By | March 31, 2019

The purpose of pre-exhaustion is to load the target muscle with the help of an isolating exercise, and after that you need to quickly go to the execution of the base. If you look from a theoretical point of view, the idea is not bad, but almost always fails.

The maximum effect is achieved if the target muscle is very strong and only the basic training does not break through it. But the result will be much worse in the case when neither the insulating nor the base can reach the target area and it is impossible to direct the load to the right place.

Variations on the subject of pre-fatigue – this training is “double split”, it implies the load of the target muscle at that moment and in the situation when it is already tired. According to Ch. Polikvin, the best effect from the load of muscles will be if you work with the target twice a day, or two days in a row.

In such a situation, the principle of building a training with the inclusion of pre-exhaustion really allows a larger amount of muscle fibers to work.

Pre-fatigue methods

Since the training load is responsible for stimulating the growth of muscle cells, it helps to form certain biological factors. Namely, in the body there is an accumulation of free creatine, hydrogen ions, in the muscle fibers that are trained, and, of course, there is a high rate of anabolic hormone in the blood and cells.

Tension in itself does not mean anything to the muscles, otherwise the movers would be excellent bodybuilders. The result can be achieved only if the optimum conditions are met; a certain intensity and its duration are needed. The duration of the load must match what is required before the onset of muscle failure. No need to do less, and even more so. Finding a middle ground is the challenge. But knowing the physiology of muscle tissue and the factors that can stimulate hypertrophy, one can more objectively make an assessment of one or another training load.

Pre-exhaustion sets itself the task of performing an isolating exercise that precedes the basic exercise, with the same muscle group. There are two schemes for the use of pre-fatigue.

The first involves the execution of several sets of the same exercise, most often it is isolating. After it comes a series of complex sets. The second scheme implies a high intensity, namely: the first exercise (one set), followed by the second (one set) immediately without respite. The second concept allows you to significantly reduce the time of training, it organically fits into the concept of “limiting the number of exercises”, which leads to the stimulation of muscle growth.

The principle of construction of training, which is based on preliminary fatigue, it is advisable to use in the initial stages of training. Sometimes it can be useful and experienced athletes. For example, in a situation of injury, if the usual weight does not work, the blood that rushes into the muscles will help the healing of the injury.

In order to choose the right pair of exercises in the pre-exhaustion training, it is important to understand the basic pattern of its action. At first, the isolating motion is switched on, after that it reaches the base motion. The first one often involves one joint or a muscle group, while excluding the rest. The base also has a targeted focus on the muscle being worked out, but plus the auxiliary ones are involved in this work. The success of the basic is guaranteed to be still by the tired “helpers”, but at the same time the target muscle works. This allows you to give her a deadly load.


At this time of research of this phenomenon among many published I would like to note the second. The first was carried out using the method of electromyography, it showed muscle activity in the process of performing one or another exercise. Experimental squats, but one group had a preload (extension of quadriceps and tibia), the other had no such load. As a result, the second group showed higher muscle activity when squatting. From this we can conclude that muscle hypertrophy depends on the strain and time during which they had a load. This study showed that the use of prior fatigue is impractical and this training strategy is wrong.

In the second experiment with the exercises was leg press. 17 men took part in it, the part of them carried out only a press, and the second part a superset which combined a press and an extension of a shin. Both those and others did 10 repetitions to failure. The results of muscle activity were measured by an electromyograph. And they showed that in the front surface the thigh muscle was smaller during the superset with pre-exhaustion, when compared with the data given by athletes by performing one basic exercise. This means that after having exhausted the quadriceps and then doing the basic exercise, the athletes managed to use other muscles, and they on the main load. As a result, the value of squatting with a barbell in the role of a basic exercise is reduced, if we consider its usefulness for the quadriceps. But using anabolic steroids is not so important. After all, the conditions for the stimulation of hypertrophy can be fulfilled, namely: there is an accumulation of free creatine, and its quantity is quite large, since the active load goes on for a long time. The concentration of lactic acid still increases, the use of anabolic hormones will allow them to have a high level and so.

But you should be careful of those athletes who do not take anabolic steroids, because such a method will not lead to anything good.

Practical approach

If we look at concrete practical examples, the standard scheme is called “pre-exhaustion”. It implements an isolating exercise, followed by a basic one. The meaning of this technique is to preload the target muscle, followed by a heavy load. As a result, the primary load will be the strongest for the muscle and will be able to penetrate each of its fibers.

Important! It is necessary to insure and carry out such training with an assistant. Since, when approaching the basic exercise, the main muscles are already tired, injury is quite likely.

But there is another option – change the order of execution. To begin with, you begin the basic training with new forces, stopping it in one repetition to failure, then bring it to failure, but using targeted load. As a result, you can get the same pre-fatigue (but at the expense of the base). In this case, the risk of injury is significantly reduced.

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