Build More Muscle With Pre-Exhaustion Training

Looking to spur your lower limbs to new levels of growth? Then it may be time to make the pre-exhaust principle part of your next leg workout. Pre-exhausting is performing a low-resistance set, or sets, of an isolation exercises prior to moving on to heavier, compound movements.

Leg Extension

In a study conducted over an eight-week period, researchers from Brazil had subjects performing one low-resistance set to failure (20% of their one-rep max, or 1RM) before moving on to more traditional weight training for a muscle group – and they found that the practice resulted in greater muscle hypertrophy, or growth, when compared to a group that did not use the principle.

Researchers had the young men train for eight weeks on a leg-extension machine. The program consisted of three sets of eight to 12 repetitions at 75% of 1RM. Before each workout, one pre-exhaustion group did a single set of leg extensions to exhaustion using light weight. The pre-exhaust group gained more muscle mass, strength and muscle endurance than the group training with traditional methods.



Exercise Sets Reps
Leg Extension 1 20
Squat 3 8-12
Walking Lunge 3 10-12
Leg Press 3 8-10
Romanian Deadlift 3 8-10
Lying Hamstring Curl 3 10-12
Leg Extension 3 10-12