Zane Watson: How To Properly Train To Failure In Bodybuilding

Zane Watson answers: Is training to failure necessary for bodybuilding success?

In bodybuilding, training to failure is a tactic that requires a lifter to lift reps until they can no longer put up weight. Rather than hit a specific number of reps, the reps continue until the body part can’t physically perform no matter how hard you try. But how necessary is this tactic to succeed as a pro bodybuilder? In our latest GI Exclusive, Zane Watson discusses the misconceptions about training to failure and how to perform the tactic properly.

When discussing bodybuilding tips and workout guides, aspiring bodybuilders always want to know the trick to optimize training. How many sets? How many reps per set? Should you do high weight and low volume or lower weight with higher volume. There are arguments on all sides of these different questions. Ultimately, this is all window dressing. What is most important is that you exhaust your muscle and hit all the right areas of the muscle for full growth.

This is easier said than done and the reason so many different strategies exist. They are an effort to get the lifter to full exhaust their muscles, hit all the right spots, and commit to full range of motion. For Zane Watson, his training tactics were inspired by Dorian Yates and then later by Ben Pakulski. This made him favor training until failure during his training sessions.

But is training to failure necessary? In Zane Watson’s humble opinion, he believes it is a key part towards bodybuilding success. There are arguments that feeling sore after a workout isn’t required for building muscle. Watson respectfully disagrees. He thinks that for full growth in a way that bodybuilders are seeking – feeling sore is key to knowing you push your muscles deep.


Training to failure guarantees a workout that will make you feel sore afterwards. It’s a tactic he favors. Of course, there is a difference between physically training to failure and mentally training to failure. Some bodybuilders, especially those new to training, mentally block themselves of how far they actually push while their muscles are under pressure. This is the same reason why blindly following a certain set/rep structure can fail.

Part of the skill behind being a successful bodybuilder is knowing your body’s true limits. Knowing when you are truly exhausting your muscle vs just mentally unable to handle the stress and pain of moving past that wall. For Zane Watson, training to true failure rather than focusing on reps is a helpful way to push to the next level. It’s his biggest tip for bodybuilders to push past plateaus.

You can watch Zane Watson talk in more detail about training to failure, his bodybuilding inspirations, more in our latest GI Exclusive interview above!

Derek Dufour has been managing all digital operations on the Generation Iron Network for over six years. He currently manages a team of editors, writers, and designers to provide up-to-date content across the GI Network.