Tip: To Grow, Do This BEFORE Your Big Lifts

Use this technique to increase your mind-muscle connection and build more muscle.

Pre-Stimulation Supersets

Ever feel your shoulders or triceps during a bench press? Or do you ever think your biceps are the only muscle screaming after a chin-up? Both are classic cases of poor mind-muscle connection and poor muscle fiber recruitment in target muscles.

To fix it, use pre-stimulating isolation movements before compound lifts. These are a great addition to your warm-ups. They improve muscle fiber recruitment of stubborn muscles before you use them with compound exercises.

The goal with these isn't pre-exhaustion. There's no need to tire out a muscle to the point where you can't emphasize it later. Just do 2-3 sets of 10-12 reps purely focused on squeezing the target muscle.

Here are three examples of pairing a pre-stimulation exercise with a compound exercise:

  1. Do cable flyes (see photo above) before you bench press. The goal: Improve the mind-muscle connection in your pecs instead of allowing the triceps and delts to take over.
  2. Do 45-degree banded back extension before you squat. The goal is to pump the glutes, hamstrings, and erectors to improve the stability of the knee and enhance the mind-muscle connection in your posterior chain instead of a quad-dominant squat.

  3. Do straight-arm pulldowns before you do pull-ups. Here's coach Christian Thibaudeau with more details on the exercise:

The goal is to improve the mind-muscle connection and recruitment of the lats, and to a lesser extent, the teres major, rather than your biceps and forearms in pull-ups.

Eric Bach is a highly sought-after strength and conditioning coach, located in Colorado. Eric specializes in helping athletes and online clients achieve optimal performance in the gym and on the playing field. Follow Eric Bach on Facebook