Does Pre-Exhausting Small Muscles Work?
|by Jack A. Medina, M.A.
and Roy E. Vartabedian, Dr.P.H.
|September 29, 2008
In this issue:
- Does Pre-Exhausting Small Muscle Groups
Before Working Large Muscle Groups Work?
- Announcing New Book Release from Jack
Medina, M.A. and Roy Vartabedian,
Bodybuilders often talk about how they like
to "pre-exhaust" certain muscle groups when
they train, and as a result there will be
greater gains in size, strength, and power.
Is this theory true?
Details Behind the Theory
The theory behind pre-exhausting small muscle
groups first (before large groups) in
training is based upon the assumption that
most multi-joint exercises
(bench presses, chin-ups, etc.) have "weak
links." These weak links are small muscle
groups (triceps in a bench press, biceps in a
Theoretically, when you fail on one of these
exercises, you fail because the weak link is
failing. By pre-exhausting the major muscle
groups (pecs in a bench press, lats in a
chin) with an isolation exercise, you would,
in theory, be putting the big and small
muscle groups on a level so they would
receive more equal stimulation.
Research on Muscle Pre-Exhaustion
Brazilian researchers compared the effects of
pre-exhaustion to priority training (doing
your multi-joint exercise first in a training
session) on upper-body muscle activation and
exercise performance (Gentile, P., et al.
"Effects of exercise order on upper-body
muscle activation and exercise performance,
Journal of Strength and Conditioning
Research 21: 1082-1086, 2007).
The results of this study question the whole
concept of pre-exhaustion and conclude that
is wrong. Pre-exhaustion doesn't work because
it is based on a flawed concept of how muscle
fibers are recruited. With pre-exhaustion,
you assume that, as a muscle gets tired, more
fibers are recruited until it fails (until
you cannot lift the weight anymore).
However, most research shows when you are
using heavy weights, most muscle fibers are
right from the beginning of an exercise. So
there is no need to pre-exhaust your pecs
before a bench press. If you are using heavy
weight, your pecs will be using all the
muscle fibers they can to move that weight.
The Bottom Line
This study also showed that, to get the most
out of an exercise, you should do it first in
the training session. Subjects in this study
performed best on the bench press when they
did that exercise first.
Reference: Journal of Pure Power,
Volume III, Number 2, June, 2008.
New Release! SuperCharge for the Winning Edge
The fourth book in the The Winning Edge
series by Jack Medina, M.A. and Roy
Vartabedian, Dr.P.H. will be released at the
NSA Leadership Conference in Memphis,
Tennessee on October 22nd, 2008.
The new book SuperCharge for the
Winning Edge is a compilation of 29
of importance on nutrition and fitness for
athletes, coaches, those with an active
lifestyle, and those beginning a new exercise
The following are some of the topics covered:
* Finding Professional Ethics and
Personal Integrity in the Supplement Industry
* What You Don't Know About Supplements
Could Hurt You
* In the Pill or in the Mind?
* Supplements, Hype, Claims, and Facts
* Banned Substances Found in Creatine
- I Told You So!
* The Final Answer on
* Liquid Micronutrient
* The Scoop on
* Herbs and Athletic
* Hoodia: Does It Work?
* Skip the Antlers and
Save a Buck!
Does It Work?
* Soccer: Creatine,
* Can an Athlete Drink
Too Much Water?
* Recharging Your
* Fueling the Body for
Peak Performance and
* Fast Facts on Nutrients
* What You Should
Know About Fats
* What Is Oxidative Stress,
and Why Should I Care?
* What Value is the
* Five Dietary Red
Flags to Avoid
* Five Ways to Stop
* Are You Eating Enough
* Kids' Carbohydrate Needs
* Nutripoints for Kids
* Training Children for
See You at the Conference!
For those of you attending the October 22-25,
2008 NSA Leadership Conference, please stop
by our Nutripoints/Winning Edge booth in the
Exhibit Hall. The new book will be available
there as well as all of our other Nutripoints
and Winning Edge publications.
Volume discounts will be available so you can
pass along a copy to others you would like to
help learn about fitness, nutrition, and the
best whole-food supplements available today.
Stop by our booth--we are looking forward to
seeing you there!
For those not attending the Conference,
SuperCharge will be available
on our website after the meetings.
See you next month for another edition!
Yours for fitness and health,
Jack A. Medina, M.A.
Roy E. Vartabedian, Dr.P.H.
Designs for Fitness & Wellness
541-474-2454 or Toll-Free Order Line: 1-866-204-8786