

Second, track your workouts. Write down exactly how many reps and sets you do of each exercise. Then the next time you get ready to work out, try to beat the amount of reps you did last time. If you push yourself to failure each time and try to beat your previous record each time, you’ll naturally be pushing your body harder and harder with every workout.

Push yourself to the last rep. That’s the 10% that makes 90% of the difference.


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