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Why the first move matters so much

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Starting a session with a lift that activates the muscle and gets blood flowing will prevent injury and allow you to lift heavier, says John Meadows

John Meadows is a national champion bodybuilder and works with many of the best physique athletes in the world. He is based in Columbus, Ohio.

Iron Insights

First comes first
The first exercise you do in a session is hugely important because you want to do a move that activates the muscles, gets the blood flowing and establishes the mind-muscle connection, and is easy on the joints and connective tissue.

Reduce injury risk
The weight shouldn’t be heavy and it’s about feeling the target muscle getting activated. Doing a pre-pump exercise to get blood into the muscle is a great way to warm up and goes a long way towards reducing the risk
of injury.

Go heavier later
Choosing the right first move of a session also allows you to lift heavier on subsequent moves. I’ve seen so many guys suffer pec tears when they start a chest session with the bench press, which is why I like to begin chest sessions on the Smith machine.

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