The body is like a well-oiled machine. There are many different parts, and they all must work together to perform any function. That’s why it is nearly impossible to work one muscle group without working surrounding ones. Pre-exhaustion is the perfect method for working the right muscle groups.

Why Use Pre-Exhaustion?

To do a flat barbell bench press, the pecs, deltoids, trapezoids, and triceps need to be activated. All of those muscle groups can gain muscle mass from doing this type of bench press. What if your triceps are already the right size and you want bigger pectorals?

Experts suggest that you pre-exhaust the muscle groups that do not need to be worked on before doing an exercise that includes them. When you do the exercise, the muscle group that has already been exhausted will naturally work less and the other muscles will pick up the slack.

How To Do It

To pre-exhaust a muscle or muscle group, do isolation exercises until those muscles are fatigued. After the isolated muscle is thoroughly fatigued, move on to the main exercise.

Quarter squats, pec deck flyers, band pull-a-parts, and glute hamstring raises are all great exercises for pre-exhaustion. Seek expert advice to determine the difference between fatiguing a muscle group and overworking it to the point of injury. The fatigued muscle still needs to perform.

Why It Works

Imagine that two people are moving a couch from one side of a room to the other. They start off sharing the weight of the couch equally, but in the middle of the move, one person gets weak. If the weaker person slacks up, the other person has a heavier load.

This is the same process that happens with muscles. The pre-exhausted muscles work less, and the other muscles work harder to pick up the slack.