Among bodyweight exercises, pushups are one of the best exercises to build and strengthen your upper body. However, when it comes to doing pushups you might want to know what’s better between doing push-ups to failure and doing moderate amounts of pushups over more sets.
Should you do pushups until failure? The short answer is if you want to get better at doing pushups, build muscle and improve your muscle strength then it’s better to do pushups until failure. You can do pushups until failure for 2-3 sets of pushups. As doing pushups to failure makes your pushup workout more intense doing pushups every day following this technique is not recommended.
In this article, you will know everything you need to know regarding pushups to failure. You will read what the technique pushups until failure means, its pros & cons, the best way to incorporate it into your workout routine, how it leaves an impact on muscle growth and some advanced methods of combining drop sets with pushups to failure.
So, without further ado, let’s begin.
What do push-ups to failure mean & things you should know about this technique
Doing push-ups to failure means performing pushups till that point after which muscles that are engaged while doing pushups can’t provide you with enough power to complete another reputation of pushups with proper form.
When you train to failure you experience muscle failure, in simple terms, you push your body to the maximum capacity after which your body won’t able to do any more pushups unless someone assists you or you take some rest.
To better understand the meaning of pushups until failure – let’s say you can do 20 pushups and after 20 pushups you can’t do any more pushups by yourself. So, here the highest number of pushups you could do is 20. But in reality, after doing 15 pushups you will find out that your next pushup reps are becoming harder and harder. So, on different days you might stop after doing 17 – 18 pushups even if you experience muscle failure at 20 pushups.
It’s because your state of mind can impact deciding how many pushups you can do.
In my experience when in your mind you feel you can’t do any more pushups and you also feel your body is struggling to complete another pushup you can do 2-5 more pushups.
The point here is if you could do another rep then you haven’t reached the point of muscle failure.
Related: Is doing 50 pushups a day good?
Push-ups to failure – Pros & Cons
To help you decide whether you should consider doing pushups until failure here are some benefits of this technique and some cons.
Benefits of doing pushups until failure
One of the main benefits of doing pushups until failure is it can help you to increase your muscle strength and muscle mass faster. So, if you want to grow your chest, biceps and shoulder size then this method can help you achieve your fitness goals.
The second benefit of this technique is it can help you avoid experiencing workout plateau. It’s because when you do pushups until failure you push your body to do the highest repetition of push-up you can do. Thus making your pushup workouts always challenging for your body.
To maintain a toned look you don’t need to do pushups everyday. To maintain a toned look, you can aim to do pushups until failure 4-5 days a week.
Cons of doing pushups to failure
Following the pushups to failure technique puts a good amount of strain on the muscle during the workout. Thus you can’t do pushups everyday if you follow this technique. And if you do then it can increase the chances of overtraining. Following this technique increases the intensity of your pushup workout thus you need rest days in between.
In this technique, one should stop doing pushups when they know that they can’t do any more repetitions of pushups with the right form. If someone tries to do pushups with the wrong form then they are not following the method principles correctly. One of the cons of doing pushups to failure is some people can try to do some of their last repetitions of pushups with the incorrect form.
If your body is not completely healed from the previous workout even in some instances you might do fewer pushups. However, this could happen for some of the days and on other days you will be able to do more pushups and over time you will break your old records of highest pushups.
Is it good to do push-ups till failure?
Pushups till failure are good for training your upper body and are good unless you want to do pushups everyday as a part of your daily circuit training.
Doing push-ups until failure means doing the maximum reps of pushups until your muscles are too tired to complete another full push-up, this method is suitable to maximize muscle growth and strength.
The technique of pushups till failure works on the principle of muscle hypertrophy, which involves increasing the size of muscle cells and is a primary method of building lean muscle.
When you train until failure the intensity of your pushup workout session gets increased and does require some basic body strength and stamina. Beginners should try to do pushups till failure but stop when they can’t maintain proper pushup form. If you could do 10-15 pushups in one go there will be no problem to train to failure if you follow the best practices.
If you want to keep this in mind, you should give your body adequate amounts of recovery time after a pushup workout. This also means when you are doing pushups till failure you should not do pushups everyday.
Related: Do you need rest days for pushups?
Is it better to do push ups to failure or in sets?
Whether it’s better to do push-ups to failure or in sets really depends on your fitness goals and current strength levels. If you want to do more pushups or want to be able to do a certain number of pushups in a day then it’s better to do pushups in sets.
Doing pushups in sets can increase the total number of push-ups you can do.
Pushups to failure are good for building your upper body and improving your body strength.
However, if you are in the intermediate and at the advanced level then you can do 2-3 sets of pushups and in those sets do pushups to failure.
Related: Morning pushup workout routine.
Is 1 set of pushups to failure enough?
Doing 1 sets of pushups to failure in a day is not enough to get substantial improvement. However for a beginner 1 set of pushups to failure then 1-2 additional sets of 5-8 pushups can be enough to get better at doing pushups and improve their body strength over time.
Is 2 sets to failure enough?
2 sets of pushups to failure is considered somewhat in the middle. It’s not too difficult or intense.
Doing two sets of pushups to failure can be enough for someone at the intermediate level.
For beginners and intermediate level, it’s best to do 2 sets of pushups to failure then do additional sets and try to 6-10 reps of pushups.
For the advanced level 3 sets of pushups to failure are recommended to get better results and additional sets should be done without trying to do pushups until failure.
Is 4 sets of pushups to failure too much?
4 sets of pushups to failure is considered intense but not too much. Anything over 4 sets of pushups to failure is considered too much and should be avoided in a pushup workout session.
It’s only recommended to do 4 sets of pushups to failure if you are at the advanced level or could do 35-50 pushups in one go.
The best way to do pushups to failure for an intense workout session
The best way to do pushups to failure for an intense workout session is you need to do your first 2-3 sets of pushups to failure. Then if you want to do additional pushup sets then try to do 3-5 less pushups than the maximum number of pushups you did in your previous set.
For beginners, it’s good to do 1-2 sets of pushups to failure.
For intermediate level 2 set of push-ups to failure and 1-2 additional pushup sets.
And for the advanced level 3-4 set of push-ups to failure and 1-2 additional pushup sets.
How often should I do pushups to failure?
When you do pushups to failure the intensity of your pushup workout increases so it’s not recommended to do pushups to failure every day.
If you are doing pushups to failure here’s the recommended number of days you should do pushups as per your fitness levels.
- Beginners – 4-5 days.
- Intermediate level – 4 days.
- Advanced level – 3-4 days.
Is doing pushups to failure good to build muscle?
Pushing your muscles to their limit by doing pushups to failure is an effective way to build muscle mass and strengthen the upper body.
So, yes doing pushups to failure is good for building muscle.
However, as you know your workout can help you build muscle but your diet also plays an important role in getting the best muscle-building results.
If you want to build muscle doing pushups eat adequate amounts of protein in your meals.
Related: How long does it take to build noticeable muscle?
Advanced stuff: Combining pushups until failure and pushup drop sets to build muscle mass and strength faster
If you are at the advanced level then doing pushups like this will help you build your body faster and get impressive results.
In this training method you will be doing pushups until failure and when you can’t do any more pushups you need to simply lower your body and rest on the ground for 8-10 seconds then again do pushups to failure.
The method of resting for a short duration after doing an exercise for failure and doing some reps of that exercise again is called drop sets. It can drastically increase the intensity of your workout and increase the muscle pump.
You can do 2-3 drop sets in a pushup workout session as an advanced-level exerciser.
If you are doing this then you should do pushups 2-3 days a week or do pushups every other day.
Push-ups to failure is a workout technique where you perform push-ups until you can no longer maintain proper form due to muscle fatigue. This method is very effective for building muscle strength and mass, and it helps to prevent workout plateaus. However, it can strain muscles and requires adequate rest days to avoid overtraining.
The number of sets and frequency of push-ups to failure depends on your fitness level. If you’re a beginner, you should start with 1-2 sets and perform 4-5 days a week. For the intermediate level, 2 sets and 4 days a week are recommended to avoid the chances of workout injury. Advanced individuals should do 3-4 sets and perform 3-4 days a week.
For advanced exercisers, combining push-ups to failure with drop sets can further enhance muscle development. It’s important to note that a balanced diet with adequate protein is essential for optimal muscle growth.
See more posts here about tips and pushup workout routines.