You have to train damn near to failure to get results. When I lift weights, I lift until I achieve technical failure. That means I couldn’t do another repetition through full range of motion.
So in the case of this pulldown, I end my set when I know I’m not capable of pulling my elbows to be in line with my spine. To further substantiate this recent research, cited below, indicates you must be at least 3 repetitions away from failure to optimally build muscle.
The hardest part of training is setting time aside and actually getting to the gym, so once you are there don’t leave anything on the table. Push yourself safely and intelligently to near failure.
Source: Nóbrega, Sanmy R et al. “Effect of Resistance Training to Muscle Failure vs. Volitional Interruption at High- and Low-Intensities on Muscle Mass and Strength.” Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research, January 2018
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