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Generally speaking, after a thorough warm-up, you should focus on the most difficult or taxing exercises first, while you’re fresh. Depending on your program and your goals, this could range from power or speed specific exercises, ballistic throws, jumps, or even compound (multi-joint) exercises.
Whatever exercises are going to use the most muscle groups at once or are of the greatest intensity should be prioritized first in the workout.
After the primary or goal exercise is finished, then the accessory or supplemental exercises are done. These are the exercises that help to build the primary exercise, target and overcome your individual weaknesses, and build more muscle mass. With that being said, don’t have a closed mindset when it comes to training because there are many different ways to get the job done.
One of my favorite training protocols is John Meadows’ Mountain Dog training. In his training programs, Meadows performs all of his accessory work first in the workout. Using this order of exercises in the workout allows the lifter to prioritize their weaknesses, warm-up their joints prior to his ‘big’ lifts, and build some serious muscle mass.
Be warned, however, Mountain Dog training requires (and develops) serious work capacity – so if you’re not used to higher volume training programs, it will take some getting used to – but it’s worth it.
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