Pre-exhaustion supersets

Exempel på supersets enligt principen pre-exhaustion.

Who doesn’t have a specific muscle always lacking behind. Some part of the body that just doesn’t seem to develop as it should be, in size or strength. One method to kickstart that particular part of your body is to use a less complex or single-joint exercise to activate the lazy bugger before doing a multi-joint exercise.

Normally we’re recommended to do complex full body or multi-joint exercises before simplier, more isolated, single-joint exercises. Sometimes, it can be beneficial to do the opposite, a training method called pre-exhaustion. The idea is simple. You use a light exercise to pump up the lacking muscle, or body part, before doing a more complex heavy multi-joint exercise. For example, you can do leg curls before dead lift to target the hamstrings, or you can do tate-press before benchpress to target the triceps.

The trick is not to exhaust the targeted muscle too much, just pump it up enough to be ready for the big lift. You can look at it as a more robust pre-activation if you like, not to be confused with a simple warm-up.

If you do it right, you should feel the pre-pumped muscle work hard during the big lift. It might force you to take it a bit easy on the big lift, at least temporalily. Try it, and see the magic work.

This method was apparantly popularized in the 70s by Arthur Jones, the founder of Nautilus, among others. I learned it by reading Charles Poliquin and Christian Thibaudeau.