Respected hypertrophy and strength researcher Chris Beardsley has a thought-provoking insight on training to failure…
When doing reps to failure…the number of recruited motor units increases over the course of the set, reaching its maximum level when we reach our maximum tolerable perceived effort. However, since both negative feedback from the body as well as the corollary discharge contribute to the perception of effort, the number of recruited motor units at muscular failure can vary widely.
So a trainee with a low pain tolerance may not be activating as many fast-twitch fibers at the end of a set to failure as someone with a high pain tolerance who can grind out a few more tough reps.
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Former Editor in Chief, Iron Man Magazine
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