In the world of fitness, there are countless strategies and techniques to help you achieve your goals. One such technique that has gained popularity over the years is pre-exhaust training. Pre-exhaust exercises involve targeting a specific muscle group with an isolation exercise before moving on to compound exercises. This approach can help you maximize muscle recruitment and enhance overall muscle development.
In this article, we'll dive into the best pre-exhaust exercises for every major muscle group in your body so you can start maximizing full-body muscle growth!
Pre-Exhaust Exercise For Chest: Dumbbell Flyes
Begin your chest workout with dumbbell flyes and finish off by doing a compound exercise like the bench press or push ups.
- Lie on a bench with dumbbells in hand, arms extended, and palms facing each other.
- Lower the dumbbells to the sides, feeling a stretch in your chest.
- Complete 3-4 sets of 10-12 reps before moving on to bench press or push-ups.
Pre-Exhaust Exercise For Back: Lat Pulldowns
If you want to grow bigger lats, start with lat pull-downs and finish off with bent-over rows or pull-ups.
- Sit down at a lat pulldown machine.
- Adjust the thigh pads so they snugly fit over your thighs to secure your body in place.
- Reach up and grab the wide, overhand bar attached to the pulldown machine with your hands slightly wider than shoulder-width apart.
- Sit up straight with your chest our and shoulders back.
- Begin the exercise by pulling the bar down toward your chest.
- Focus on using your lats (the large muscles on your back) to initiate the movement.
- Keep your elbows pointing down and close to your sides as you pull the bar down.
- Aim for 3-4 sets of 10-12 reps before proceeding to bent-over rows or pull-ups.
Pre-Exhaust Exercise For Shoulders: Lateral Raises
This exercise will isolate your lateral deltoids so follow with a compound exercise like overhead presses or upright rows.
- Hold a dumbbell in each hand and have them at your sides, palms facing your body.
- Begin by standing up straight with your feet shoulder-width apart.
- While keeping your arms straight (but not locked), begin to lift the dumbbells outward and away from your body in a controlled manner.
- Exhale as you raise the dumbbells. The movement should be controlled, and your wrists should remain in a neutral position (not bent).
- Complete 3-4 sets of 12-15 reps before your overhead presses or upright rows.
Pre-Exhaust Exercise For Legs: Leg Extensions
This is a great pre-exhaust exercise for those wanting to grow stronger quads. Start with leg extensions and finish off with squats or lunges.
- Sit on the leg extension machine, making sure that the backrest is well-adjusted to fit your body comfortably.
- Place your feet against the edge of the seat and under the weighted pad, and grab the handles on each side of your body with your hands.
- Begin the movement by extending your knees so that your legs are lifting the weight, using your quads as the sole movers. Make sure to keep your back against the backrest at all times, keeping a tight grip on the handles so you don’t move out of place. A
- t the top part of the extension, hold for a moment, then go back down slowly and repeat.
- Perform 3-4 sets of 12-15 reps before moving on to squats or lunges.
Pre-Exhaust Exercise For Biceps: Concentration Curls
Concentration curls will help isolate and target your biceps for better growth, exhaust them by following with barbell curls or chin-ups.
- Sit on the bench with your feet shoulder-width apart, and your knees bent at a 90-degree angle.
- Hold a dumbbell in one hand with an underhand (palms-up) grip. Extend your arm holding the dumbbell fully, letting it hang between your legs.
- Keeping your upper arm against your inner thigh as a pivot point, exhale and curl the dumbbell upward slowly. Keep your elbow stationary. Focus on contracting your biceps as you curl the weight.
- Continue curling the dumbbell until your forearm makes contact with your biceps or comes as close as possible. Squeeze your biceps at the top of the movement to maximize the contraction.
- Inhale and slowly lower the dumbbell back to the starting position. Maintain control throughout the movement.
- Complete 3-4 sets of 10-12 reps before your barbell curls or chin-ups.
Pre-Exhaust Exercise For Triceps: Tricep Kickbacks
Tricep kickbacks are one of the best isolation exercises for triceps. To fully exhaust them, follow it up with tricep dips or close grip bench presses.
- Start by holding both weights in each hand with your palms facing inward and slightly bending your knees.
- Hinge forward at your hips while keeping your back straight until your upper body is almost parallel to the floor.
- You’ll begin the movement by bending your elbows at about 90 degrees so that the dumbbells come up alongside each side of your chest, keeping your upper arms still and close to your body.
- Hold for a second and then straighten your arms behind you to the starting position and repeat.
- Perform 3-4 sets of 12-15 reps before dips or close-grip bench presses.
Pre-Exhause Exercise For Abs: Planks
Planks are the perfect pre-exhaust exercise because they help to activate your core. Follow it up with leg raises or woodchoppers to really fire up your abdominal muscles.
- Begin by getting down on the floor or mat and placing your elbows directly under your shoulders.
- Keep your forearms parallel to each other and pointing forward.
- Extend your legs straight behind you, with your toes touching the ground.
- Engage your core muscles by pulling your navel toward your spine.
- Complete 3-4 sets before proceeding to leg raises or Russian twists.
Pre-Exhaust Exercise For Glutes: Glute Bridges
Warm up and isolate your glutes with glute bridges. This exercise will help activate your glutes that way they're actively working during squats or deadlifts.
- Begin by lying flat on your back on the floor or an exercise mat. Bend your knees, keeping your feet flat on the ground and hip-width apart. Place your arms at your sides, with your palms facing down.
- Exhale as you press through your heels and contract your glutes to lift your hips off the ground.
- Keep your feet, shoulders, and upper back on the floor while forming a straight line from your shoulders to your knees.
- Hold the bridge position at the top for a moment, continuing to engage your glutes.
- Inhale and lower your hips slowly back down to the ground, returning to the starting position.
- Perform 3-4 sets of 12-15 reps before squats or deadlifts.
Pre-Exhaust Exercise For Calves: Standing Calf Raises
Isolate your calf muscles with standing calf raises. Further exhaust your calves by doing seated calf raises or leg press calf raises after.
- Stand below a calf raise machine or place a barbell on your upper back.
- Focus on using your calves and lift your heels as high as possible.
- Complete 3-4 sets of 12-15 reps before seated calf raises or leg press calf raises.
Try this new technique in your next workout
Pre-exhaust exercises can be an excellent addition to your workout routine, helping you break through plateaus and target specific muscle groups more effectively. However, it's essential to remember that pre-exhaust should complement, not replace, compound exercises in your workout regimen. Always maintain proper form and gradually increase weights to avoid injuries.
Incorporate these pre-exhaust exercises into your training program, and watch your muscle gains soar while you achieve a more balanced physique.