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Pre-exhaust Training


The simplest way to describe pre-exhaust training is that it is a method using isolation (also called single-joint) exercises to target a particular muscle group before moving to compound (multi-joint) movements for the same muscle. The objective of the technique is to get the target muscle fatigued as possible before subjecting it to multi-joint exercises. Take the chest for example. Before hitting your bench presses, a pre-exhaust exercise would be the flat-bench dumbbell fly or even the cable crossover or pec-deck machine.

During the flye, only the pectorals are involved in performing the movement. When the chest is fatigued, you move to the bench press, where the pecs gain assistance from the shoulders and triceps. During a typical bench press the chest gets help from the delts and the tricpes, that that assistance limits the amount of fatigue it can achieve. Since the triceps and delts are much weaker than the chest, the bench press always ends because the triceps or delts fatigue, not because of the exhaustion of the chest-muscle fibres.

For that reason the pre-exhaust method is used to break down the target musculature before adding in the help of other assisting muscle groups. In the bench press example the triceps and delts are fresh so they will not be subject to such quick fatigue (as are the already worked pectoral fibres) which further compound the exhaustion of the pecs. The ultimate goal is that once the triceps and delts are fatigued, so too is the chest. All three bodyparts involved in this exercise are completely worn out and used up. That is the basic premise of pre-exhaust.

In a normal workout you do the isolation movements at the end of your training session after the multi-joint exercises. However, reversing the scheme to target the muscle fibres in this way is a phenomenon only the pre-exhaust method can duplicate. In the normal routine, with the isolation exercises coming last, you do not know for sure if the target muscle is completely fatigued simply by using the isolation movement as your litmus test. The pre-exhaust method is a surefire way to to know the job is done because you will have completely failed and fatigued at both the compound and isolation exercises after removing the assistance muscles form the equation.

A lot of reasons why athletes tend to stay away from pre-exhaust is that it obviously limits the amount of weight you can lift on the compound exercises because you are not doing them first when your energy levels are at their highest. This can be a mental hurdle to overcome. Physically, you will probably break down the muscle better with the pre-exhaust method than ever before, despite the fact that you are using less weight on the subsequent compound exercises. Because you are going lighter on the multi-joint movements, you are actually extending the life of your elbow, shoulder, hip and knee joints.

Angles come into play during pre-exhaust training as they do in regular training. To pre-exhaust your chest before doing heavy incline bench presses, you would not use the decline flye as your pre-exhaust exercise. You would use an incline flye. You want to mimic, within reason, the angle for both exercises simply because you are recruiting the same fibres, not different ones. For chest exercises, pre-exhaust is relatively easy, but it is not so easy on other bodyparts such as back. In the end the main characteristic is fatigue of the target muscle, with exercise angles being secondary in importance.

Perfecting Pre-exhaust
Here is a brief tip sheet to get you started on using pre-exhaust, an advanced technique that can help deliver serious muscle growth.
– Try the pre-exhaust method for each bodypart for about four weeks before going back to your standard routine.
– Your rest periods between the isolation exercise and the compound movement are normal. Rest 1-2 minutes between sets. This is not a superset in which you want to rest as little as possible.
– Though you are starting with the isolation exercise you will still want to perform a few warm-up sets. When you get to your working weight, you will be able to lift slightly heavier than you normally could because you have not done any presses to fatigue the muscle. Choose a weight with which you can do 10 reps to failure. The set also serves as a warm-up for the compound exercise to follow. You may need only 1-2 warm-up sets to get ready for your working weight. Remember, the weight you are able to lift when following a pre-exhaust movement will be substantially less.
– In your pre-exhaust routine do 3-4 sets of the isolation exercise (excluding warm-ups) with the same number of sets for the compound movement that follows. After you have performed the pre-exhaust method, you can complete your routine in straight-set fashion on your favourite exercises for that muscle group. Many athletes actually repeat the method with other exercises and angles throughout the routine, but be careful not to overtrain.


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Ez-Bar Preacher Vs Incline Dumbbell Curl


Both versions of the curl work your biceps, but which is better at targeting the hoghly sought-after peak of the biceps?

EZ bar Preacher CurlEz-Bar Preacher Curl
Using various angles to gain mass and strength for major bodyparts like legs and back is critical. Too many athletes fail to extend such importance to the smaller muscle groups. The biceps, like the tricpes, grow and respond best when you train them with various exercises from a myriad of angles. The preacher curl places your arms in front of your body, allowing you to blast your biceps with incrediable isolation. The Ez-bar is slightly easier on the wrists than the straight-bar counterpart. Make sure your armpits rest comfortably atop the bench and your triceps are flush against the pad. At the top of the movement do not come up so high that your elbows rise off the bench, but keep your forearms nshort of perpendicular to the floor in the top position. Likewise, keep a slight bend at the bottom of the rep to ensure constant tension.

Incline Dumbbell CurlIncline Dumbbell Curl
Muchg like the preacher curl, the dumbbell curl done on an incline bench changes the angle of the arms to the body. You want to angle the bench at about 30-40 degrees backward for optimal pull on the biceps while not placing too much stress on the shoulder joint, especially in the start position when the dumbbells are hanging toward the floor. You do not need a ton of weight on this exercise to stimulate and innervate the relatively small biceps muscles. As opposed to the standing dumbbell curls the incline dumbbell curl eliminates much of the momentum, helping target the muscle with unrivalled accuracy. The dumbbells also allow you to determine muscular imbalances between arms, as you’re unable to do during the barbell versions of the curl. Finally, during the incline dumbbell curl you can work both arms simultaneously or alternate arms depending on your preference.

The Verdict
Although both these exercises are applauded and recommended for upper arm development, for hitting the peak the incline dumbbell curl is the clear winner. Here’s why: The peak of the biceps, or the highest point of the muscle during a double-biceps pose, is actually the long head, which is best targeted by the incline curl because of the pre-stretch that’s placed upon it at the start of the move. Conversely, the long head is under much less stress during the preacher curl when your arms in front of your torso. The preacher curl, while not superior for the peak, hits the short inner head. For that reason we recommend you utilise both exercises in your biceps routine.


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Pull-Up


Pull-upsThe pull-up targets the latissimus dorsi muscle found in the back. The illustration shows which other muscles the pull-up works on as well.

– Grasp a fixed overhead bar with a wide overhand grip.
– Hang freely from the bar with your arms fully extended and your ankles crossed behind you.
– Contract your lats to raise your chin to the bar.
– Concentrate on keeping your elbows out to your sides and pulling them down to your sides to lift yourself.
– Hold momentarily at the peak-contracted position before slowly lowering to the starting position.