Bodybuilding & Muscle Failure

Bodybuilding & Muscle Failure

In this lesson you will learn what's momentary muscle failure and how to reach this point of exhaustion. When we talk about muscle failure, we usually mean concentric muscle failure. That's when you fail at the attempt to complete the positive part of your last repetition. While reaching the point of momentary muscle failure can be good for muscle growth, there is little evidence that this actually increases strength. Find more training methods and exercises at weight training main. In this example you will learn how to reach the point of concentric muscle failure with the standing barbell biceps curl.


  • First of all, you have to set a goal. In this example our goal is to reach muscle failure around the 7th repetition. In order to do so, you have to use a enough weight so that you can do 6 repetitions, but not 7. If your barbell is too heavy, you will either reach muscle failure too early or create momentum in order to do 6 regular repetitions. I recommend you keep a training log, so that you can always know how much weight you can lift and how many repetitions you can do.
  • When you reach muscle failure, it's very important that you remain proper form. Don't lean back, don't create momentum. "TRY" to complete the 7th repetition and don't press air. Exhale slowly and don't lower your barbell before all the air is out of your lungs. This last attempt should take you around 5 seconds. Then rest a few minutes and do another set. If you are able to complete the 7th repetition, keep going until you reach muscle failure or stop, add more weight and start over.


  • Don't create momentum.
  • Never press air.
  • Don't go to muscle failure in every set.
  • Learn about HIT - High Intensity Training.
  • Be aware of the risk of over-training. The more intensive your workout, the more rest you need.