What Is a Superset?

Supersets have been present in the weight-lifting universe for many years now. Arnold Schwarzenegger is one of the most important figures responsible for its popularity back in the day.

Many avid gym goers have been inspired by him and his use of the superset workout. The superset is undoubtedly potent equipment that you need to incorporate in your ideal training arsenal. You need to know about its benefits and how you can use them.

Superset Definition

A Superset consists of two exercises that are performed or executed back-to-back, and there is minimal to zero rest in between them. This practice can assist in cutting your workout time in half as you only rest once you complete the two moves instead of taking time right between every single set for only one exercise. Superset will be very useful if you are interested in building metabolic conditioning and muscular endurance.

What Is a Superset?

Superset Types & How To Use Them

There are three types of supersets that you can perform. They are as follow:

Antagonistic Superset – This superset is very common, and it pairs two exercises, which work for the opposing muscle groups. It enables the resting of one muscle while you are working on the other one.(1)

Here, an example of this workout would be performing bicep curls followed by triceps kickbacks. Also, another typical way for programming this superset type is by pushing and pulling movements concerning your upper body.

A superset example of the push/pull movement includes the pairing of chest press and bent-over row.

Another superset consists of the dominant exercise of the hip and knee that involves your lower body. A great example of this superset type includes the pairing of a squat and deadlift or the pairing of a hamstring curl and leg extension.

Agonistic Superset – For this superset, you need to pair two exercises, which work for the exact muscle group. It acts as a great way for overloading your muscles without having to lift heavy weights. For example, you can try lateral raises that are paired with a shoulder press. Another superset method that you can try includes pairing one main exercise with another assisting exercise such as a pushup and bench press or a pull-up and a dumbbell row.

The first exercise tends to improve your joint stabilization, while the second one increases your strength. If you are planning on adding supersets to your program, then avoid maxing out your weight on every exercise. It is very dangerous, especially if you have fatigued muscles. You will end up compromising your form. You need to focus on picking a challenging weight for about 8-12 reps.

Upper & Lower Body Superset – This specific superset tends to pair your upper and lower body exercise. It is very useful when you consider your available equipment and space. For instance, if you happen to perform chest files on the bench, it will be possible for you to smoothly transitioning into squats right beside the bench.

Superset & Its Benefits

Superset & Its Benefits

Here are some of the benefits that you can expect from using supersets:

Reduced Workout Time – Superset helps in reducing your total workout time. It is quite useful for all the athletes and busy lifters that wish to put in their work and stick with their busy schedules. You can try to add supersets for the accessory work if you are under a time crunch. It works quicker and enables you to obtain your complete workout volume.

Elevated Full Work Capacity – Your work capacity involves executing an amount of work that is goal-driven within a set duration, recover from your work, and adapt in a progressive manner. The lifters who wish to enhance their means of executing high work volumes in a lesser timeframe can locate benefits through supersets. It is because they naturally boost the work amount executed in a given set.

Hypertrophy Gains – Supersets also helps in benefitting the hypertrophy adaptations. Through the use of back-to-back focused exercises of the muscle group, it is possible to push yourself closer towards failure and also recruit additional muscle fibers once efforts elevate throughout your superset. However, you need to strategize your programming as excess back-to-back of this training will lead to quicker fatigue accumulation.

Variety & Fat Burn – It is boring to always execute the same old routine. You need to switch up your daily workout regiment from time to time. So, you can start incorporating some supersets for changing the speed and intensity of your workout. A superset is also useful for anyone that’s trying to shed fats and become lean. It also does a great job of activating your muscles. If you don’t like the idea of cardio, then you can try supersets instead.

Programming Your Supersets

If you are implementing supersets in your daily workouts, then you need to consider some important training variables. They include:

Being Goal-Oriented – If your main goal is being efficient, then you can try doing a superset that targets your upper and lower body. If you prioritize packing all the sizes, then the same-muscle type of supersets will be for you.

When you are aware of where to go with the training, then it becomes easier for you to make progress. Plus, you will know which areas need the most work.

Exercising Order – You should always prioritize multi-joint and compound movements. The last thing you would want is to be fatigued mentally and physically for a lift, which will provide the biggest benefit by performing it 2nd on a set.

If you are planning to pair a large multi-joint exercise along with a small isolation one, then ensure that you are first performing the potatoes and meat work.

Intensity – You need to pay heed to how you are doing every movement. You might need to resort to some superset tweaking and catering to your fitness level. You should realize that you are executing one set of two different movements that will boost the demand put on your body.

Summing It Up!

Yes, supersets are very useful for reducing your overall workout time. But that’s not the only thing that it does since there are a variety of benefits.

You can include supersets in your daily routine to achieve maximum benefits such as muscle building and fat burns. Once you get into it, it will get easier as you become accustomed to its movement, time, and intensity.

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I've been a bodybuilder and fitness enthusiast for over 15 years. I'm also a Karate black belt and personal trainer with a PHD in sports nutrition.