Meta study | To failure strength training equivalent to non-failure strength training
The day before yesterday, we wrote for the umpteenth time about a study that showed that strength training is just as effective if you don't squeeze all the reps out of your sets that are in it. It is hardly surprising that a meta-study has now come to the conclusion that to failure strength training is just as effective as non-failure strength training.


Jozo Grgic, a movement scientist from Victoria University Melbourne, collected 15 previously published trials in which researchers compared the effect of strength training with sets to failure with that of non-failure strength training. Grgic aggregated the results of these studies and re-analyzed them.Results
For both the increase in strength [first figure below] and the build-up of muscle mass [second figure] it did not matter whether the subjects trained to failure or not.

Click on the figures below for larger versions.

Not clear yet
The subjects in the studies were usually relatively young and had only a few years of training experience. Grgic therefore advocates studies with older subjects and subjects with several years of training experience. It could just be that strength athletes with ten to fifteen years of training experience respond better to to failure strength training.

Grgic is also not exactly sure about strength training with light loads - for example with 30 percent of the maximum weight. One study suggests that in that case to failure strength training is more effective than non failure strength training, the other study suggests that both training types are equally effective.
J Sport Health Sci. 2021 Jan 23;S2095-2546(21)00007-7.