To make our workout the most effective, we have to choose the best exercises. Then we should decide about their order – especially about the one that we are doing first.
We should start our workout from an exercise that recruits the most muscle groups simultaneously and give us the ability to use the heaviest possible weight during whole training. In our case it will be big compound exercise done with the barbell.
Because at the beginning of our training we have the most strength, we are fresh and our energy levels are very high, we can lift the heaviest possible weight from the whole routine. Of course, we should do it within the right repetition range (12-6) and with the correct number of sets (about 3 for each exercise).
The factor that stimulates muscle growth the most is heavy weight, that’s why we are so concerned about it.
If we start to train from anything easier we will make our muscles tired and we won’t be able to use such a heavy loads in the most important exercise. Let’s say we would do few sets of leg extensions before squat. There’s no chance we could squat similar weight as if we’d done it fresh.
Exercises that recruit the most muscles at the same time increase the production of anabolic hormones by our bodies: testosterone and human growth hormone. These substances make our muscles grow, give us strength and confidence.
We want the boost of the hormones to occur at the beginning of the routine, so the rest of exercises or smaller muscle groups are trained under their influence. It will make them grow bigger, faster and stronger. It’s proved.
Here are the main muscle groups and the examples of exercises that should be done first:
- Chest – Bench Press or Dips,
- Shoulders – Military Press or Shoulder Press Behind Neck
- Back – Deadlift, Row or Pull-Ups,
- Legs – Squat (back or front).
Of course we perform all of them with the barbell because we can use much heavier weight than with dumbbells.
As with any rule in bodybuilding as in general life there are always some exceptions. Generally beginners don’t need to change anything; however intermediate or advanced trainees may need to apply some changes from time to time.
1. Pre-exhaustion method
To pre-exhaust certain muscle group we can perform from 1 to 3 sets of isolation exercise before starting the workout. We do 12-15 repetitions using very light weigh to increase the blood flow in trained muscle to activate underdeveloped area or give additional stimulation for certain part of a muscle to grow.
We don’t want our bodies to get use to the same routine because it might slow down the hypertrophy. That’s why we can change an order of exercises sporadically which can ‘shock’ our muscles and boost them to an extra growth. To apply this rule in your training simply reverse an order of exercises: start from the lightest, use dumbbells first or change it randomly. Just remember to do it only occasionally.
Always start your training from the hardest, heaviest exercise for certain muscle group that there is. Leave the easier ones for the end of your routine. Make changes in exercise order but only from time to time to confuse your muscles and if you’ve past the beginning phase of bodybuilding you can apply pre-exhaustion method to achieve desired results.