This is a big question, does exercise sequence matter in your workout?
Yes, it does.
Let me give you some of the reasons why…
- High Threshold Motor Unit Recruitment
The central nervous system needs to be engaged at the start of a workout to help stimulate high threshold motor units, in turn, more muscle fibers are recruited leading to higher levels of hypertrophy.
Usually, multi-joint compound exercises are the best way to do this. However, sometimes starting with an isolation exercise, using lots of non-failure “feel” sets can be good to improve the neurological connection. This is true of muscle groups you struggle to “feel.”
- High Threshold Motor Unit Fatigue
High threshold motor units fatigue as the workout goes on, meaning it becomes harder and harder to recruit muscle fibers to the level needed to achieve enough stimulation. For this reason, going to isolation exercises towards the end can help you sustain enough stimulus without burning out.
What I always say is, prioritize weaker muscle groups at the start of a workout – for example, I make people train calves first in #BigflexDoggClub because most people need to improve this area the most!
- Strength Vs Isolation
With fatigue comes a loss of strength, this is logical. At the start of the workout where you will be lifting heavier on compound lifts and really going for it with the weight, you want to be fresh for this. Later in the workout, it doesn’t matter so much when you’re doing more “pump” sets with isolation lifts.
There are many more reasons why exercise sequence does matter, and why it can change depending on a wide variety of variables. These points should help you understand some of these things.
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