Advanced Techniques - Pre Exhaust

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Advanced Techniques - Pre Exhaust

Postby Canuck Singh » Wed Aug 13, 2008 5:21 am

The Pre-exhaust weight lifting technique typically involves performing a single joint exercises (such as the leg extension) prior to performing a related multi-joint movement (such as the squat or leg press). Some bodybuilders believe this increases the intensity placed on the working muscle and stimulates better growth. I’ve never been a big fan of pre-exhaust training simply because it fatigues the muscles and limits the amount of weight used in the multi-joint exercise, thus reducing the amount of overload placed on the muscle. Any time you limit overload, you limit the potential to increase strength and muscle size.

A recent study investigated the effects of pre-exhaustive exercise (leg extension) in thigh muscle activation during the leg press exercise. The quadriceps are the largest thigh muscles and the “prime movers” in all leg pressing movements. Electromyography readings from taken from the quadriceps of seventeen males revealed that recruitment (activation) of these muscles was significantly less when the pre-exhaust technique was used, as compared to straight sets with maximal weight. The subjects also performed significantly fewer repetitions using the pre-exhaust technique.

These results demonstrate that the pre-exhaust technique actually reduces the stimulus on the working muscle. The pre-exhaust technique reduced the amount of overload and total amount of work performed. Stick to performing all-out straight sets, with maximum weight - you’ll make much better gains in strength and muscle growth.

Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research, 17(2):411 – 416, 2003.
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