Another approach to increasing your workout intensity is to utilize pre-exhaustion exercises or a sequence that performs more isolated movements first. The concept of pre-exhaustion can be better understood when viewing chest exercises, for example…

Full range of motion repetitions for the chest muscles are almost always assisted by the much smaller, weaker triceps. This is especially observed in performing inclined bench presses. During this exercise, the triceps will achieve muscle failure significantly faster than the bigger and stronger pectoral muscles, leading to poor form before the chest muscles can reap the benefits of reaching their own failure.

To avoid this and get a more effective workout, sequence your exercises so you first perform movements that totally isolate and exhaust the bigger muscle group before moving on to the main exercise. Improve your workout even more by eliminating rest time between the pre-exhaust exercise and the main compound exercise.

The need to sequence exercises to maximize muscle performance will not be crucial in beginner bodybuilders just yet, but progressing to intermediate levels of lifting will necessitate a better understanding of muscle anatomy and how they complement one another throughout range of motion exercises.

The following are examples of some common pre-exhaust exercises routines done by bodybuilders of all levels:

  1. Biceps — Barbell Curls and Close-Grip, Palms-Up Pulldowns.
  2. Triceps — Press-downs and Dips.
  3. Pectorals — Flyes and Bench Presses.
  4. Laterals — Dumbbell Pullovers and Barbell Rows.
  5. Deltoids — Dumbbell Laterals and Presses Behind Neck.
  6. Trapezoids — Shrugs and Upright Rows.
  7. Thighs — Leg Extensions and Squats.

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