Influence of exercise order on the number of repetitions performed and perceived exertion during resistance exercises.J Strength Cond Res. 2005 Feb; 19(1):152-6.JS
This study examined the performance effects of exercise order during a resistance-training session composed of only upper-body exercises. The 10 repetition maximum of 14 men and 4 women with at least 6 months of previous weight-training experience was determined for 5 upper-body exercises. Each subject then completed 2 training sessions separated by 48 hours in a counterbalanced crossover design. One session began with exercises of the large-muscle group and progressed to exercises of the small-muscle group (sequence A), whereas the other session was performed with the opposite exercise sequence (sequence B). The exercise order for sequence A was free-weight bench press (BP), machine lat pull-down (LPD), seated machine shoulder press (SP), standing free-weight biceps curl (BC) with a straight bar, and seated machine triceps extension (TE). The exercise order for sequence B was TE, BC, SP, LPD, and BP. During both sequences, 3 sets of each exercise were performed to concentric failure, with 2-minute recovery intervals between sets and exercises. Performing exercises of both the large- and the small-muscle groups at the end of an exercise sequence resulted in significantly fewer repetitions in the 3 sets of an exercise. This decrease in the number of repetitions performed was especially apparent in the third set when an exercise was performed last in an exercise sequence.