T Nation

Order of Workout Exercises

Why does it matter when you do an exercise in a workout?

Well let me give you an example. On back day, you would want to do Deadlift before anything because that lift takes the most energy and muscle recruitment. Having that, with the most energy put in that, you will benefit from that a lot because it’s a “mass gainer.” Put the compound movements first, like deadlift, bench, and squat.

If your goal is hypertrophy you want to create the greatest microtrauma to the muscle fibers you are hitting with weight in order to induce optimal myofibrillar growth. This is done by using compound movements first on the muscle group you are hitting through various movement patterns, followed by increasingly more focused efforts always taken to near complete failure.

If your goal is strength you want to ensure the greatest potential for MU activation so you would match pairs of exercises that involve completely different muscle groups always using high weight and low reps in order to activate the biggest, fastest MUs. I’m going to leave speed alone with this one.

Hypertrophy is just scientific for muscle growth yeah?

When cells increase in size and cause enlarged tissues and organs.

[quote]Dyepaintball12 wrote:
Why does it matter when you do an exercise in a workout?[/quote]

Generally, whatever you do first will get the most focus and let you put the most “oomph” (technical term) into it.

If you start with barbell curls, that’s fine. Just know that your biceps will be fried for the rest of the workout, and that’s going to affect exercises that come later.

This is why you generally put the larger compound exercises first, becuase they hit the smaller muscles anyway. You also usually want to prioritize explosive lifts like cleans and snatches, because doing them later on when you’re already tired means you’re performing at less-than 100%.

Basically, yep.

Another use is once you get into the game for a while, you can figure out what is lagging or what is being left out because you don’t like it and then put that first.

For example, you save abs for last and you find yourself constantly leving it out because you’re tired, out of time, etc. Then for a while you need to put it first and make your favorite “desert”. I used this when I realized my back was wayyyy behind. I put it ahead of chest in my workout so if I was tired or out of time, that got cut short, not back work.

“You can’t have any pudding if you don’t eat your meat…!”

Also keep in mind that since compound movements incorporate multiple muscles, if you tire one set of those muscles out doing isolation work then chances are the other set will take over when doing compounds.

If you blast your pecs before doing bench press, your tris and shoulders will likely do more of the work than your tired pecs.