The Weider Muscle Priority Training Principle dictates that muscle groups that you are trying to zero in on should be trained first in your workouts, because that’s when those muscles are the strongest and not fatigued. This maxim is essential when you’re trying to bring up certain muscle groups, because it allows you to train them with heavier weight and higher intensity.


Brazilian researchers performed a study in which men trained their upper body for eight weeks doing exercises in one of two orders. Some subjects performed exercises for large muscle groups (chest, back and shoulders) first and small muscle groups (biceps and triceps) last in the workout in the following order: bench press, lat pulldown, shoulder press, barbell curl and triceps extension. The other subjects performed exercises for the smaller muscle groups first, using the opposite order: triceps extension, barbell curl, shoulder press, lat pulldown and bench press.


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The researchers reported in the Journal of Science and Medicine in Sport that regardless of the order that the exercises were performed, strength on the exercises that were performed at the start of the workout increased the most compared to the exercises performed at the end. The difference was most significant when it came to training arms first.


This study confirms that the Weider Priority Training Principle is critical for focusing on bringing up muscle groups that are lagging, especially when those muscle groups are the biceps and triceps.


We are not suggesting that you train biceps and triceps before chest, back or shoulders. That would bring up your arms, but at the expense of the rest of your upper body. The take-home message here is to be sure to train arms on workouts when you can do them first, such as a workout that is solely arms, or before muscle groups that will not be affected, such as legs. – FLEX