In my bodybuilding days there was nothing more frustrating than training a muscle as hard as possible, only to have it continue to lag behind the rest of my body.
I'm sure this is something you have encountered before, and maybe you blamed it on genetics or just accepted the way it is. I know plenty of lifters who bench heavy yet complain about having a small chest, or do heavy squats and lunges but can't seem to get good quad development.
If you fit the bill for either of those scenarios, I have the solution you have been looking for: The Pre-Exhaust Method.
The Pre-Exhaust Method is a form of supersetting that I developed to help maximize the benefit of large compound movements on one of the specific muscles involved.
The basic idea is to "pre-exhaust" a muscle using a single-joint movement before going directly into the big compound movement. Not only does this allow you to get a good burn in the target muscle before the big movement, but it also means that you won't end a set feeling like a different muscle was the limiting factor.
Let's use the bench press as an example. One of the reasons bodybuilders have a tough time developing their pecs with the bench press is that their triceps are the weak link in the movement. Since a lifter’s triceps typically fail (thereby ending the set) before their pecs are completely taxed, they are never putting enough stress on their chest for muscle growth.
The solution is to "pre-exhaust" the pecs with cable or dumbbell chest flys before immediately hitting the bench press. Using that superset, your pecs are guaranteed to get blasted before your triceps run out of juice.
Sample Pre-Exhaust Supersets
One way to approach pre-exhaust supersets is to do a single joint movement before performing a compound movement.
Target Area: Pecs
|Cable Chest Flys||5||10 with a 2 sec contraction|
|Dumbbell Chest Press||5||5|
Target Area: Lats
|Standing Straight Arm Lat Pulldowns||5||10|
|Seated Lat Pull Downs||5||8|
Target Area: Quads
Another way to utilize this method is to perform ¼ reps (use the part of the range of motion that emphasizes the target muscle) at the beginning of a compound movement.
|Close Stance Squats||5||10 "¼ reps" at the top|
|Squats (regular)||5||5 full reps|
Target Area: Biceps
|Underhand Chin Ups||3||5 "¼ reps" at the top|
|Underhand Chin Ups||3||10 full reps|
So now you have an idea how to "pre-exhaust" a muscle to get the most out of your big lifts. Although I don't typically use this method with combat athletes, it is perfect for a bodybuilder or any gym warrior to eliminate weak points in their build.
Remember, those were just a few examples of how to utilize this style of supersets. You can come up with some different variations that suit your needs. Get creative! Small calves? Try jumping rope between heavy sets of calf raises. Feel like your lower back is limiting your hamstring development from deadlifts? Start doing hamstring curls prior to a big set of pulls.
The possibilities are endless with this method and you will find it to be a useful tool in your arsenal of gainz!