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I find that during weight training, I can send efferent signals, or bursts of energy, to "inch forward" repeatedly during my final, overloaded rep. This gives an increased duration of time and range of motion in the final rep.

(I keep breathing the whole time, to maintain an adequate oxygen supply.)

Is there a name for this "inching forward" overload strategy? How does its effectiveness compare to other lifting strategies?

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    Do you mean that you're failing your rep, but you push a little harder to break through the sticking point to complete it?
    – DeeV
    Jun 26 at 17:39
  • @DeeV I may or may not be able to complete the rep, but either way I count it as the final ('failed') rep.
    – Scott Hoge
    Jun 28 at 18:05
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Is there a name for this "inching forward" overload strategy?

I have never heard of a name for it, and my googlefu isn't proving useful either. I would have just called it a 'struggle rep', but it almost sounds like you are using small bursts of energy to get past a sticking point so I don't know if that name fits. Something I should mention is that I am assuming that you are keeping proper form the entire time.

How does its effectiveness compare to other lifting strategies?

The current literature points towards volume being the most important factor in hypertrophy. So how can we do this effectively? Should you be training that close to failure?

  • A study done in 2006 compared athletes training to failure vs athletes that trained near failure. Training to failure drastically increased resting levels of cortisol and suppressed growth factors such as IGF-1, which indicates that training to absolute failure is likely hindering hypertrophy.
  • A study done in 2012 found that training to failure ramped up levels of Adenosine Monophosphate (AMP). This is a sign that the cell is drained of energy meaning more time is required between sets to properly recover.
  • A 2020 study showed the final 2 reps to failure are disproportionately fatiguing meaning you are likely going to have less total reps during your workout.

Putting this all together:

Your technique of "inching forward" is likely counterproductive if it is not your last set. If it is your last set for an exercise, it is likely beneficial to get that last bit of volume even if you fail to get the weight up.

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  • Yes, bursts of energy is what I meant -- I've edited my question to make that part clearer.
    – Scott Hoge
    Jul 1 at 14:00

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