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Training Intensity Principles: Pre-Exhaust Principle

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Shock Training: Introduction to Pre-Exhaust

In certain exercises, many different muscles are stimulated in one lift. However, some of those muscles used reach temporary muscular failure before others. For example, when you perform the bench press exercise, you are using your pectorals, as well as your triceps and front deltoids. Since your triceps and front deltoids are smaller muscles, they will likely reach muscular failure before your pectorals. To compensate for this, you can perform dumbbell flies first, which will isolate and exhaust the pectorals. Afterwards, when you perform the bench press exercise, the pectorals, which are already tired, will go to a fatigue at the same time as the other muscles.

Pre-Exhaust Routine

The pre-exhaust routine is based on the concept of attacking a muscle area. First, you must exhaust it with an isolation exercise, and then immediately perform a combination movement that utilizes this target muscle. As a result, the muscle which is isolated is forced to work. It has to perform at its maximum limit because it is already pre-exhausted from the previous exercise.

Rest Interval

It is extremely important when performing this shock routine to leave ensure that there is no rest interval between the isolation movement and the combination movement. As an example, even a very minimal rest interval, for example, only 15-20 seconds, will bring about an 80 percent rate of recovery. That is a very big number for a shock routine that relies on what is essentially a 0 rest interval! Too much, to say the least.

Newbies to Pre-Exhaust

Those who are just beginning to utilize the pre-exhaust shock training principle should limit their sets to two, using something less than maximum poundage for the earlier workouts. As time goes on and your experience level increases, you will want to increase the amount of weight you use from one workout to the next, and get closer to maximum poundage.

Example of a Pre-Exhaust Routine

Pre-Exhaust Training
Muscle Group Exercise Sets Reps
Shoulders Lateral Dumbbell Raise 3 12
Press Behind the Neck 3 8
Chest Flat Bench Flye 3 10
Bench Press 3 8
Quads Leg Extension 3 12
Squat 3 10
Back Bent-Arm Pullover 3 15
T-Bar Row 3 10
Abs Crunch 3 15
Hanging Leg Raises 3 20
Calves Standing Calf Raise 3 25
Seated Calf Raise 3 12
Biceps Preacher Bench Curl 3 12
Standing Barbell Curl 3 10-12
Triceps V-Bar Triceps Pressdown 3 12
Narrow Grip Bench Press 3 10
Forearms Reverse Wrist Curl 3 12
Reverse Curl 3 15

Targets of the Above Routine

Using the above routine as an example, below is a table illustrating the goals of involving the individual exercises listed. As you can see, the pre-exhaust training intensity principle is capable of providing a very balanced workout while shocking your muscles into new growth.

Exercise Target
Lateral Dumbbell Raises Medial (Side) Deltoid Head
Press Behind the Neck Posterior (Rear) Deltoid Head
Flat Dumbbell Flies Middle / Inner Chest
Bench Press Lower Chest / Overall Strength
Leg Extension Lower Thigh Development
Squat Lower Thigh Development / Overall Strength
Bent-Arm Pullover Upper Back and Lat Thickness
T-Bar Row Lat Development / Middle Back Thickness
Crunch Upper Abs
Hanging Leg Raises Lower Abs
Standing Calf Raise Gastrocnemius Muscles
Seated Calf Raise Soleus Muscle
Preacher Bench Curl Biceps Length and Lower Thickness
Standing Barbell Curl Overall Biceps Mass / Strength
V-Bar Triceps Pressdown Triceps Outer Head
Narrow Grip Bench Press All Heads / Overall Pressing Power
Reverse Wrist Curl Upper Forearms / Wrist Extensor Muscles
Reverse Curl Inner Forearms / Wrist Flexor Muscles

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