T Nation

Pre Exhaustion or Not?

So im currently on a program that looks something like this

Monday- Chest/back (Some abs)
Tuesday- legs (quads,hams,calves)
Wednesday- Shoulders /arms
Friday-Chest/back (Some abs)

I would like to continue my program but during my chest workouts I feel my shoulder working more than my chest at most times and I feel my biceps more so when I workout my back. My question is would Pre-Exhaustion followed with my workout routine be too much for my back and chest to handle/ would they not grow as fast as the rest of the muscles.

How long have you been working out?

If you can’t feel the targeted muscle-groups working when performing bench press or lat pulls, then most likely the fault is with your form/weight-number and not so much the lack of pre-exhaustion.

Pre-exhaustion is a good tool to use for lifters who fear their muscle have gotten accustomed to a certain routine or exercise(compounds), so they pre-exhaust it using an isolation movement. I don’t think that is your problem nor solution.

Like I said, I think it’s form/too-heavy-of-a-weight issue. There are however some things you can do to help your form.

For example, for your Lats, you can utilize the ‘Straight-Arm Lat Pulldown’ which I used for the first 2-3 months until I realized how to target my Lats.

not necessary for a beginner

If it helps you feel the muscles better for other exercises, it CAN be used beneficially.

What specific exercises are we talking about where you have a hard time working the intended muscle groups?

I definitely agree with hungry4more. It can get in the way, but it can also be very useful. If you are a shoulder dominant bench presser and want to feel your pecs more, then that can definitely help.

Regarding your back exercises, chances are one of two things has happened: 1) you are performing the exercises incorrectly or with too much “body english” or 2) your back is hideously, inexcusably weak compared to your arms and your body is shifting the weight to your biceps because they are the strongest muscle in the movement.

for #1 the answer is not cheating on reps and for #2 the answer is NOT pre-exhaust the biceps. The answer is alternate an exercise in between every back set that DOES NOT require your arms bending (in other words it keeps the biceps out of things completely). The big one here would be band pull-aparts IMHO. A set of 10-12 between every set of back work, all exercises.

This article by coach Thibs helped me out quite a bit with exercise selection. pre and post exhaust are both valuable tools to use and I don’t see why a complete newb cant use them to help learn his/her body and what sequence of movements are better for personal MMC.