by Derek Beech

Much has been written in the world of bodybuilding and strength training about the value of your last rep. You know, the idea being that as your reps per set continue, the muscle being worked will have to exert itself to momentary failure in order to trigger the adaptive response within your body’s central nervous system (CNS) which causes muscle growth.
Have you ever reached a momentary failure in your life, which then caused you to adapt and grow spiritually?
The concept is a valid one, use a spotter on your heavy sets and don’t place those weights on the floor any earlier than you absolutely have too.
You see, our bodies are inherently lazy vessels, which would rather save energy than grow new muscle cells. So unless we have sent our CNS the crystal clear message that we require more strength new muscle growth just will not happen.
Today in the gym I saw an individual put 185 lbs on a barbell and do six to eight Bench Press repetitions without much difficulty, then pausing for a second, he did two more but before his chest reached that point of momentary muscle failure he decided to play it safe and quit early. More than likely to avoid having the bar drop on his chest where he would not be able to get it off. This of course was understandable, but in reality a complete waste of his training time, if he had been using a power rack or had asked one of the many trustworthy spotters which were around he would more than likely have genuinely strained to get that last ounce out of himself and in doing so stimulated new muscle growth.
What can you do I thought, in the past this man had approached me regarding his lack of progress in the gym. I gave him some advice and instead of following it he chose to ignore everything I said and continue training the same way he had always trained. Today his physique looks the same as it did 10 years earlier.
The fact of the matter is that unless you are able to push yourself above and beyond what your body say’s it wants to do, you are never going to be able to develop that rock hard physique you’ve always been looking for.
If you decide to spend the cooler months pushing your muscles to momentary failure, your body will be ready later when it is warm - when it’s finally time to fit into those new short’s and tank top you’ve been waiting to wear.

Derek Beech holds an Associates Degree in Health & Nutrition and has authored a number of books related to this very same subject. Currently, he owns a number of small businesses and is working as a personal trainer in Campbell River, BC. Along with his wife he has competed in numerous bodybuilding competitions however, having placed first at the Northern Canadian Bodybuilding Championships earlier this year, he has now decided to take a couple of years off from the competitive scene in order to spend more time with his children, Chris (18) and Kaila (11). If you are interested in learning more about the books he has written or personal training, you may contact him at or

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