Fitness Friday: What Not To Pair


Ever been doing one of your exercises in a workout and realize that muscle group is getting pretty tired?  You’ve only done 15 reps of the weight that you’ve been working on for the past week at it’s only Monday!  If it’s not the first exercise in your workout, maybe you should relook at your routine and change a few exercises out for a different day or switch up their order.  Like wine and cheese, not all pair together – at least not one after another.

Everyone has their own workout split and order style they like to do – whether it be back & chest/arms/legs/shoulders/rest, 2 weight days/1 cardio/2 weights/1 cardio, circuits, supersets, or normal sets – but one thing I really recommend is to keep some exercises to different days or separate them by at least one exercise if they have to be done in the same workout.  This will really help keep the intensity of each single exercise up (you won’t have to take mid-set breaks) and ensure that you use proper form (your muscles won’t be all tired out, so no excuses!) on all reps.

If improving upon each individual exercise rather than the workout as a whole (like how fast you can get a routine done), then below are the not so tasty pairings that I suggest you don’t do one after the other in single exercises, supersets, tri-sets, gauntlets,etc. Furthermore, I will provide alternate orders/pairings to each of these unsavoury duos.

Bad Pairings

1.) Back Squats and Front Squats 

2.) Back/Front Squats/Deadlifts and any sort of rows

3.) Back/Front Squats and Leg Extensions

4.) Deadlifts and Pull-Ups/Chin-Ups

5.) Deadlifts and any sort of isolated bicep/tricep exercise other than close grip bench press

6.) Deadlifts and Straight Deadlifts


1.) Not going to have to much energy to crank out front squats after you’ve just done back squats (or vice versa) – you’re hitting your quads with two intense compound lifts in a row.

2.) Both types of squats and deadlifts engage your back to a fair extent; so do rows. Therefore it can cause quite a bit of stress on your back to do them one after the other.

3.) Basically the same explanation as above but having to do with your knees instead of back.

4.) Deadlifts do quite a number on your wrists so any kind of pull-up or chin-up is going to feel pretty tough and you won’t be able to do many in a row.

5.) Both biceps and triceps exercises (besides close grip bench press, as it involves your chest more) take a toll on wrists so best not to tire them out before doing deadlifts.  Also doing deadlifts before arm exercises, I find, makes doing curls quite painful in the wrists.

6. Basically the same explanation as #1 but involving deadlifts rather than squats.


1.) Back Squat/Hamstring Curl/Front Squat or Front Squat/Hamstring Curl/Back Squat or (adding to a different workout) Squat/Bench Press, Squat/Shoulder Press

2.) Bent over row/Hammer Curl/Squat*

Deadlift/Dumbbell Bench Press/Bent over row

or (adding to a different workout)

Workout X:  Squat/Bench Press or Bent Over Row/Bench Press

Workout Y: Bent Over Row/Shoulder Press or Squat/Shoulder Press

*We don’t want to do Squat/Hammer Curl/Bent over row as the curls will tire out your arms for doing bent over rows…unless you’re doing the pre-exhaust method.

3.) Squat/Straight Deadlift/Leg Extension or Leg Extension/Straight Deadlift/Squat

or (adding to a different workout)

Workout X: Squat/Bench Press or Leg Extension/Bench Press

Workout Y: Squat/Shoulder Press or Leg Extension/Shoulder Press

4.) Deadlift/Shoulder Press/Upright Row or Upright Row/Shoulder Press/Deadlift

or (adding to a different workout)

Workout X: Deadlift/Sumo Squat or Upright Row/Sumo Squat

Workout Y: Upright Row/Incline Bench Press or Deadlift/Incline Bench Press

5.) Deadlift/Bench Press/Tricep Press Down 

or (adding to a different workout)

Workout X: Deadlift/Front Squat or Tricep Pushdowns/Front Squat

Workout Y: Tricep Pushdowns/Shoulder Press or Deadlift/Shoulder Press

6.) Just don’t do back to back normal and straight deadlifts!

So now that you’re in the loop, try this technique out and see if it makes a difference for your individual lifts and even muscle soreness (if you happen to be a regular DOMS dude or dame).  Personally I like doing exercises that work the same muscle group directly or at least indirectly, but intensely enough to feel it; this way, I’m giving that/those groups one full day of rest at minimum.  Have a great Saturday and go make some muscles!

Tumhen pyaar!

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s