Does Exercise Sequence Matters?
The order in which exercises are performed influences the overall effectiveness of a strength-training routine.
Generally speaking, the main goal of strength training is to stimulate the muscles to force them to adapt and grow stronger. This adaptation process is primarily influenced by the intensity (weight being lifted) and volume (total reps/sets) of the exercise.
There are a few different ways to sequence exercises, but the two most common methods are “linear” and “undulating.”
Linear progression involves performing exercises in a set order, while undulating progression changes the order of exercises from session to session.
Linear progression may be better for beginners, as it allows them to get a feel for the exercises and build up a base level of strength before adding more complexity.
Everyone is different and will respond to different exercises in different ways. If you are new to strength training, start with simple exercises focusing on one muscle group at a time. Once you have mastered these exercises, you can move on to more complex activities that work multiple muscle groups simultaneously.
Undulating progression may be better for more experienced lifters, as it can help to prevent boredom and staleness while strategically stimulating various muscle fibers and pushing more blood into the muscles.
It is also essential to make sure that you warm up properly before performing any strength-training exercises. A good warmup will help to increase your heart rate and prepare your muscles, which can help to prevent injuries.
Another Consideration is Your Goal.
If your goal is to increase your strength, then hitting your compound, multi-joint exercises like squats, deadlifts, and bench presses should be done first … while your central nervous system (CNS) is fresh.
And when I say first, I mean after a proper, full-body dynamic warmup. That goes without saying.
And if your goal is to increase your cardiovascular endurance, you should prioritize running, rowing, and biking.
Most importantly, we want to ensure we plan these priorities out in 8-12 week cycles, so there’s a purpose and a plan for our training sessions.
We don’t want to create “CNS confusion” by throwing everything but the kitchen sink at your body in every workout.
Don’t Confuse Your Nervous System
Your body taps into different energy systems and places other demands on your central nervous system based on the activity you’re asking it to do. So, asking your body to perform three sets of 5 barbell squats (a slow-twitch exercise), followed by five 20-yard sprints with a 30-second rest after each (a fast-twitch exercise), is going to leave your CNS dazed and confused.
Split up those exercises … either by doing them on different days of the week or different weeks of the month. That depends on how you set your program up.
An expert can strategically vary the sequence of exercises to maximize the effectiveness of the routine.
And remember, movement quality is just as important as the sequence in which the exercises are performed.
If you need help organizing and optimizing your training program, feel free to comment or message me. I’d love to help …
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