When to stop a set?
It is important to know that training too easy will not produce muscle growth as it gives the muscle no reason to grow and training too hard will destroy muscle mass . This happens because the body secretes cortisol under the heavy stress and it will break down muscle tissue.
Cortisol is a catabolic hormone opposite of testosterone. Too much cortisol will also inhibit testosterone and all of the benefits testosterone brings.
We must also learn to balance training with recovery. We must train in such a way that we allow the muscle fibers to heal and grow from training to training. If we train harder than we can recover results will stop appearing or worse we will lose the muscle mass we already gained.
Here i will describe 3 easy ways to know when to stop a set depending on your objective:
Types of failure The moment you should stop a set is by reaching any of these 3 :
  • a change in tempo
  • a change in technique
  • threshold of lactic tolerance
You should always train to failure in a set in order to see results ,but there are different types of failures.
  • An active tempo is important for athletes that train for power, speed . The moment in the set you can’t maintain an explosive tempo then you should stop as there is no reason to keep doing slow reps as you no longer train for power. If you continue doing slow repetitions you change the objective to muscle growth and endurance.

  • Trying to train to failure in the lactic threshold is obtained while maintaining a constant tempo and good technique. While training for endurance we must choose resistances  that don’t cause us to change our tempo or our technique. This type of set must continued untill we can no longer support the muscle burn.

  • If you occur a change in technique should stop the set as you reached failure . The rest of the reps are not good reps and other muscles are compensating for the tired muscles. But if you are training for muscle mass this type of failure is relative. According to Joe Weider and the : ‘The Forced Reps Principle’ you can add at the end of the set a few cheated repetitions to bring the muscle to failure. Be careful while applying this principle as you can get hurt. This principle should be reserved for those who have some experience with weight training.

You need to set your goal and understand what you are training for in order to know when to stop in order to promote muscle growth or increase your speed or endurance!

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Categories: Exercises


Daniel H.

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