Which exercises to do first?

When building a workout, we were always told to first perform the multi-joint, compound movements such as squats, presses, and deadlifts. And there is a certain logic to it since those lifts require the most energy and focus. Once those exercises are done, the trainee moves on to the single-joint exercises to finish the workout.

However, I am proposing something radical: do at least some of the small exercises first.

There a few reasons for this:

Most of us are not ready to train when we enter the gym. A few light sets of single-joint exercise work well to center you and get you ready
Very often, the smaller exercises are an after-thought and basically wasted. By doing them first, you actually get something out of them
Lastly, they make your workout more effective by creating an effective mind muscle connection. As an example most athletes get very little out of pull because they do not connect to their lats. A few sets of stiff pull downs are a great way to get a nice pump and will set you up for a way more effective workout.
Here are some potential pairings.

Chest – cable flyes before heavy presses to properly warm up the pecs, shoulders, and elbows
Back – stiff arm pull downs before heavy pulls to activate the lats
Squats – leg curls to loosen up and fill the hamstrings with blood and get the knees ready (especially for us, older people)
Shoulders – mix out of side and rear delt raises or light, clean press before you start heavy pressing work

In case you are worrying about pre fatigue, don’t. If anything, doing the above will make your workout more productive overall.

Yes, even bodybuilding evolves; don’t fall behind and optimize your training!Maik