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Pre-exhaustion refers to performing one or more sets of an isolation, singe-joint movement prior to the performance of a compound movement. [1] [2] This is done to prefatigue the larger muscle so it is stressed adequately, as sometimes smaller muscles may fail before the larger muscle is fully exhausted. [3] An example of this might be performing sets of dumbbell flyes to pre-fatigue the pectorals before doing sets of bench press, as sometimes the triceps give out before the pecs do.


  1. Donche, Dan (2008). FF Trainer Certification Guide. USA: Fatal Fitness. 
  2. Hatfield, Frederick C. (n.d.). Bodybuilding According to Joe Weider. Retrieved on 2008-08-11.
  3. Horowitz, Jay (n.d.). The Weider Principles. Retrieved on 2008-08-11.