Does your training routine really need to be that complicated?

August 5, 2014

A new study just published in the journal Applied Physiology, Nutrition, and Metabolism investigated the value of the Pre-Exhaustion (PreEx) training method and found that that the various arrangements of different exercise protocols is of less relevance than simply performing resistance training exercises with a high intensity of effort within any protocol. As resistance training is becoming a major intervention for health and disease prevention, improved understanding in this area is increasingly important.

PreEx training is based on the principle that the targeted muscles can be pre-exhausted with isolation exercises immediately prior to a compound – thereby providing greater stimulation to the target muscles. Contrary to popular belief that this major stimulus from revolves around the high degree of effort at the end of a set of repetitions, this study found that the order of exercises or interval between sets has minimal to no added benefits.

The authors of the study were James Fisher and James Steele of Southampton Solent University and Dave Smith of Manchester University in the UK along with Luke Carlson of Discover Strength, Plymouth, Minnesota.

"This research study represents a real work-out, by real people in a real gym not a laboratory gym as in much research. Our results suggest that exercise order and rest interval make no difference to chronic strength increases following 12 weeks of training, but rather should be chosen based on personal preference," explained James Fisher, lead author.

"In addition, whilst scientific research in trained participants is lacking, maybe as a result of the diminished gains compared to untrained persons, the present study shows that significant strength increases can continue as a result of brief (~23 minutes) and infrequent (2 x / week) resistance exercise when intensity of effort is maximised. This research demonstrates ecological validity as well as scientific rigour; it shows practical results from an approach to that most people can immediately utilise."

Explore further: Physical exercise improves gait speed, muscle strength, fitness in patients with Parkinson's disease

More information: "The effects of pre-exhaustion, exercise order and rest intervals in a full body resistance training intervention " (DOI: dx.doi.org/10.1139/apnm-2014-0162) was published today in the journal Applied Physiology, Nutrition, and Metabolism. DOI: 10.1139/apnm-2014-0162

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