When using supersets, what is better…an isolation exercise followed by a compound exercise, or vice-versa?
Supersets are a great intensity technique and are excellent for both building mass while bulking and quality while cutting. The question of which is better, pre-exhaust (an isolation exercise followed by a compound exercise), or post-activation (a compound exercise followed by an isolation exercise) is difficult to answer. Both methods have merit. Pre-exhaust allows you to pre-fatigue the target muscle first, and then when it fails, continue the bombardment with a compound movement that utilizes assisting muscles. Post-activation, by starting with a heavy compound exercise (usually 4-5 reps are used), stimulates the nervous system, which allows the isolation exercise that follows to activate more muscle fibers than it usually would. Since both of these methods have their own unique advantages i suggest that you use both techniques for a period of time. Utilize pre-exhaust for 4-6 weeks, and then post-activation for 4-6 weeks. Follow that with 8-12 weeks where no supersets are used. This will give you the best of both worlds while preventing boredom, stagnation, and burnout.
I am the coach of a serious teen football team. What type of abdominal exercises are best for my players?
I believe the best abdominal exercises for athletes are those performed on a swiss ball. This is vastly superior to flat surface abdominal training as the rounded surface of a swiss ball allows for a much greater range of motion, as well as an “unstable environment” to train in. This “unstable environment” will improve the balance of each player and work the stabilizer muscles, which in turn will lead to greater agility during games. Balance is an essential part of all sports and weak/tired stabilizer muscles can cause poor performance on the field. Swiss ball crunches and reverse crunches are two basic and easy to master exercises, and they will improve core strength tremendously. Also remember, almost all basic weight lifting exercises can be adapted for use on a swiss ball, and the unique training stimulus they provide have a direct “crossover” to sports activities.