The Pre-Exhaust Method

The pre-exhaust method is a technique that was used unconsciously for many years, but it wasn't until 1996 that it was defined as a method in Brazil. Then, it was presented as a way to strengthen the bones and ligaments, because it builds muscles in a different way than traditional training.
The Pre-Exhaust Method

Last update: 17 December, 2018

Do you feel that you have tried everything but your muscles are still small and do not have much strength? If so, this post is for you! We bring you the pre-exhaustion method, a technique that will help to grow your muscles when you thought it would not be possible. Keep reading.

The pre-exhaustion method, also called pre-fatigue, consists of isolating your training to a specific group of muscles. This is accompanied by a few sets of compound exercises at the end of the training session. This method helps you to take the step that your muscles need to start growing and acquiring strength.

A matter of technique

The pre-exhaustion method places concentration on specific muscles, subjecting them to work twice as hard than conventional training. This causes muscular exhaustion, before mental exhaustion.

Also, after muscle isolation, compound exercises are performed in order to limit the strength of the muscles already worked and use secondary muscles. This technique guarantees good results, however, you should be cautious, since this method of training is quite delicate.

Pre-exhaust method: Man exercising his forearm.

Here is an example of pre-exhaustion training:

  • Step 1: focus on a single group of muscles. Adductor, biceps, quadriceps, among others. Let’s say you choose quadriceps, in isolation, you can perform several sets of the leg press.
  • Step 2: at the end of step 1, perform an exercise involving the same group of muscles, in this case: squats.

It’s that simple! Use two steps, the first one more demanding than the second. However, together they achieve muscle growth through fatigue.

Ideal for everyone?

Can the pre-exhaustion method be performed by everyone? No, this method isn’t ideal for everyone to follow. It’s neither better for men, nor worse for women, it depends on the physical capacity that each individual has. That is, people who are just beginning in the world of exercising shouldn’t try this method.

This method is aimed at people who already have enough training, who have already worked with weights and who have prior knowledge of how certain exercises are performed. It’s not a simple method, so it is important that beginners do not try this method until they gain more experience.

Advantages and disadvantages

As with everything in the world, this technique has advantages and disadvantages. You should keep in mind that the advantages and disadvantages go beyond the results. That is, there has to be a balance between how much pre-exhaustion benefits you and how much it hurts you. This is in order to avoid problems in the future. Therefore, we’ll explain the advantages and disadvantages of the pre-exhaustion method:


  • Your muscles grow and strengthen.
  • You don’t exhaust yourself mentally.
  • It’s not routine as you can vary the muscle groups.
  • It allows you to move faster.
Pre-exhaust method: Woman feeling tired.


  • Risk of overtraining.
  • More prone to suffer from soreness.
  • It’s not designed for just anyone.
  • It’s highly demanding.

Focus on you

The pre-exhaustion method gives excellent results in reference to the muscles, but don’t neglect other areas of your life either. Eat the best you can, and incorporate proteins and carbohydrates in your diet. This is a training method that involves the consumption of energy. Therefore, your body should be as healthy and nurtured as possible.

In addition, be sure to rest enough, as the name implies this process ‘exhausts’ the muscle. To replenish the muscles you must rest for the necessary amount of time for your body to recover. This is really important, because if you don’t have the rest that your body deserves, then your muscles won’t recover properly, which prevents their growth.

Also, don’t abuse this method. Despite the desire to grow your muscles, remember that your highest priority is the wellbeing of your body. Now that you know everything about pre-exhaustion, you could try it if it’s within your means.

This text is provided for informational purposes only and does not replace consultation with a professional. If in doubt, consult your specialist.