Looking to maximise your time in the gym? Say hello to supersets. If you’ve ever taken a circuit-style workout class or spent time with a personal trainer, chances are you’ve heard of them. But, as popular as they are, there’s still confusion about what exactly supersets are and how exactly they help. Let’s get you up to speed with the superset facts.
Generally speaking, supersets are two different exercises performed back to back, with little to no rest in between. We say ‘little’ because you’ll probably take a brief break to catch your breath or gulp some water between each set.
The two exercises in question aren’t random, but supersets are still a flexible training method. The exercises can target opposite muscle groups, such as chest vs. back, biceps vs. triceps, quads vs. hamstrings, or even muscles from the same group (squats vs. quad extensions, overhead shoulder vs. lateral raise, or squats vs. lunges).
You can also work two different areas of the body; for example, one common superset is to perform an upper body exercise followed by a lower-body exercise. Read on to learn more about this method.
When you have a million-and-one to-dos, workouts can drop to the bottom of your priority list. Not good. Enter: the superset. Arguably one of the best ways to get more ‘bang for your buck’ is to perform a post-exhaust superset. This involves performing a compound movement (for example, 8 reps of bench press), followed by an isolated movement (like a dumbbell chest fly, also 8 reps). This way, you’re fatiguing the muscle you want to focus on during the compound movement, then focusing on it in the isolation exercise. Very good.
Using your rest periods to do more exercise triggers the physiological processes that encourage muscle growth. That is especially true with supersets with opposing sides of the body or opposing muscle groups. Since this type of supersets targets different muscles, you don’t need multiple rest periods. While you perform one exercise, you target a specific muscle group while the other is resting. Sold.
Thanks to the variation in targeted muscle groups and areas, supersets help you to sustain physical activity for an extended period. In short, you can work your muscles continuously for longer, without getting tired. This can benefit you in all areas of life – for example, if you’re a swimmer, you can target muscle groups utilised while swimming in a smart superset. Try a series of push-ups followed by squat jumps (without rest) to boost your upper body freestyle strokes and lower body butterfly strokes.
Ultimately, supersetting involves reducing and often eliminating rest periods. If your goals aren’t to increase muscular strength or power, supersets may not be for you.
But for those who wish to boost their overall strength, power, and endurance (or halve their time in the gym with the same results), find an EVO club near you to achieve maximum pump in minimal time.
Now that you learned the theory, let’s practice it! Here’s a 40-min full-body dumbbell workout that uses supersets to maximise your gains: