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Pre-Exhaustion Techniques!

Even though we train each body part, there are always those body parts that respond very well and those that lag behind. Learn how to use pre-exhaust training to build your lagging parts!

No matter if you are bodybuilder, fitness competitor, or just some one who wants to look good and stay in shape, a balanced physique is essential for not only the cosmetic look, but also for the proper function of the body as a whole. Balance and symmetry are terms that we can use to describe how well, or not well, the body flows in proportion from one body part to another. In bodybuilding and fitness competitions, not only will you get counted off for having weaker areas, but also you can get counted off for having body parts that are too strong and are out of proportion to the rest of your physique.

Even though we train each body part, there are always those body parts that respond very well and those that lag behind. After a couple months and years of training, you will begin to notice your strong points and weak areas. If you do not do something to bring the lagging body parts up, you will begin to get an awkward look. So striving for balance and evenly developed body parts in proportion to one another should always be on our mind when we are training.

What I recommend you doing is honestly assessing yourself or a good friend, and point out the areas that need to be more developed, lagging behind, or improved to give the physique a more shapely and pleasing appearance to the eye. Do not change your routines for your strong points; just keep those the same. No need in fixing something that is not broken. (Right: Cutler needs to fix nothing, he won the Ironman & Arnold so far this year!)

One way that has really helped me and my clients bring up weaker areas has been pre-exhausting the muscles first. What I mean by pre-exhausting is that you perform 5 sets of single joint, isolation movements first in your routine when training your weaker areas.

This serves to fatigue and isolate the muscle very effectively from the get go. Than after the single joint, isolation movements, you will then move on to your multi-joint, compound exercises.

During the multi-joint, compound exercises, for that body part, you will already be fatigued and now will have the assistance of the fresh secondary muscles involved with the movement. Be careful, you will not be able to use as much weight on the compound movements than you are used to. Don't worry if you are a little weaker, it is all about stimulating the most amount of fibers as you can in the muscle so you can get it to respond and improve.

Here is a breakdown of the single joint, isolation movements and the multi-joint, compound movements that you can perform for each body part. Use the pre-exhaustion method depending on what area you feel needs some improvement.

Sample Pre-Exhaust Methods










    Isolation Exercises:

    Compound Exercises:

    • Standing Calf Raise - View Exercise
    • Calf Presses
    • Donkey Calf Raise

Well, there you have a good breakdown of the isolation movements and the compound movements for the major body parts. Remember, to pre-exhaust a muscle group, you will perform one or more of the isolation exercises outlined above for your body part of choice that needs improvement. Then you will do one or more of the compound exercises related to that body part after the isolation movements have been executed.

Give this a try for at least 6 weeks on your lagging areas. You will definitely see a noticeable change. With the improvement of lagging areas, your physique will take on a much nicer appearance and will also function better as a whole. Always remember the three elements of building the physique you want nutrition, resistance training, and cardiovascular training. All that with everyday consistency and you are guaranteed the healthy body you have always wanted!

Thanks for reading! If you have any questions or want to contact Chris for appearances, modeling, or nutrition plans, you can e-mail Chris Zaino, at: