Train to Win, Eat to Lose

A Health and Fitness Blog

Failure: The Pathway to Success

“Failure”.

This one little word has a such negative connotation attached to it, yet in the world of strength training it’s meaning is quite positive and powerful. In my day to day work as a personal trainer it is not uncommon to hear a client say that they “don’t like to fail”. The idea that they can no longer continue an exercise due to muscular exhaustion is something that discourages them and leaves them feeling quite negative.

In regard to strength training it is important to desensitize yourself from what you have come to generally think of the word “failure” to represent, and think of it as what it actually is…a pathway to success. C.S. Lewis has a great quote: “Failures are finger posts on the road to achievement”. I am pretty sure he didn’t specifically have strength training in mind when he said this, but I think it applies beautifully.

In strength training you must safely and effectively load the muscles through a pain free range of motion to the point of muscular exhaustion, i.e., the inability to move the weight even another inch with safe and proper form (I will leave the topic of the time frame/number of repetitions that this needs to happen in for another discussion). The goal is to always try for one more repetition (again, with safe and proper form) even if you do not think you can. If you complete that repetition you MUST try again, always working for even just one more inch. This is how you send the signal to your body to make those muscle fibers stronger and to start building additional muscle fibers. If you were to approach strength training with idea that success would be to not fail, that you should always be able to continue for extended periods of time, you would never illicit the response you need from your body to achieve all the wonderful benefits of strength training.

So remember, in strength training failure is by no means a sign of weakness. It is in fact a sign of strength, and of more strength to come.

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December 15, 2009 - Posted by | Strength Training | , , , ,

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