Some bodybuilders believe that pre-exhausting a muscle with an isolation exercise (such as knee extensions for quads) before performing a multi-joint exercise (such as squats) will provide a greater stimulus for muscle growth. Not only is this wrong, now research proves it.

For years, I always suspected that most bodybuilders would be better off focusing more on building strength than this type of training – these so called advanced techniques are actually counter-productive for stimulating muscle growth. Now, scientific research appears to support my recommendations.

Using a technique called EMG to measure the electrical impulse of muscle activation, research shows that when the pre-exhaustion technique is followed, muscle activation is actually reduced, not increased. This reduction in muscle activation is mainly due to muscle fatigue and a reduction in overload utilized during the all-important multi-joint exercise.

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I really want to add some good muscle size, but I just don’t have the time to train for hours each day and the eating you guys do just won’t fit in my schedule. Is there a less time consuming and less burdensome way to build muscle?

Weight training research for the last ten years has clearly shown that muscle hypertrophy (growth) depends on the amount of overload placed on the muscle. Overload determines the amount of muscle fibers recruited and the intensity of muscle activation. Therefore, always utilize the body position, limb range of motion and movement patterns that enable maximum overload.

Max-OT training was designed on the premise of maximum overload both in rep scheme and minimizing counter productive fatigue. While most athletes train to exhaustion, warm-up excessively, and train too long, Max-OT eliminates these counter productive mistakes and uses proven method that maximizes muscle growth with each workout.

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Your weight training research is a real eye-opener but my training partner is still not convinced about eliminating pre-exhaust and other advanced techniques. Could you provide a concise explanation on this topic that I can show him?

by Paul Cribb Ph.D. CSCS. time to read: 1 min