T Nation

Pre-exhaustion

Im starting to think there are more misguided bits of lifting info out there than accurate stuff. One I heard was “pre exhausting” your pecs with flyes before bench to maximise the burn in your pecs. I tried that once and it was pretty obvious my tris and delts ended up doing more work which didnt exactly seem the best way to build pecs. For delts, it seems I can make one head take more load on militaries or lateral raises by pre-exhausting the others. Anyone had any experience with this or any other mythical bits of exercise science?

Of course there are many training myths out there; the Weider mags alone have set hundreds of 'em in motion over the decades, as have genetic freaks in their seminars. This is why you must try different protocols for an extended period of time, long enough to take into account the variables of your life, and see what works for you and what doesn’t. For example, my bro Todd, a competitive bodybuilder who I’ve worked out with for several years, grows successfully with such things as squats in a Smith Machine, leg presses, and extensions. I have to squat and squat and squat to grow my legs; nothing else works (plus I have it in my head that this is what i MUST do). But seriously, what works well for some doesn’t touch others. Pre-exhaustion is effective if you’re good at the mind-muscle connection (can’t remember which Weider principle that is, but it is a good one).

Your pecs (or any pre-exhausted muscle) will work harder because they will fail first. If your tri’s fail first in a bench press, your pecs won’t be stimulated as much. Try doing a set of leg extensions and superset it with a set of squats. See if your quads or hams are more sore the next day.

Dre…pre-exhausting isn’t a bad technique, but using dumbbell flyes is probably not the best way. Try cables or machine flyes so that there is less tricep and shoulder involvement. Rest briefly and then hit the bench press. I’ve never been a huge fan of DB flyes as an isolation exercise, but don’t write off pre-exhaustion.

Pre-ex. is worthless.

hey John, I’ve tried pre-exhaustion and it works wonders, but will NOT make that muscle group more sore. I had knee surgery a while back for my left leg. So I decided to do one-leg squats(with my left) before my normal squats. When I got to my squats the right leg was doing all the work, and the leg that was supposed to be getting stronger wasn’t. I had tired that leg out so much that it couldn’t do any of the normal squat work. The next day my right leg would be sore and NOT the pre-exhausted one. So I now do squats first and one-leggers second, and my left leg is finaly catching up. How can a muscle work harder if it fails first??? NaturalMan, have you tried pre-ex.? Its used in Ian Kings programs and has always worked well. Dre, why don’t you pre-ex. your tri’s and delts first and then go hit chest. Use high reps without rest. My tri’s didn’t grow when I did this and it really alowed my pecs to do the work.

Do the first phase of IK’s Get Buffed program and then tell me that pre-exhaustion is worthless.

Cream, I did try it…that’s what convinced me they were worthless.

Well, I guess different things work for different people. Considering all of the people who’ve had success with that routine though, I think you’re probably in the minority. Therefore, I wouldn’t label it as “worthless.”

No, you’re right it’s not worthless…just pretty damn close.

JohnnyJon-Yeah? Well Mike Mentzer says…Seriously, it definately made me more sore (sorer?). Either way though, I like it.