post-exhaustion training

Bust Plateaus With Post-Exhaustion Training

A post-exhaustion workout is a great plateau buster. As the name suggests, this is a type of superset in which you first perform a compound exercise followed by an isolation exercise that targets a muscle you want to emphasize.

How To Program Post-Exhaustion

With post-exhaustion training, you get the maximum strength training effect from the compound movement. Supersetting with a second isolation exercise further fatigues the muscle, tapping into high-threshold motor units.

The key is that you have to select an exercise that recruits a lot of muscle fibers, such as a chin-up or a squat, followed by a superior isolation exercise, such as a Scott curl or a split squat lunge. You would not have as much success with easier movements such as triceps kickbacks or a cable flys.

Post-Exhaustion Arm Training Workout

Here is an example of a post-exhaustion arm protocol:

A1. Close-Grip Chin-up: 4 x 4-6 reps, 4010 tempo, rest 10 seconds
A2. Low Incline Dumbbell Curl: 4 x 6-8 reps, 5010 tempo, rest 180 seconds

B1. Parallel Bar Dips: 4 x 4-6 reps, 3210 tempo, rest 10 seconds
B2. Overhead Rope Extension: 4 x 8-10 reps, 3110 tempo, rest 180 seconds

On the first workout of this routine, it’s normal to experience a significant strength loss every successive superset. For example, during the first set you may be able to complete 6 chins with an additional 50 pounds and curl 8 reps with 45-pound dumbbells.

By the fourth set, however, you may only squeeze out 4 reps with your bodyweight in the chin-up and curl a pair of 35-pound dumbbells. As you go through this routine, your strength-endurance should skyrocket and you will be able to handle heavy weights for every set. You will also see your arm size increase appreciably.

Post-Exhaustion Biceps Workout

Here is a sample post-exhaustion routine for the brachialis:

A1. Narrow-Grip Pronated Pull-ups: 4 x 4-6 reps, 4010 tempo, rest 10 seconds
A2. Standing Reverse Curl: 4 x 6-8 reps, 3210 tempo, rest 180 seconds

B1. Close Semisupinated Pull-up: 4 x 4-6 reps, 4010 tempo, rest 10 seconds
B2. Seated Zottmann Dumbbell Curl: 4 x 6-8 reps, 3210 tempo, rest 180 seconds

Final Words

If you’re looking for ways to shock specific muscles into greater growth, give post-exhaustion method a try.


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