Compound Sets: performing two exercises that work the same muscle group; “compounding” movements on top of each other. Example: performing a reverse curl and following it with a hammer curl.

Compound sets can be used to save time mainly by tiring a certain muscle group by hitting it from different angles back-to-back. If you were to do this for the back, it may be performing a lat. pulldown followed by a seated row.

When performing compound sets, always keep in mind the second exercise you do will be done with a smaller load than the first exercise. Don’t get bent out of shape and quit if it seems like you’re getting weaker throughout the workout – you aren’t.

Example:

Perform one set of each pair of exercises back-to-back with no rest in between, then move down to the next pair of exercises and continue on. Aim for 3 sets of each pair, with 1-2 minutes of rest after each round.

  1. Barbell bench press / incline dumbbell bench press
  2. Barbell bent over row / lat. pulldown
  3. Goblet squat / dumbbell walking lunge
  4. Hammer curl / EZ bar curl
  5. Dips / cable tricep pushdown

Pre-Exhaustion: performing a single-joint exercise immediately before a multi-joint exercise targeting the same muscle group. Example: performing a chest fly (to exhaust the pecs) and following it with a dumbbell bench press.

Pre-exhaustion is a moderate- to high-intensity method that shouldn’t be performed by beginners. The second lift (using the example above – the dumbbell bench press) is much more difficult after performing the pre-exhausting lift (the chest fly). This method is used by those who are looking for a different/higher intensity stimulus to add to their training.

Example:

Perform one set of each pair of exercises back-to-back with no rest in between, then move down to the next pair of exercises and continue on. Aim for 3 sets of each pair, with 1-2 minutes of rest after each round.

  1. Chest fly / dumbbell bench press
  2. Hamstring curl / barbell deadlift
  3. Dumbbell reverse fly / seated row
  4. Overhead dumbbell tricep extension / dips
  5. Bicep curl / chin-up