Supersetting For Better Workouts

Today I want to talk about a bodybuilding training technique that anyone can use to make their weight workouts more effective and efficient.

For those who don’t know, supersetting is doing two exercises without any rest in between.  There are a lot of ways to incorporate supersets into your workouts, but my favorite is to superset isolation exercises that target two opposing muscle groups.  An example would be cable curls supersetted with tricep pushdowns, or leg extensions supersetted with leg curls.  Do 10 to 15 reps on each exercise and rest 60 to 90 seconds in between each superset.  The great thing about supersetting in the manner I described is that the first exercise won’t affect your strength on the second exercise, so you can use just as much weight as normal and continue to build your strength even though you get through your workout quicker.

By supersetting, not only will you get through your workouts more quickly, but you’ll get a better muscle pump and you’ll get cardiovascular benefits from keeping your heart rate up longer.  By doing more work in less time, you’ll put a greater training stress on your body which will result in greater adaptation = better results.

Another popular way to incorporate supersets is to use compound movements for chest and upper back, like bench presses and bent over rows.  Try 5 sets of 10 reps each on the bench press and bent over row, with 60 to 90 seconds in between each superset.  Then do 5 sets of 10 reps each on incline dumbbell presses and lat pulldowns, with 60 to 90 seconds in between.  Be prepared for a huge upper body pump, but also be aware that you’ll have to use less weight than you normally use on those exercises due to the additional fatigue, so supersetting in this manner is more of a bodybuilding technique than a strength building technique.

Yet another way to use supersets is to do an isolation exercise to pre-exhaust a muscle before a compound lift, for example 15 reps of leg extensions immediately followed by 15-20 reps on the leg press.  Try it… your quads will be on fire.  This is definitely an advanced technique and is a great way to shock your muscles if you’ve been in a rut, but it’s rather intense so I wouldn’t do it all the time.

Give supersets a try and let me know how you like them!


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