2 exercises per muscle group mandatory?

  • Sometimes the gym is so busy that I can’t do 2 exercises per muscle group? If I only do, for example, bench press only for chest, is that okay?

  • The purpose of the second exercise in the series is to force muscle failure.  If you skip it, you are short changing yourself.  

    Whether you think you can or you think you can't, you're right ~ Henry Ford

    Michelle Simpson ~2009 Body-for-LIFE Champion 46+ Catagory

  • I agree with Champster 100%. The second exercise, that last set of 12, is the moment when the magic happens.

    Just to be clear, because there has been confusion about this before, are you doing 2 exercises at 12x, 10x, 8x, 6x, 12x, 12x or one exercise for 12x, 10x, 8x, 6x, 12x then switching exercises with no rest for the final set of 12x? Did that make sense?

    Here is what chest should look like:

    Bench press

    set of 12

    rest 1 min

    set of 10

    rest 1 min

    set of 8

    rest 1 min

    set of 6

    rest 1 min

    set of 12

    no rest and switch exercise say to flys

    set of 12

    rest 2 min

    Done. Move on to shoulders etc.

    The last 2 sets of 12 are the high point and amazing things happen then when you put your mind into it, tap your inner strength and go beyond lifting with your muscles.

    I hope this helps


  • I think you guys may have missed the real question.  Because I have also asked myself the same question.  

    I don't think he is asking if skipping the last rep is okay, but asking if he has to change the exercise used for the last rep.  I know that a different exercise on the same musle group will work different parts of the mussle out, but is it okay if forced to just do the same exercise because to change will allow for a cool down.

    Basically is it more important to change the exercise or prevent cooldown while going for that 10?    

  • IMHO if you allow any cooldown time you are shortchanging yourself and missing out on the maximum benefit of the high point technique. If there is absolutely no other alternative repeating the same exercise is better than waiting or skipping it. What I do before I start the first set of 12 for the high point is look around the gym and make a plan and a back up plan. there are numerous exercises for each muscle group and changing the exercise during the high point forces your muscles to move and lift in different ways and really promotes muscle tearing which equals muscle growth. which I personally want.

    I hope that is helpful


  • What I do in this situation, on upper body exercises at least, is change my grip so that the muscle is being utilized in a slightly different way. For example, the row machine has an upper and a lower grip. I do five sets using the upper grip and then the last set using the lower grip. If I am doing wide grip pulldowns, I switch to a narrow grip pulldown for the second exercise.

    I think this is a good question to ask now because after the holiday season the gym is going to become very crowded for a few weeks. Happens every year.

    Want it. Plan it. Do it.

  • That is how I view it also.  The peak to me is more important then the switch if it forces a cool down, but it is better to switch because you get to push other parts of the same muscle group.

  • Can you say do benchpress.. but because the gym is full, do a superset of benchpress because the machine or weights aren't available to switch to flyes, for example.

    So you are doing 24 (superset) of just the benchpress??

  • I would switch if at all possible. If you have a bench already then you can switch to flys or switch to incline or decline or do dips or like Saralynn said if you are doing straight bar at least change the width of your grip. But IMHO switch to something else in order to get the maximum benifit and really tear up your muscles. Make any sense?

    I hope this helps


  • To give you a different answer, you can absolutely reach muscle failure without doing a 2nd exercise for each muscle. The focus is on working the muscle and intensity, not how many exercises you must do. BFL way works, and so do 100's of other ways as well.

  • Saralynn - you are so right. I am sure the gyms will be starting to get crowded as the new year approaches and a back up plan will be needed. I liked Orrin's idea of adjusting just that little bit to get in an incline fly or press if you couldnt change machines. I also wanted to mention that I have heard of others carry in their own cheap rubber workout bands and at times have to strap them onto a bar to finish off their last set for chest and then again others that just use their bodyweight and do pushups to failure.

    Like Saralynn says - plan.

  • During the upper body workout I plant myself next to the dumbbell rack and this will work well for incline, flat on chest, back, shoulders, biceps and triceps. Lower body is a different story when the gym is full. So...communicating with others will work out well if I am also considerate. The good thing, is that I'm only looking to work in with someone for one set. Ideally,a 5am workout, there is no problem :)

    I find this is all part of my challenge.


  • IMHO switching to a different excercise (press to flyes) works/stimulates/exhausts a different set of fibers in the muscle of interest.   You can get the same effect by changing the incline of the bench, or your grip postion, as Orrin points out.  It's not really necessary to change excercises to exhaust the muscle, but you'll want to work other parts of it on the next workout.   Although recommended by the BFL program, there are plenty of other lifting routines bodybuilders use that don't involve this switch, and that also produce results.


    Once I discovered the joys of weight training, all other passions were transcended.


  • The second exercise is not necessary in my opinion for two reasons:

    - it takes time to switch another exercise anyway, so your, in effect,  taking a rest period

    - by doing only one exercise, you are tearing up the same muscle all the way through to your 10

    I try to use a different exercise every 2-3 weeks for certain muscle groups instead.   On my last set, I only wait about 40-45 seconds instead of the full mintue and go right back after it.  

  • We use to have the same problem and what we would do is just do 24 reps of the same exercise for the last round : ) TOTAL muscle failure will normally occur : ) I am one of the biggest proponents of being constantly varied and using a wide variety of exercises though when possible.

    The main point to me though is at least your doing something!!! 24 bench presses for your last round are better than sitting on the couch! Don't sweat the small stuff and the real key is INTENSITY...that's where the results will happen!

    All the best!