Bodybuilding veteran Rich Gaspari is back to discuss the fundamental aspects of muscle building, training, and recovery. In a recent Instagram reel, Gaspari shared insights from his extensive career, highlighting the importance of pushing oneself to failure during training sessions.
As a Men’s Open Pro, Rich Gaspari made a name for himself with a tireless work ethic, which resulted in a shredded and dry physique. His training practices were proven under pressure as he became the first Arnold Classic champion in 1989. Gaspari was also made famous for pioneering striated glutes in competition.
In retirement, Gaspari’s understanding of training mechanics is unrivaled, and he remains a coach to other athletes in his spare time. In his latest venture, he explains why training with high intensity and going to complete failure is beneficial for muscle growth, citing advanced methods like supersets, pre-exhaustion, drop sets, and forced reps.
Rich Gaspari: “If You Really Want to Grow, You Have to Train a Muscle to Failure”
When hypertrophy is on the table, Gaspari believes breaking down a muscle to “complete failure” is a necessity.
“People have asked me what is the best method in building muscle? The point is you have to train a muscle to complete failure to get a muscle to break down,
But to get a muscle to build it’s during the recovery ane rest that your muscles will grow.”
While intense training is a top priority for Gaspari, he emphasizes without enough recovery the body won’t respond properly.
“So if you train to failure using advanced methods like supersets, pre exhaustion, drop sets, forced reps, etc.. you also need to make sure you have enough recovery because muscle grows during rest not when you are training to failure. So my advice is when you train a muscle to high intensity and to complete failure the following week train moderately more for the pump where it’s more to get blood in the muscle and it gives you muscles more time to recover from the intense week of training.”
“So when training a muscle with high intensity and to complete failure you can only do this twice a month and not every week. The moderate training the followibg week after a high intensity week will let you recover and build your muscle.”
“If you really want to grow, you have to train a muscle to failure. Now also when you train a muscle to failure, you need to also recover. This is very important, so if you train to failure every week, you will burn and not get your muscles to grow. My point is that if you really want to train a muscle, to get it to grow, whether you’re using drop sets, descending sets, negatives, lifting with forced reps.
The point is when you train that muscle with all the advanced systems of training with forced reps, supersets, drop sets, and you train that muscle to failure, the following week, you want to make sure you train a muscle more moderately.
And the reason why, is that for a muscle to grow it’s not while you’re training it’s when you’re resting and recovering. A lot of people don’t know, I see people training six days a week and they aren’t making gains, The best system is to working out four days, a maximum of five days, when you’re training every day you don’t give your body enough time to recover,” states Rich Gaspari in his caption.
Gaspari isn’t the only decorated bodybuilding veteran who relied on going-to-failure training principles. Former six-time Mr. Olympia Dorian Yates practiced these methods, taking knowledge from Mike Mentzer and Arthur Jones, as well as a few teachings from golden-era bodybuilder Tom Platz.
Whether it’s early morning workouts or his top shoulder exercises, Gaspari continues to provide valuable insight into bodybuilding. As for maximizing muscle growth, he believes a finite balance of intense training and recovery is the winning ticket.
“Training breaks down muscle, so for it to build you need to recover to then build the muscle bigger,” Gaspari shares.