SHOULD WE WORK MAJOR MUSCLE GROUPS BEFORE MINOR?
I am pretty sure you have been told never to work your biceps before you back, or your triceps before your pecs. This is taken from the bodybuilding Bible, but should we take it as gospel? Beware if you intend on breaking these sacred rules you will not go unscathed and may indeed endure the wrath of the anti-builders! Your chest and back will shrink right before your eyes and you will be destined to morph into some distorted Popeye type of caricature with huge arms minus chest and back! All joking aside. The truth is whether you choose to work your biceps before your back or your triceps before your shoulders it will not impact your overall development. Why? Because your body is much smarter than that. In fact there are times when it’s advisable to work your biceps before you back. For example if you are one of those trainers that finds their biceps and forearms get most of the load on a lat pulldown, to the point where you struggle to even feel your lats. By performing your biceps first you will preexhaust them and allow your lats to take the majority of the load. The same rule applies to those struggling with deltoid isolation. If you perform your triceps first and preexhaust them your deltoids will take more of the load. Either way whether you work your smaller muscle groups before you large it all falls into insignificance if one vital element if not applied Hard Work! How much effort you invest into your workout sessions is far more important than the order in which your perform your exercises. Getting too caught up on designing some kind of fancy routine that is suppose to hit every muscle from every angle is kind of futile if there is not enough intensity invested into the workout. Some of the routines I have seen look more like a launch sequence for the space shuttle than a weight training program! This is where over thinking a situation can actually distract you from the key aspects of a workout. Good old hard work will always beat some fancypants routine.
Getting back to the order in which you perform your exercises, I often perform circuit style workouts where I go from one exercise to another. For example I may jump from shoulder press, to barbell curls, to seated rows and so on. I can tell you this, it is a tough workout and you may actually find that this style of workout adds more quality lean mass than a standard set/rest/set/rest style of workout. The super circuit style of workout builds great tieins between muscle groups. For example try barbell curls followed by upright rows. This is gives you an awesome pump and really etches some good detail and separation between the outer
deltoid and bicep. I have never been an advocate of straight set style workouts because I believe there is plenty of time to rest once we step outside of the gym. When you enter the gym you should be in work mode. You want to give it 110% and get in as much as you can in the shortest possible time. Aim to lift as heavy as you can while still maintaining good exercise form. Take each set to failure and end with a few partial reps. Can this lead to over training? I am over the term overtraining. The human body is an amazing machine. It easily adapts to the workload you place upon it. The golden rule is, if you invest as much effort into your nutrition as you do with your training the likelihood of you over training is very slim. Over training is a term thrown around rather loosely. The majority use this term as an excuse to workout less. From my observations the average (and I say average) gym goer only trains at 5070% of their true intensity level. They never hit the 100% mark on the intensity scale. So therefore the chances of them over training are slim to none existent. To sum things up. Don’t get caught up on numbers, grouping of body parts or some over complex workout plan. When you hit the gym, hit it like you mean it. Make every rep count and take every set to failure. Good old hard work is the true secret to building a rock solid physique. Back this up with a comprehensive nutrition plan and you can’t go wrong.