My elbow hurts. So does my knee. So does my shoulder.
I don’t feel like working out today, for real. Like I really don’t. Just the thought on loading a bar, or picking up a dumbbell from the bottom of a rack.
Unless…. unless I can get away with doing these big movements that require heavy weights (and joint strain) at a lighter weight, but still effectively blast some muscles.
Enter Pre Exhaustion.
Pre Exhaustion is the application of using an isolation movement first, prior to doing a compound movement.
Example: Doing side-lateral raises prior to doing an overhead press.
Madness right? Not really, it’s a trick that I like to employ when the dread of heavy weights is maybe keeping me from possibly hitting the gym.
I wouldn’t advocate Pre Exhaustion as a regular part of your workouts, but it is a solid curve ball you can throw your body for a week or two, every couple of months at the end of a training cycle.
Let’s take my muscles for example! (I love my muscles, they are my friends.)
I just came off 8 week training cycle. 4 days a week, fairly typical training split where the last couple of weeks were less reps, heavier weight. Somewhere in between the heavier weights and landing on my elbows numerous times in a ring in some god awful part of the country, my elbow started to hurt. Being a trooper I made sure the training cycle concluded but realized I have a couple weeks to play with where weights aren’t as imperative. Plus it is a perfect time to shock my body with something different after months of more or the same.
So here is my pre-exhaustion workout
Day 1 Shoulders/Arms
A) Cable Side Lat raises 3×20
B) Overhead Press 4×10-12
C) Superset Single Arm Tri Pushdown/Single Arm Cable Curl 3×20
D) Superset Reverse CloseGrip Bench/BB Curl 4×10-12
E) TriSet Machine Shoulder Press/Tri Ext/Machine Curl 2-3×15-25
Day 2 Legs
A) Leg Ext 3×20
B) Leg Curl 3×20
C) Front Squat 4×8-12
D) Lunge/Single Leg Squat 3×12
E) Weighted Step Up (low box) 3×10 (each leg)
F) Single Leg Press 2×25
Day 3 Chest/Back
A) Superset Incline Cable Flyes/Lat Pulldown 3×20
B) Superset Incline Dumbell/Pull Up 4×10-12
C) Superset Machine Fly/Machine Reverse Fly 3×12
D) Superset Wide Grip Bench/Low Cable Row 3×10
E) Optional Superset Pushup/Inverted Row 2×20
This is my idea for my pre-exhaustion workouts for the next 2 or so weeks. Maybe going 2 days on/1 off/1 on/1 off Repeat. Pre Exhaustion workouts lets you hit your compound movements, but due to fatigued muscles, not as heavy. It’s a great way to check your ego, especially if you are not really in the mood to engage heavy weights. Plus SICK PUMP!!!!!!!
Remember, if you are consistent with your training, wild changes out of nowhere can be good, but stay consistent. If you just randomly do something with no rhyme or reason, this probably won’t help you and you are probably the guy at the gym who does a set and pulls his shirt up to “wipe sweat off his forehead” but secretly just try to look at your abs.
Don’t be that guy.
Then try some Pre-Exhaustion tricks!
Rock and Roll