Supersets are awesome. They’re high intensity, quick, and effective. You’ll do the same amount of work in a shorter amount of time, getting you out of the gym faster. Also, by working the same or directly opposing muscles (like biceps and triceps), you can increase the production of lactic acid, growth hormone, and increase muscle fiber activation. Stronger, faster. It’s not for every workout, but is a great technique to mix up your routine, get out of a plateau, and make the most of a day you have less time.
I love Krista at Stumptuous. She makes so much sense and is so helpful to people like me who just need to get into the gym and start lifting instead of overthinking and stressing out about what to do. It doesn’t have to be complicated and we don’t need to do tons of different exercises. Instead, just adding some variety to the reps and sets can make enough difference to keep things interesting and challenging. Stumptuous gives a great breakdown on Basics of a Routine and highlights lots of ways to include variation and intensity to your routine, supersets being one of them. “There are two different kinds of supersets. In the first kind, you execute two or more different exercises for the same muscle group with little rest in between. That might include, f’rinstance, putting a set of preacher curls together with some concentration curls. Both exercises work the biceps, but in slightly different ways. The second kind of superset involves more or less the same principle, but instead works two opposing muscle groups. So you might pair the biceps curl with a triceps extension.”
The Chicago Tribune reports, “If you’re short on time — and your goal is to burn fat — step away from the treadmill. Now get into the weight room and try supersetting your resistance training. Supersets … involve performing two or more consecutive sets of strength work with little or no rest between sets…
‘Resistance exercise is about robust muscles, which are essential to healthy metabolism, disease resistance and quality of life as we age. When people are stronger, they can do more of everything, including other kinds of activity that burn calories more effectively.’ – Andrew Kelleher, Penn State Hershey College of Medicine.”
A favorite nutrition and exercise expert I follow is Dr. John Berardi. I did his free 5 Day Fat Loss Course and the simple, straight forward recommendations have stuck with me as I try to improve my diet. Or at least think about trying to improve my diet. Yesterday, Dr. Berardi posted this summary on getting the most out of your workout. Again, I appreciate his well-researched, common sense, results-driven method.
“For body transformation:
— weight training > aerobics
— interval training > aerobics
— supersets > straight sets
— explosive training > controlled sets
Conclusion: build your program around explosive free weight training in an interval/superset format.
(Of course, you need not exclusively do this. However, this is your biggest bang-for-buck. In other words, if you could do nothing else but 3 workouts a week, this is what you should do probably choose).”
Here’s a quick superset workout I’m doing today. It’s working opposing (antagonistic) muscle groups back to back. I adapted it from Bodybuilding tips.
Workout Focus: Supersets
A1: Full Squats – 3 Sets x 10 Reps
A2: Stiff-Legged Deadlifts – 3 Sets x 10 Reps
B1: Bench Press – 3 Sets x 10 Reps
B2: Barbell Bent-Over Rows – 3 Sets x 10 Reps
C1: Barbell Curls – 3 Sets x 12 Reps
C2: Weighted Dips – 3 Sets x 10 Reps
D1: Abs – Hanging Leg Raises 3 Sets x 20 reps
D2: Abs – Decline Crunches 3 Sets x 20 reps