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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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The Basics


Don’t persist with exercises, routines or methods that do not help you. If your training has not yielded any progress over the last two months, it is unlikely top yield any progress over the next two months. Make changes!

Training failures are valuable learning experiences that can help you to succeed with subsequent efforts. What could you have done differently that would have improved the outcome? What did you learn that you can put to good use next time? If you approach your training failures and setbacks with a positive attitude, you will use them to increase your chance of success in the future.

Use your gym time wisely. Follow brief but hard training, use exercises suited to you, and strive to add a little more weight every week or two to each exercise. Use a balance programme that includes cardio and stretching. Even if you train well, if you don’t satisfy all the components of recuperation you will not be able to make much, if any progress.

It is amazing how many gym-goers and athletes are negligent with their nutrition and sleep. Everyday you must eat well and sleep well if you want to optimise your recuperation. Do not undermine your training by cutting corners of the gym.


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Benefits of Fasting


Many people observe fasting as a religious obligation but only few know the health benefits it has. Fasting is a good practice, if properly implemented. It promotes elimination of toxins from the body, reduces blood sugar and fat stores. It promotes healthy eating habits and boost immunity.

Fasting Promotes Weight Loss
Fasting promotes rapid weight loss. It reduces the store of fats in the body. However, fasting is not a good weight loss strategy. Reducing fat and sugar intake, and increasing fruits and rest are better measures to achieve weight reduction.

Fasting Reduces Blood Sugar
Fasting increases breakdown of glucose so that the body can get energy. It reduces production of insulin. This rests the pancreas. Glucagon is produced to facilitate the breakdown of glucose. The outcome of fasting is a reduction in blood sugar.

Fasting Promotes A Healthy Diet
It has been observed that fasting reduces cravings for processed foods. It promotes desire for natural foods, especially water and fruits. This is one way in which fasting promotes a healthy lifestyle.

Fasting Boosts Immunity
When an individual is on a balanced diet in between fasts, this can boost immunity. Elimination of toxins and reduction in fat store also helps the body. When individuals take fruits to break a fast, they increase the body’s store of essential vitamins and minerals. Vitamin A and E are good antioxidants readily available in fruits. They help to boost immunity.

Fasting Increases Fat Breakdown
The first response of the body to fasting is break down of glucose. When the store of glucose is exhausted, ketosis begins. This is breakdown of fat to release energy. The fats stored in the kidney and muscles are broken down to release energy.

When Not To Fast?
If you are severely underweight, diabetic, pregnant, have a serious medical condition, or recovering from surgery, then you really shouldn’t fast without first consulting your physician.


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Men Need More Rest Between Workouts Than Women


Recovery from a monster workout can sometimes take as long as two weeks. Most people weight train every other day as it is a traditional method. A study in the Journal of Sports Physiology Performance showed gender differences in recovery capacity following weight training. The results showed men needed at least 48 hours of recovery to achieve the same strength levels as previous workouts, while women needed only 4 hours of recovery. The most likely explanation is that men are capable of exerting greater relative force during intense workouts, which makes it more difficult for them to recover.


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Longer Rest Intervals Between Sets Produce Greater Strength


Muscle tension is critical for building high levels of strength. Reps to failure with little rest between sets may burn, but it will not make you as strong as lifting heavy weights and resting long enough between sets to come back and do it again. A group of Brazilian scientists conducted a study in the Journal of Science Medicine Sport and reaffirmed this basic principle of strength athletics. They showed that rest intervals of at least 3-5 minutes between sets produce the greatest increases in upper and lower body strength. If strength and power are your goals, then rest long enough to recover between sets.