Does training to failure matter for muscle growth? See what scientific studies stated and the arguments of Jeff Nippard regarding “effective reps.”
Jeff Nippard is a natural professional bodybuilder and fitness coach who shares tips and training programs on his YouTube channel. In the following video, Nippard talks about effective reps and training to failure for muscle growth.
“Effective Reps, the idea that the last few reps, right before you fail, are the only reps that really matter for hypertrophy,” Nippard explains. A concept that has gained popularity over the last few years.
Does Training to Failure Matter For Muscle Growth?
Nippard believes in the concept of effective reps, that “not all reps are created equal” as explained in a scientific article by Carl Juneau.
“The closer a rep is to failure, the more effective it is at building muscle.”
One study that helped prove this theory was published in 2005 by Goto and colleagues. In it, a group of people would perform 10 reps of lat pulldowns and leg press continuously, while another group would do the same but rest 30 seconds in the middle of the set (5 reps, rest 30 seconds, another 5 reps).
The group that did 10 reps continuously got closer to failure and experienced saw 12.9% muscle growth. The other group saw a growth of only 4%.
If you do high volume sets, this theory still applies, but the most important thing is to do reps close to failure. According to the study above, “only the last five reps are maximally hypertrophic,” Nippard says.
However, other studies have suggested that training to failure makes no difference and Nippard goes into a deep analysis to compare all studies and to answer: Does training to failure matter for muscle growth?
In conclusion, Nippard suggests the following:
- High-rep training – go to failure or within 2-3 reps to failure and reserve it for single-joint exercises
- For compound exercises – stay within 1-3 reps shy of failure to prioritise safety and volume
Check out the video below to know more about his arguments and why training to failure and the concept of effective reps is key for muscle growth.