Food for Thought: Are You Pushing To Failure or Playing It Safe?

The following is a message from Mentality WOD that I think all UBers need to read!


When was the last time you pushed to failure in a workout…on purpose? Meaning, you actually let your body decide when it can’t do it anymore, instead of your mind. If you’re always “playing it safe,” you’re never going to know what your true limits are, or where your redline actually is.

Of course, your limit will be different each day depending on how you’re feeling, your motivation and the environment. But, the more you practice going to failure in your training, the better you’ll be at monitoring your intensity and therefore the better you’ll be at strategizing for competition.

  • If you normally “play it safe” and break your reps down into manageable sets, you’ll never know if you could’ve gone unbroken or moved even quicker.
  • If you’re always trying to pull back right before you redline, you’ll never know if you actually would have redlined.

The only way to know, is to get to the place where your body actually can’t do it any more and you actually get to failure or can’t complete a rep. Remember, not every workout calls for this type of “redlining” or intensity, but you can practice this when it makes sense in particular workouts.

Bottom Line: If your goal is just to improve your fitness and stay healthy, this isn’t necessarily important to practice. If your goal is to compete with the best, then you better be willing to shut your mind off and let your body decide when it’s done. Practice going to failure on purpose (safely) in your training and you’ll be more comfortable going there when it matters the most.