THE FIRST SET OF STRENGTH EXERCISES SHOULD BE OVER A SHORTENED MOVEMENT RANGE
Nosaka, K., Newton, M., & Sacco, P. (2001). Protective effect by short muscle length eccentric exercise on long muscle length eccentric exercise. Medicine and Science in Sports and Exercise, 33(5), Supplement abstract 689.
When strength exercises are performed through a maximum range during a first set, muscle damage occurs, even more so than in following sets of the same exercise. This study investigated the effect of a first bout of eccentric exercise, in which the range of movement was restricted, on a second bout of the full exercise. Male students (N = 12) performed 24 maximal eccentric actions first with a shortened action and then with the full action. Another group (N = 11) performed two bouts with the full action.
All measures changed significantly in the first bout. However, the full-action group exhibited significantly larger values. The second bout resulted in significantly smaller changes than did the first bout, with the initial full-action group being significantly less. That suggests a protective mechanism stimulated by the greater damage incurred in the first bout of exercise.
These data indicate that a restricted movement-range first bout of exercise will prevent severe muscle damage in subsequent exercises that are performed over a full movement range.
Implication. When performing strength exercises, the first set of every exercise should be over a reduced movement range, then followed by the full exercise in subsequent sets.
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