What is it about?

Current guidelines recommend performing multiple-joint (MJ) exercises early in an RT session followed thereafter by single-joint (SJ) exercises (ACSM 2009). The rationale for this recommendation is based on the premise that performance of MJ exercises is impaired when the involved muscles are prefatigued by prior SJ exercises (ACSM 2009). For example, performing the triceps pushdown would fatigue the triceps brachii, thereby impairing the ability to overload the pectoralis major during subsequence performance of bench press. However, paradoxically, athletes and practitioners usually perform exercises in the opposite order with paired sets (i.e., pre-exhaustion system) to maximize muscular adaptations (Ribeiro et al. 2017, 2018). This approach consists of performing an SJ exercise before an MJ exercise, with both exercises involving a common muscle group.

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Why is it important?

A limited number of studies have attempted to investigate the chronic influence of exercise order on markers of upper limb hypertrophy (Simão et al. 2010; Spineti et al. 2010), with somewhat conflicting results. However, to the authors’ knowledge, no previous study has investigated the effect of exercise order on hypertrophy of the lower limb and trunk lean soft tissue. Therefore, the purpose of the present study was to analyze the effects of 2 orders of exercises on muscular hypertrophy in young adult men. We hypothesized that both exercise order would be effective to induce increases in muscle mass, and that the order initiating by multiple-joint exercises would elicit greater improvements compared with the order initiated by single-joint exercises.


Our data suggest that both sequences are effective for increasing muscle hypertrophy over a short-term resistance training period; there may be a potentially beneficial hypertrophic effect for the mid-thigh by performing exercises in a manner that progresses from multiple-joint to single-joint exercises.

PhD Ademar Avelar
Universidade Estadual de Maringá

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This page is a summary of: Effects of order of resistance training exercises on muscle hypertrophy in young adult men, Applied Physiology Nutrition and Metabolism, April 2019, Canadian Science Publishing, DOI: 10.1139/apnm-2018-0478.
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