Glycolytic training or HIIT training has become the dominant front runner in training styles in most gyms across the world these days. From Crossfit to Orange Theory, for most gyms everywhere the name of the game is to burn as many calories as possible while taking the body to failure! The question is should athletes and non athletes be training like this? If the end goal is building better strength and having a positive effect on health then I say no!
The first 1,000-pound squatter, Dr. Fred Hatfield, famously proclaimed that one ought to “train to success,” as opposed to failure.
Here is WHY!
When it comes to strength, we learned from the old school Russians that our focus should be on building aerobic power houses. These are the mitochondria in our muscle cells that produce the energy currency of the cell, ATP. The problem is, with HIIT training you take the “BURN” too far, and as a consequence destroy the mitochondria which is what you were trying to increase in the first place. Only by pushing our fibers into light acidity and then pulling back and allowing adequate recovery can we increase our mitochondrial density.
Rules to implement this into your training:
– 40-60% of max reps on auxiliary lifts typically done for higher reps like pushups, dips, pullups, double unders
– Stop short of feeling any type of burn
– 45 sec-1 min rest between sets
Here is an example of Training to Failure vs Smarter Training (SUBMAX POWER ENDURANCE) Doing 3 Sets of Body Weight Dips
Set 1– 12 reps going to failure, with the last 2 reps being suspect
Set 2– 8 reps, once again with 3 of the reps being suspect
Set 3- 6 reps, once again with 2 reps being suspect
Set 4– final set so you grind out 4 reps, 1 decent, 1 suspect, and two you would never post on Instagram
Result- 20 good reps, 8 suspect reps, 2 that really don’t count = 20 Clean reps, 10 iffy (or shitty excuse my language but lets just be real).
Set 1– 8 solid reps and stop prior to feeling any kind of burn
Set 2– once again 7 solid reps stopping before any burn was felt because you felt fresh prior to even starting the set
Set 3- 6 solid reps
Set 4– with it being your last set but knowing your not supposed to stop short of feeling a burn you crank out a solid 7, and stop when you feel the triceps starting to talk to you.
Result- 28 Solid reps, quality was not sacrificed on any of the reps
You do the math. The proof is in the pudding. 28 solid reps and still being fresh or half that with some seriously questionable reps and you’re already spent. Too often we take ourselves to failure early in our workout and in a matter of a few sets we’re running at 80% of the capacity we started at only to drop off more as the workout goes on. Is training to failure your friend if you’re looking to build strength? HELL NO!!!!! Most athletes tend to rate a workout successful if they want to fall over and make sweat angels on the floor when they’re done. The better option would be bringing one or two days a week into your training schedule only lifting 50% of your max reps on a lot of your high rep exercises and never going to failure. This is going to help you build a more efficient powerhouse and have a direct impact on your strength. These are some of the strategies that we use with our athletes at Premier Fitness Systems that have allowed some of our athletes to take their games to the next level.