You can pair almost any exercise together to build muscle, lose fat or bring up body part that’s lagging behind.
Furthermore, you’ll do more work in less time and hit the showers early while everyone else is busy taking their Instagram selfies.
If supersets are NOT a part of your regular routine, you’re truly missing out. And you don’t want to miss out, do you?
Here is the lowdown on supersets and why they should be a part of your training.
Advantages of supersets
- Increase the efficiency of your training because you’re reducing the rest intervals between exercises. Having your equipment ready before you start works even better.
- Having reduced rest periods will increase the intensity of your training by performing more work in less time. More intensity leads to better results.
- Increased hypertrophy because the shorter rest periods between exercises and back to back contractions in supersets can help promote an additional stimulus for muscle growth.
- Increased fat loss because of the reasons above when you use in combination with a caloric deficit.
However, supersets are not great for every goal.
Disadvantages of supersets
- The increase in intensity can lead to a drop off in exercise performance and technique. This may lead to injury.
- It’s difficult to juggle different weights for different exercises. Monopolizing the equipment in a busy gym may lead you to be the unpopular person who hoards the dumbbells.
- Supersets are great for hypertrophy and fat loss, but they’re not the most ideal way to build strength. You cannot go as heavy and the limited rest between exercises compromises your recovery.
- They’ can be difficult for beginners who are unfamiliar with complex movements.
6 superset types with training examples
The types of supersets you use depend on your current goals, whether it be fat loss, hypertrophy or bringing up a lagging body part.
And it also depends on whether you’re a beginner or advanced trainee, and on how much time you have to train or how much pain you’re willing to stand.
Here are 6 superset types that you can use now to take your training to the next level. You’ll be thanking me later. Or not.
Post and Pre-Exhaustion Supersets
These take muscle discomfort to a new level. However, I did warn you.
With post exhaustion, you combine a compound exercise with an isolation exercise afterward to exhaust all the muscle fibers in a certain muscle group. This way you get the greatest strength benefits from the compound movement.
Pre-exhaustion is doing one set of isolation, singe-joint movement prior to doing a compound exercise. This produces a higher level of muscle fatigue and damage to the targeted muscle group.
Both are great for bringing up a lagging body part. However, make sure the compound move trains the muscle you’re going to isolate. For example, biceps curl before (or after) a chin up.
Post Exhaustion superset examples
1A. Squat variation 6-12 reps
1B. Leg extensions 12-20 reps
1A. Hip hinge variation
1B. Stability ball hamstring curl 12-15 reps
1A. Chin up variation 6-12 reps
1B. Zottaman curl 10-15 reps
1A. Diamond push-ups 8-15 reps
1B. Overhead triceps extensions 12-20 reps
Pre-Exhaustion supersets examples
1A. Barbell biceps curl 8-15 reps
1B. Supinated Lat Pulldown 8-12 reps
1A. Seated Leg curl 8-15 reps
1B. Barbell Hip thrust 6-12 reps
1A. Triceps pushdown 8-15 reps
1B. Single-arm floor press 6-12 reps
1A. Dumbbell front raise 8-15 reps
1B. Dumbbell seated overhead press 6-12 reps
A compound set trains the same muscle group, where you can hit the group from different angles to achieve a lot of muscular damage and stress.
This is a time-efficient way to train for hypertrophy of a muscle group if you can stand the pain. And for this reason, these should be at the start of your training when you have the most energy.
However, this is an advanced method because heavier weights are used in both exercises on the same body part which can lead to muscular fatigue, a drop in performance and technique. So, enter at your own risk.
1A. Barbell bench variation 6- 8 reps
1B. Single-arm floor press 8-12 reps
1A. Military press 6- 8 reps
1B. Bent over reverse fly 8-12 reps
1A. Seated row 8-12 reps
1B. Single-arm lat pulldown 12 -15 reps
Legs- squat focus
1A. Barbell Front squat 4-8 reps
1B. Dumbbell jump squats (use 10-25% of your body weight) 3-6 reps
Legs- Hinge focus
1A. Romanian deadlift 8-12 reps
1B. Barbell hip extensions 6-8 reps
You can save time because you’re working on a smaller muscle group in the (almost) same amount of time as one exercise and all the focus is on the one muscle group, helping you feel the burn and achieving a great muscle pump.
These are great for bring up a lagging body part or a weaker muscle that could be hindering your performance in a compound exercise. For example, weaker triceps hindering lockout in the bench press.
These are best done at the end of your training because you’ll want to save your energy for the larger compound movements.
1A. Incline biceps curl 12-25 reps
1B. Concentration curl 12-25 reps
1A. Dumbbell Lateral raise variation 12- 15 reps
1B. Band pull apart (high reps) 25 reps
1A. Triceps (rope) pulldown 12-25 reps
1B. Skull crushers 8-12 reps
1A. Single leg hip extensions 12-15 reps
1B. Lateral band walk 12- 15 reps on each side
Lower/upper body supersets
This is the least taxing of all the techniques listed so far because you’re working on two completely unrelated muscle groups. These are great for full rest and recovery of a muscle group and for full-body workouts when time is an issue.
They’re best used for full-body workouts or full body splits, which is ideal for beginner trainees. However, if strength is your goal, give these supersets a wide berth.
However, they’re great for fat loss because alternating blood flow between your upper and lower body makes the heart and lungs work harder, helping you burn more calories.
Note- There are lots of examples here. This is only a few suggestions.
1A. Squat variation 8-12 reps
1B. Barbell bench press 8-12 reps
1A. Barbell squat variation 6-12 reps
1B. Chin-ups 6-12 reps
1A. Barbell hip thrust 6- 8 reps
1B. Floor press 6- 8 reps
1A. Barbell push press 6-12 reps
1B. Chin-ups 6-12 reps
When you do a mobility exercise after a strength exercise, it can help improve your lifting technique and aid in recovery between sets. For example, a lack of ankle dorsiflexion in the squat can hinder squat depth and cause knees to excessively go over the toes.
Strength/mobility supersets are great for lifters who don’t really like to warm up or are short on time.
1A. Deadlift variation 3-6 reps
1B. Hip flexor mobilization 8 reps
1A. Shoulder press variation 8-12 reps
1B. Forearm wall slides 8 reps
1A. Barbell squat variation 3-6 reps
1B. Rocking ankle mobilization 8 reps
1A. Barbell bench press 3-6 reps
1B. Thoracic extensions 8 reps
Supersets are a time-efficient way to train and are used in many ways. Whether it’s fat loss, hypertrophy, improving your mobility or general health, there is a type of superset to match your goal. And when your pair exercises wisely, you’ll reach your goals so much faster.
And then you can take your selfie for Instagram.