Fail, then Succeed

by: Tyler Quinn

When I designed the workout we’ve come to know as “Failure Friday” it was with the sole objective of helping people understand what their limits were. The workout’s name is a misnomer, however, because having limits, and reaching limits isn’t indicative of failure in the slightest. In fact, the average person will find it very difficult to reach their true limit. Reaching a true personal limit is – oh the irony! – a total success.

I don’t know who’s reading this post. I don’t know what your limits are. I just know you have them. More importantly, based on experience, I don’t think YOU know what your limits are because most people don’t. So we’re going to test them, and then we’ll test them again under fatigue. And from there, your sense of yourself will develop.

If you think you can only do five pull-ups but manage to pull off a staggering set of thirteen (yes, this is the kind of personal miscalculation that happens all the time), how will that impact the way you look at and attack workouts with pull-ups in the future? Will it give you the confidence to take a few more risks, attempt bigger sets, stay on the bar for the last ten seconds? I should hope so. And what’s more, that confidence which leads to that extra effort and work will inevitably lead to extra fitness.

To maximize the results and get the most out of the workout, not only do you need to push your limit, but you need to rest, rest, rest, rest, rest, rest, rest between sets! I repeat, you need to rest between sets. I say again, do not transition into the next set immediately upon finishing the set you’re on. This will skew your results.

Failure Friday really doesn’t have anything to do with failing at all. It’s about going all the way to the end of the road and falling off the bar without a single rep left in the tank. It’s about identifying what real fatigue and red-zone type effort feels like. It’s about educating yourself  about yourself – so as to make yourself a better, more self-aware athlete.

Fail! And then, succeed.

Tyler Quinn is a Coach and founder of Alchemy and Union Fitness. He’s also the mastermind behind all Alchemy programming. In his spare he enjoys reading, gun-slinging, jiu-jitsu, and playing with his new Golden Retriever puppy, Fletcher.