Programming Brief: Exercise Order
By: Chad Anderson, CSCS
Programming Brief: Exercise Order
Chad Anderson, CSCS
One of the fundamental principles of exercise prescription, specifically resistance training, is the principle of exercise order. Which exercises do I do first? Which do I do last? Does exercise order really matter? From personal observations in the weight room, it would seem to many it doesn’t matter. However, if you want an effective exercise program you must consider the order of the exercises.
As a general rule you should perform complex multi-joint exercises first in your exercise routine while you are fresh. Typically, multi-joint movements require more skill and energy to perform. Such exercises include squats, deadlifts, bench presses, and pull-ups. Nothing annoys me more than seeing someone perform bicep curls until their head explodes, then go right into lat pulldowns (notice, lat pulldowns, not pull-ups…anyone who does pull-ups knows better than to work their biceps beforehand).
Of course, there are exceptions to the rule. Such is the case when using the pre-exhaustion technique. For example, perform a set of dumbbell flys to exhaust the pectorals then going directly to a set of bench press. In this case, however, you are pre-exhausting the larger muscle group, not the smaller muscle group.
Since single-joint movements typically require less skill to perform and are not as taxing on the body, perform them after multi-joint exercises. Performing single-joint movements at the end of a workout session will ensure a more efficient and effective routine. Of course, there will be exceptions, which should be addressed on an individual basis.
Note: Agility drills & Olympic lifts have been excluded from the discussion of exercise order. However, typically agility drills & Olympic lifts, respectively, should be performed before multi-joint exercises.
About the Author
Chad Anderson, CSCS operates an online fitness programming and in-home personal training service. He holds a BS degree in exercise science with a minor in nutrition and is a Certified Strength & Conditioning Specialist through the NSCA. You can visit his website at www.afitsolutions.com.
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The Power of Stretching - Dave Snape
muscles ache from a good stretch. This is quite
normal and is part of the process. Stretching has
seemingly been with us and particularly with athletes
since the beginning of time.
A very key point to good stretching is to hold the
stretch for at least seventeen seconds. This is a
pearl of wisdom gleaned from a ballet teacher a few
years back. She said that any stretch under 17
seconds was just not effective.
The 17 second rule is exceeded in the high intensity
Bikram's yoga where stretches are held for about 30
seconds. Don't forget the high level of heat that is
used in Bikram's to extract that last little bit of
stretch out of your muscles. An interesting twist
is not necessary to gain benefits from stretching.
it can't hurt, right?
So what kind of benefits can you expect from
stretching? That's an easy one. Have you ever seen
movie, Blood Sport? Did you know that Frank Dux could
truly stretch his body to the extreme. The actor that
played him was quite elastic as well.
Great elasticity is also something you might see in
well trained Spetsnaz (Russian) agents. They often
out with Russian kettlebells too. They are for
strength gains and the ability to withstand ballistic
Why are stretching and flexibility considered
to these people? Stretching gives one the ability to
have explosive power available at one's fingertips
without the need to warm up. Of course most of us are
not martial artists or agents. But, you'll be happy
know there are plenty of other benefits.
Let me give you an example. After learning to sit in
the full lotus position for long periods of time, my
ankles became very flexible. One day I was walking
along and my left foot fell into a pothole. This
pushed my ankle sideways to about 90 degrees from
Amazingly, this didn't even hurt, not one bit. If my
ankle hadn't been so flexible, I may have suffered a
sprained ankle. At the very least, it would have hurt
Key point: stretching helps you to avoid injuries.
Not only that but if you do have a muscle, tendon or
ligament injury it should heal faster, theoretically
Stretching actually grows the ligaments, tendons and
muscles being stretched. They really grow longer over
Check with your physician before undertaking any type
of exercise, including stretching.
Here is some good
instructional material on stretching:
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