Pre-exhaustion (PreEx) training is advocated on the principle that immediately preceding a compound exercise with an isolation exercise can target stronger muscles to pre-exhaust them to obtain greater adaptations in strength and size. However, research considering PreEx training method is limited. The present study looked to examine the effects of a PreEx training programme. Thirty-nine trained participants (male = 9, female = 30) completed 12 weeks of resistance training in 1 of 3 groups: a group that performed PreEx training (n = 14), a group that performed the same exercise order with a rest interval between exercises (n = 17), and a control group (n = 8) that performed the same exercises in a different order (compound exercises prior to isolation). No significant between-group effects were found for strength in chest press, leg press, or pull-down exercises, or for body composition changes. Magnitude of change was examined for outcomes also using effect size (ES). ESs for strength changes were considered large for each group for every exercise (ranging 1.15 to 1.62). In conclusion, PreEx training offers no greater benefit to performing the same exercises with rest between them compared with exercises performed in an order that prioritises compound movements.
Fisher, J., Carlson, L., Smith, D., & Steele, J. (2014). The effects of pre-exhaustion, exercise order and rest intervals in a full body resistance training intervention. Applied Physiology, Nutrition and Metabolism, 39(11), 1265-1270. https://doi.org/10.1139/apnm-2014-0162