Do these exercises first and you’ll blow up your workout routine! For a more productive and safer strength training workout, do these exercises in order.
It pays to work your weaker, less developed muscles first in a workout. After all, they’re holding you back… But on the other hand, sometimes training them first will simply make your strength training less effective.
I’m not talking about doing “flyes” before doing bench presses. Sure, you might be able to push less weight after that, but it’s a classic pre-fatigue technique that helps weight trainers gain more muscle and has been around for decades.
There are relatively few exercises on my list, but they are important. So pay attention and do them correctly!
- Lower back before the deadlift, squat, bent over
Lower back strength training, primarily the erector spinae muscle, is engaged in an isometric manner during a wide range of polyarticular movements for the back, legs or even shoulder presses.
Because you are using rather heavy loads on these exercises, you need to have a strong spinal erector muscle to assist your torso. Positioning your lower back in movements such as the good morning, back extensions (hyperextensions), or deadlift with a heavy load could be a big mistake!
If your lower back is very tired, good luck keeping it in the ideal position when you try to do heavy bent-over rows, deadlifts or even squats. What was already a weak link can get worse, compromising both the weight you use and the number of reps you can accomplish, not to mention the increased risk of rounding your back…
The best choice: do your lower back movements at the end of your workout after all your heavy weight exercises are completed.
- Grip strength first
Grip and forearm strength is a critical success factor for many beginners. If they are weak, you will be weaker. Strengthen them to get stronger.
If your grip is baked, you’re baked. Exercises like wrist extensions, hammer grip curl and reverse curl all strengthen your grip and forearms, which is ideal for a heavy-load exercise. Shrugs also require a strong grip. Here, the consequences mean compromising the weight or number of reps you can perform.
The best choice: a specific forearm workout should be done at the end of the session! Otherwise you’re killing your chances of a good session. If after building up your forearms you have trouble holding your shaker… you’re on the right track 😉
- Biceps before back, triceps before pecs.
Doing pec flyes before bench presses, as mentioned above, is a known and interesting pre-fatigue technique. But the same way does not apply to other muscle groups like training triceps before pecs.
If you train your triceps (a small muscle group) first, your push-ups will not be as effective for your pecs. The same is true if you train your biceps before an intensive training of your big back.
The best choice: A good rule of thumb is to train the larger muscle groups first, then the smaller ones. The only time you can ignore this is when you’re training completely different muscle groups that don’t affect each other, such as the lower back and pecs.