DECIDING THE ORDER OF EXERCISES
“Does the order of my exercises really matter?” This is a common, yet valid question. When it comes to deciding the order of your exercises in a session, there are 2 main things to focus in on.
We want to make sure the order is setup in a way that you can get the most out of each movement, without hampering the benefits you will get from the upcoming exercises.
What are you focused on, what’s your main goal?
Improving a specific movement (e.g wanting a bigger benchpress)?
Putting emphasis on a specific muscle group (e.g. bigger quads, arms, glutes, etc.)?
Or overall performance, such as improving each lift, while maximizing muscle growth?
For Efficiency, the main takeaway is that your compound movements should always come first, as these are the bang for your buck exercises.
This is pretty much universal, regardless of what training split you’re on, simply because you’re stimulating multiple muscle groups at once and you can move a lot more weight and accumulate more total workload than if you were to use an equivalent isolation movement.
You will always be able to move more weight on a weighted chin-up than you can with a bicep curl, you can move more weight with benchpress than with a tricep extension.
Now, this doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t do bicep curls or tricep press downs, as that would make me a hypocrite. I love both movements as they help with maximizing muscle growth, but they shouldn’t be prioritized before your compound movements.
If you were to benchpress before doing your tricep press downs, you see that the bench press didn’t really affect the amount of volume you can do on the press down. But on the other hand, if you do your isolation movements that involve any of the main muscle groups involved in the bench press, you’ll notice that the number of reps and sets and weight you can bench will be much less than normal had you benched fresh.
Even though the body only understands total workload, you want to maximize the total volume by prioritizing your lifts in an order that allows you to move the most amount of weight.
Example: It’s better to benchpress 225lbs 5×5 first, followed by 3×10 130lbs tricep pressdowns, than to hit tricep press downs 3×10 140lbs first, then only be able to benchpress 200lbs 5×5, due to pre-exhaustion and muscle fatigue.