What are the advantages of pre-exhaustion vs. post exhaustion supersets? They both can add muscle and definition to your body in a short amount of time. A superset involves performing one exercise right after the other with no rest between the sets. Basic supersets involve two (or more) exercises from opposing muscle groups. Examples include biceps with triceps or bench press with barbell rows.
However, when discussing pre-exhaustion and post-exhaustion, the superset targets the same muscle groups. You train muscle groups in either a single or multi-joint exercise. Then you immediately train with the opposite (single or multi-joint) exercise.
Doing so forces the target muscle to work beyond its normal capability. You stress the target muscle before (pre) the second exercise or after (post) as the superset’s second exercise.
How pre-exhaustion supersets training works
To simplify, remember that you perform the isolation (single joint) exercise first. You are pre exhausting the target muscle(s) before performing a larger compound (multi-joint) exercise.
Examples would include dumbbell flyes followed immediately with bench presses or leg extensions (thighs) followed quickly by squats (thighs and your entire lower body). In this example, your quads are pre-exhausted then immediately trained again as you squat. This is a great way to train your target muscle and the muscles supporting or accessory muscles!
Advantages of pre-exhaustion supersets
- Training increases workout intensity by forcing the target muscle to the point of muscular failure and then pushing that muscle (or muscles) through even more training volume using a compound exercise.
- Supersets help you develop a mind-muscle connection. The isolation exercise at the beginning forces you to focus on the targeted muscle group and then expand your focus to the muscles performing in a compound exercise.
- Pre-exhaust training is a great recovery technique if you are injured or over-trained from heavy exercise, which may cause excess stress to your ligaments and joints. Pre- exhaustion training is less likely to cause trauma to your joints.
How post-exhaustion training works
During a post-exhaustion superset, you will perform the “larger” compound exercise first and immediately follow it with an isolation exercise. Using the previous examples, you would perform your squats first, followed quickly by leg extensions or bench presses followed immediately by dumbbell flyes. This approach will have you “feeling the burn.”
Advantages of post-exhaustion supersets
- Supersets promote growth and density. The first compound exercise recruits more muscle fibers and provides greater metabolic benefits than the follow-up isolation exercise.
- Training allows you to isolate a muscle or muscle group that needs extra work, especially muscles (like calves) that are hard to train or slow to develop.
- Sets burn more calories and boost your metabolism.
Pre-exhaustion and post-exhaustion supersets should be part of your training routine.
Supersets save time (less rest and more exercises in less time), increase your training intensity, allow you to overload your muscles, make your workout more challenging, and add a little fun to your workouts. They promote new growth and are especially useful when training past plateaus.