This weeks #TrainingTips post is all about supersets.
Supersets you ask, what are they and how can they be useful to me?
Supersets must be one of the most widely used training protocols out there. I take advantage of this protocol all the time especially when I haven’t got a much time to spare.
So what are supersets?
Supersets are a way of boosting the intensity of your workouts and actually getting more work done in a shorter amount of time.
How’s this done? Well the aim is to pair up two different exercises back to back and complete them without resting. Any exercises can be paired up together to make a superset and here are some general rules you can follow:
Same Muscle Group Pairing
By pairing two exercises that work the same muscle group you can promote higher amounts of muscle fibre breakdown through muscle exhaustion, which can lead to muscle growth.
Opposite Muscle Group Pairing
Research suggests by pairing two exercises together that work opposing muscle groups, the opposing muscle group of what was worked first tends to receive a strength boost immediately after an intense contraction. So you might actually be stronger in the second exercise in the superset than if you were performing that exercise via normal sets. This is why it’s a good protocol to alternate the muscle that goes first in the superset so that both muscles gain the benefit from being trained second.
Of these two different types of pairing protocols you can make further variations to these by the type of exercises you use. By changing around the use of compound and isolation exercises you can cause greater intensity and exhaustion.
Here are some examples of how you can pair them up:
- Compound to Isolation (Post-exhaustion)
- Isolation to Compound (Pre-exhaustion)
- Compound to compound
- Isolation to Isolation
I personally use a lot of opposite muscle group pairing and start off with paired compound movements and typically finish on combinations of compound to isolation exercises.
Supersets are an intelligent way to train and to achieve a high metabolic effect. This is due to the muscles being under tension for a greater amount of time. Supersets are typically about twice as long time under tension of lifting, which keeps your heart rate up that much longer. This is why there is a great cardiorespiratory element to this method of weight training that increases calorie burning and overall conditioning. That being said supersets can very demanding from a metabolic and muscular-stress standpoint, that’s why training in this fashion should be limited to two to three times per week and like I’ve said before rest and recovery are key to progressing in your goals.
Here’s some examples of some supersets you could use:
Upper-Body Superset Combos
- Pull Up / Bench Press
- Dumbbell Row / Overhead Press
Lower-Body Superset Combos
- Deadlift / Front Squat
- Stiff Leg Deadlift / Kettlebell Swing
- Step Up / Lunges
Best Upper/Lower Body Superset Combos
- Squat / Pull Up
- Deadlift / Overhead Press
Caution should be taken if you are combing up lower body exercises like Deadlifts and Squats, as these are hugely fatiguing on your central nervous system. So my advice if you do combo these up don’t max out on the weight, do you heavy stuff normally then use these examples as accessory work at the end.
Have a great weekend guys.
Stay strong and live, love and laugh!