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Pre-Exhaust Exercise Question


So I have heard the term before but never really understood the whole concept.

As far as I understand, you do an isolation exercise (say Calf raises) than perform a compound exercise straight after that (squats) and it better grows the pre exhausted bodypart (calves)??

Wouldn’t tiring out one bodypart for a compound put more strain on the other muscles disrupting form?

Is it primarily a bodybuilding strategy or can be used to build strength as well?


It depends. It can be used for strength in a way because lets say you start off benching 135 for 10 after doing pre exhaust exercises and go to doing 225 for 8, you’ve gotten stronger. I wouldn’t focus on it for strength, but I definitely would read more into pre exhaust before you start it. Get a vetter understanding for the program, history, reasons for using it, etc.


Forum vets probably have PTSD, from this question, haha.

You typically use pre exhaust to keep a stronger bodypart from taking over during a compound exercise.


I don’t think you would use a calf exercise as per-exhaust for squatting. You typically use an isolation exercise for one muscle group before a compound muscle group for that same muscle group. ie, Flyes before bench press. The rationalization is that some people are “arm dominant”, and may not get adequate stimulation in their pecs from pressing before their delts and tris give out. Hence the pre-movement to create an already somewhat fatigued state in the desired target muscle.



it’s useful from an injury prevention point of view as well. Say for example you were prone to pec strains from benching, doing a few sets of flyes (or pec deck or whatever) before benching an really help. The combination of getting a load of blood in there, your tendons all warmed up and the decreased load you use is quite the triple whammy


This comes to mind as less polarizing. ha


that fucking dress is white and gold and I will stab anyone who says otherwise


Wouldn’t the pre exhausted muscle than continue to get stronger as per Stu’s post? This would surely just continue to exacerbate the issue…?


Stu’s post is a much better worded explanation of what I was trying to say.


You can pre-exhaust muscles so they are too fatigued to contribute significantly to a lift, or you can pre-pump a muscle so that it is primed and ‘feels’ the exercise more.

Example 1: I’m a shoulder dominant presser, if I do a ton of OH pressing prior to bench work, my chest will take over as my shoulders are fatigued.

Example 2: I’m a shoulder dominant presser, if I do some flies to get a good pump in my chest, I’ll feel Incline bench pressing more.

For me, it’s been the extent to which I ‘pre-exhaust’ that contributes to the desired effect.


Uh huh! (big light bulb moment)

Ok thanks for that, it seemed that everything that I read would either fall into the one OR the other example. Whereas it can work both ways.

All I was seeing was black and white when I needed to see some grey :stuck_out_tongue: