How to Build Muscle with the Crazy Effective Pre-Exhaust Training Method


One of the most undeniably noticeable characteristics of a fit, healthy, and attractive body (at least to most of us) is the proportionate distribution of muscle mass across one’s frame.  Strong, defined biceps, a curved, muscular butt, hamstrings that round out slightly, and a noticeable six-pack are things dreams are made of.  Of course, there are a million-and-one programs out there that promise to make those dreams a reality; some of them quite efficient, while others….not so much.

Rather than re-hash what you’ve probably already seen or read a hundred times over, I’m going to give you a brand new, and extremely effective way to hit your muscles, which will no doubt help you pack on the lean muscle mass you’re craving.  The technique we’re going to go over today is called pre-exhaust training.  In simple terms, it involves using isolation exercises to hit a muscle first, then quickly shifting to a compound exercise to bring the targeted muscle to complete fatigue, resulting in optimum growth potential.

Pre-Exhaust Training: Who’s it for?

As I mentioned, pre-exhaust training is fantastic for hitting your muscles in a completely unique way.  Most of us are using straight sets (3 sets of 8-10) or maybe even super sets (two exercises paired back-to-back with no rest between) to target our muscles.  While these formats are great, and have their place, unleashing a bigger arsenal of training techniques is absolutely vital to your muscle growth and overall progression towards your goals.

If you’re struggling to get past a strength plateau, pre-exhaust training is for you.  If you’re struggling to burn fat from a trouble area like your belly, pre-exhaust training is for you. If you’re not building muscle the way you want, pre-exhaust training is for you.  The only individuals I would advise not using pre-exhaust training are those with extreme weight loss goals (>50 lbs).  If you fall into this category, place more of an emphasis on cardiovascular drills and full body circuit workouts until you’ve brought your weight to a more manageable level.

Now, taking current fitness ability into account, these are my recommendations for who should use pre-exhaust training, and how they should use it.

  • Beginner’s – may want to ease into this type of training, using only one or two pre-exhaust training combinations to avoid over training and/or injury.
  • Intermidate’s – feel free to use pre-exhaust training, but be especially careful not to use this format of training too often, because it is quite intense and can lead to over training.
  • Advanced – Feel free to use this training as you deem best for your body and goals.

Over time, you should build your confidence and ability with pre-exhaust training, and ultimately start producing better and more efficient workouts.

Build Muscle FAST!

It’s no secret that pre-exhaust training will help you build muscle fast, provided your diet is on point of course.  The unique combination used in pre-exhaust training is really going to stimulate those deep muscles fibers, breaking them down more completely, before allowing them to regenerate bigger and stronger.  Another added benefit is that your muscles will experience fatigue long before neurological fatigue sets in, which means you’ll be able to get a more efficient workout.

By pounding those muscle fibers in this format, you’re going to unlock the growth potential you’ve had inside you all along.  The key obstacles between you and one of those unbelievably amazing bodies you see at the gym, is two-fold.  First, the owners of those unbelievable bodies know what it takes to build muscle.  Second, they also know nutrition is JUST as important as what they’re doing in the gym.  But I digress – today, we’re focused on what you can actively do in the gym to build that lean muscle mass.

A Pre-Exhaust Training Routine

Pre-exhaust training routines can use a wide variety of exercises.  Don’t feel like these are the only exercises that make a suitable pre-exhaust training routine.  The workout below is geared to be an upper body strength training day.  I would suggest using it once a week to start, and perhaps gradually bumping up to 2 or even 3 days a week if you’re a more advanced exerciser who knows their body well.

To supplement this pre-exhaust muscle-building workout, I’d suggest a day of HIIT cardio, perhaps some flexibility training, and maybe even a day of metabolic conditioning.  Again, your personal goals and body type are going to dicate all of these ratios.  There is no set ratio of what works and what doesn’t.  If you’re looking for some guidance what workouts you should be doing, and how often you should be doing them, just let us know and we’ll put something together for you.

Combo #1 

  • 10-12 reps Dumbbell Flys – no rest, go right into bench press
  • 8-10 reps Bench Press – no rest, go right into push ups
  • 10-15 reps Push Ups – rest 30-60 seconds, go back to dumbbell flys

Repeat this combo a total of four times through.

Combo #2

Repeat this combo a total of three times through

Combo #3

Repeat this combo a total of four times through

Combo #4

  • 10-12 reps Tricep Rope Pushdown – no rest go right into dips
  • til failure Dips – rest 60-90 seconds, go back to tricep rope pushdown

Repeat this combo a total of three times through

That should just about do it.  You probably noticed, but today’s focus was on back, biceps, triceps, chest, and shoulders.  A complementary pre-exhaust muscle-building workout would target the muscles we didn’t hit, i.e. legs and abs. You should feel free to switch between both types of workouts throughout the week, but of course, being mindful of not doing too much and halting growth by over training.

Stay tuned for the next part in our pre-exhaust muscle-building segment where we tackle a complete lower body workout as well as provide some tips to make pre-exhaust training even more beneficial to your personal goals.

Any comments or questions?  Leave a comment below and I’ll get back to you shortly!





12 thoughts on “How to Build Muscle with the Crazy Effective Pre-Exhaust Training Method”

  1. I love all these workouts, but what’s up with the stock images on the posts? How about something a little less sexualized and a little more realistic. We need motivation here, not bodyrock. Otherwise thanks for all your work!

    1. Hey Debbie – I understand how you feel. We try to walk a fine line between going too over the top and using an image that brings people in. It seems the most highly viewed and shared articles are the ones with more….risque photos attached. I apologize if you found it offensive and we’ll keep trying to find a better balance in future posts! Thanks for reading the blog!


  2. This is really good, have you got a home workout pre-exhaust routine by any chance? As a full time working mom, I cant get to a gym. Thanks in advance

    1. Hey Claire – if you’re looking for home-based workouts, you should check out our FitPlan program. We’ll build you a customized video workout plan based on your personal needs. If you’re not quite ready for that, I’d just suggest using dumbbells in place of barbells, and doing bent over rows in place of lat pulls. That should allow you to do this workout with minimal equipment.


  3. I’m doing this work out today and just figuring out when / what my other sessions this week will be. HIIT I tend to blend in with my weights in the same workout but here I’d be doing it separately.. what would an example of a “metabolic conditioning workout” be? I think its probably what I’m doing (circuit training with weights) but want to double check. My workouts are often 3-4 exercises upper, lower body and one compound exercises x 15-20 reps 3 times through and about 3 circuits (6-10 ex in total)…

    1. Hey Naomi –

      Sounds like you’re doing something pretty similar to the type of metabolic conditioning routines I create. I’ll typically mix big, compound lifts with uptempo plyometrics/cardio..ranging between 3-7 exercise circuits, repeated a variety of different times, for different lengths, with different focus, etc etc.

      If I were you, I’d consider bumping the weight on the compound movement, bringing down the reps, and making sure your cardio exercises are always explosive.

      Check out this workout for an idea of what I’m talking about:

      Any other questions, let me know!


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s