Supersets are a great way to streamline your workouts and get more done in less time. But what exactly are they? Simply put a superset involves pairing two exercises together and performing one directly after the other with minimal rest between. Once you have completed your reps for both exercises the superset is done and you can take a breather before repeating for the desired number of rounds.
TYPES OF SUPERSET
Antagonistic supersets involve pairing exercises which target opposing muscle groups. For example a push up and a pull up. The former targets the chest and triceps, whilst the latter targets the back and biceps. This is excellent for shortening the overall length of your workout.
Split supersets are similar to the antagonistic supersets but not the same. This time you pair two exercises from different parts of the body. For example an upper body exercise and a lower body exercise. As with the antagonistic variation this is great for condensing your workout time and increasing the metabolic demands of a training session.
Agonist supersets involve pairing exercises which target the same/similar muscle groups. For example a dumbbell chest press followed by a military press. This is useful if you want to ramp up the mechanical stress on a particular body part however you will have to accept lifting lighter loads on the second exercise.
Pre-exhaustion supersets involve using an isolation exercise to pre-exhaust a muscle before completing the suffering with a compound exercise which incorporates the same muscle. An example would be performing bicep curls immediately followed by pull ups. Like the agonist supersets this type of training is great for hammering a particular muscle but suffers from similar drawbacks in the form of reduced performance in your second exercise.
Post-exhaustion supersets are the reverse to pre-exhaustion supersets. This time the big multi-joint movement comes first, immediately followed by the isolation exercise targeting a muscle already fatigued by the first movement. Very painful but good for triggering a strong adaptive response in the exhausted muscles.
BENEFITS OF SUPERSETS
- Condense your workout and save time
- Increase the training density of your workout
- Increase the mechanical stress on a particular muscle group
- Increase the metabolic conditioning element of your workout
USING SUPERSETS IN A WORKOUT
Typically you would cluster 2-4 supersets together to form a workout. Depending on your goals and fitness levels you would also want to manipulate the number of times you performed each superset, the target rep ranges and the rest periods.
Tri-sets and giant sets are both derived from superset training with the only variation being the number of exercises involved. The tri-set obviously has 3 and a giant-set is generally considered to be anything with 4 or above.