The Last Rep: the 10% of your workout that makes 90% of the difference
It was Arnold Schwarzenegger who first coined the concept that the last rep you do is when you make all the gains. Although scientifically speaking this isn’t 100% true, it still hits the nail on the mark. The vast majority of your gains come from really pushing your muscles to failure.
When you push a muscle to failure, it sends a message to your nervous system that you need that muscle to survive and that it’s not strong enough as it is. That’s when your body will really kick into high gear to rebuild that muscle as fast as possible.
What Exactly Does “To Failure” Mean?
Workout out till failure means you work that muscle until it physically cannot do another rep. A lot of people throw in the towel long before they’ve truly hit failure, which results in subpar gains.
Failure isn’t when you’re tired. It’s not when your muscles are screaming at you to stop. It’s not when you don’t feel like going anymore. It’s not even where you think your limit is.
It’s when you physically cannot move your muscles to do one more rep. It takes a lot of mental willpower and determination to really push a muscle to failure.
The Mental Game of Pushing Yourself
Pushing yourself to failure is largely a mental challenge. Champions learn to master their resistance and push through barriers, while others give up too early.