Heavy Today, Pre-Ex Tomorrow

Recovery times can vary a great deal between individuals, so many people err on the side of caution and train so that they get a full 7 days of recovery before hitting a specific bodypart again. While I’ve personally found that that to be great for strength gains, it doesn’t always work well for muscle growth, and can often be too much.  My experience is that it can actually be enough time to regress from a size-building standpoint.

Training with all-out heavy weights all of the time, however, can cause its own issues. What’’s a trainee to do? Well, by using some creative structuring of your routine, you can actually hit a bodypart more often without constantly crushing your joints, and without going on rep-mania rampage.

Here’s a plan that will allow you to hit each bodypart with low reps on a heavy, POF-based straight set day, and then with lighter pre-exhaustion work next time around. By using the pre-ex approach, you fatigue the muscle group you’’re about hit, which forces you to use less weight for less potential joint damage while also increasing tension times and causing an incredible pump.

Below is a two-week sample of how you can put this method to the test:


Chest (heavy), midback (light), calves (heavy), abs (light)

Quads (heavy), hams (light), forearms (light)

Wednesday: Off

Delts (heavy), lats (light), triceps (heavy), biceps (light)

Midback (heavy), chest (light), Abs (heavy), calves (light)


Hams (heavy), quads (light), forearms (heavy)

Lats (heavy), delts (light), triceps (light), biceps (heavy)

Wednesday: Off

Chest (heavy), midback (light), calves (heavy), abs (light)

FridayQuads (heavy), hams (light), forearms (light)

Here’s a sample how to perform the sets on heavy versus pre-ex days:

Midrange           2-3 x 6-9
Stretch               1-2 x 6-9
Contracted         1-2 x 6-9

Pre-exhaust Superset
Contracted       2 x 10-12
Midrange         2 x 10-12
Midrange          1 x 10-12
Contracted       1 x 10-12
(or do 1-2 contracted sets of 10-12 reps with no superset)

Incorporate this into your current routine for a few weeks, or start from scratch and use this as an outline to start an all-new routine. You’ll find that you get plenty of muscle-building work, and no bodyparts are neglected.  It’’s very unlikely that you’ll dip into the overtraining abyss, and there’s almost no risk of getting bored.

For an incredibly effective all-out muscle assault, check out 20 Pounds of Muscle in 10 Weeks e-book.  It contains the exact easy-to-flow training program I used to pack on 20 pounds of muscle in just 10 weeks.

About the Author

Jonathan Lawson has been working in the health and fitness industry for over 20 years; weight training for 21 years, competed in numerous bodybuilding competitions, worked for IRON MAN Magazine for 17 years, co-owns X-Rep.com where he has co-published over 15 e-books and writes a daily training blog.  He has appeared on the covers of, and been featured in, dozens of international magazines, books and e-books.

Facebook Comments