Sports scientists in Romania have concluded that 'fine-tuning' your workout – especially the order in which exercises are carried out has no effect whatsoever on increasing muscle mass.
The study published in the Journal of Medicina Sportiva flies in the face of the accepted bodybuilding wisdom of training bigger muscle groups (like back and chest) with compound exercises first while leaving the smaller ones (like biceps and triceps) until later in the routine.
It's why most bodybuilders get squats and deadlifts out of the way first thing!
For gaining muscle size it has long been understood that you should recruit as many motor units as possible during exercise to get the fastest results for muscle growth.
However, the new research paper claims this theory is incorrect, with the authors of two two new studies saying their findings showed no significant difference between groups in strength gains for any of the exercises or any significant difference in muscular hypertrophy when small muscle groups were performed first compared to large muscle groups.
They concluded that when repetitions (reps) were standardized for workouts the amount of muscle growth was the same whether small or large muscle groups were hit first.
The news, while controversial in some quarters, will come as no surprise to those bodybuilders who adhere to the KISS (Keep It Simple Stupid) school of bodybuilding – where basic exercises and CONSISTENCY are prized above 'sophisticated' get big theories.
The report's lead author concluded, “There is very little evidence to suggest that any specific sequence of exercise affects strength gains or muscular hypertrophy.
“As long as volume remains equal for workouts, it should make very little difference which exercise is performed first.”