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Clin Physiol Funct Imaging. 2013 Sep;33(5):359-63. doi: 10.1111/cpf.12036. Epub 2013 Mar 6.

Influence of exercise order on upper body maximum and submaximal strength gains in trained men.

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Graduation Program in Human Development and Technologies, Human Performance Laboratory São Paulo State University-UNESP, Rio Claro, SP, Brazil.


The purpose of this study was to investigate the influence of exercise order on one-repetition maximum (1-RM) and ten-repetition maximum (10-RM) strength gains after 6 weeks of resistance training (RT) in trained men. Sixteen men were randomly assigned into two groups based on the order of exercises performed during training sessions: a group that performed large muscle group exercises first and progressed to small muscle group exercises (LG-SM); while a second group performed the opposite sequence and started with small muscle group exercises and progressed to large muscle group exercises (SM-LG). Four sessions of RT were conducted per week; all exercises were performed for three sets of 8-12 repetitions with 1-min rest intervals between sets. Maximal and submaximal strength were assessed at baseline and after 6 weeks of RT with 1-RM and 10-RM testing for the bench press (BP), lat pulldown (LPD), triceps pulley extension (TE) and biceps curl (BC), respectively. Two-way ANOVA for the 1-RM and 10-RM tests indicated a significant group x time interaction. The 1-RM values significantly increased for all exercises in both groups (P<0.05), but were not significantly different between groups. However, effect size (ES) data indicated that the LG-SM group exhibited a greater magnitude of gains (1-RM and 10-RM) for the BP and LPD exercises. Conversely, ES indicated that the SM-LG group exhibited a greater magnitude of gains (1-RM and 10-RM) for the TE and BC exercises. In conclusion, the results suggest that upper body movements should be prioritized and performed according to individual needs to maximize maximal and submaximal strength.


exercise order; muscle force; repetitions maximum; resistance training; submaximal strength

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