What’s a superset? A superset is when you perform two exercises consecutively without any rest in-between. The goal in doing this is to reduce your workout time, as there is no rest between exercises. Most people experience insurance issues when first starting to do supersets, but will quickly adapt the more they do them.
A standard set, is when you perform an exercise for a certain number of reps, and then take a break once you have done the specified number of reps. For example, if you are doing bench press for eight reps, you would perform the exercise for eight reps and then immediately take a break before your next set.
With supersets, you are going to do two exercises in a row with no rest. Only after you have completed the two exercises will you take a rest.
When deciding what kind of training you are going to be doing, you first need to understand what your goals are. Supersets are a great tool for people who want to increase the amount of muscular hypertrophy. So, if you’re someone who keeps thinking of how to get ripped, then this could be a solution for you.
Hypertrophy is the process which bodybuilders use in order to increase the size of their muscle fibers, to do this you need to increase both the load and the volume of exercise.
Supersets enable you to overload the overload the muscles without using a large amount of weight, which will in turn help to prevent muscle fatigue and overtraining.
Below are listed a few variations of how you can perform supersets
Antagonist & Agonist
As you can probably tell from the headline, this would involve working both the agonist and antagonist muscle groups. Meaning, working out opposite muscle groups such as the biceps and triceps, or chest and back.
The reasoning behind this method is that you can work both muscle groups back to back with no rest because they don’t affect each other. So, while you’re working your biceps, you are giving your triceps a small rest period to recover, and vice versa.
Agonist & Agonist
These types of supersets involve using the same muscle group, but doing different exercises. Example, you could do pull-ups followed up by a dumbbell row as an agonist and agonist superset. There are other ways to superset the same muscle group, such as pre-exhaust and post-exhaust, but we will cover those later on in the article.
It’s important to note that you should be careful when doing supersets for the same muscle group, as after the first exercise your muscles will be fatigued so it’s important that you don’t use weight that is too heavy.
These types of supersets are similar to agonist and agonist in that you are still working the same muscle group for both exercises, but there’s a small twist. For these, you will perform an isolation exercise as your first exercise, followed by a compound exercise.
The idea behind this, is that you can isolate one muscle group to in order to exhaust it, and for the second exercise you can still workout that muscle group, but you’ll have the help of other muscle groups as well. An example would be to do chest fly’s which will isolate the pectoral muscles, and then follow that up with bench press, which will still work the pectorals, but it will recruit the triceps and shoulders as well.
This is probably the most popular kind of superset, especially amongst bodybuilders. It’s also important to understand that you will not be able to do the same amount of weight for the second exercise as you normally would, since you pre-exhausted the muscle with the first exercise.
Post-exhaust is very similar to pre-exhaust, you are targeting the same muscle group, but instead of doing the isolation exercise first and the compound exercise second, you’ll be doing it the exact opposite.
One benefit of doing supersets this way, is that you can use a heavier amount of weight for the compound exercise, as it’s the first exercise you’ll be doing and therefore your muscles won’t be as fatigued.
The point here is, that supersets are a great way to increase muscle hypertrophy, and to maximize your time in the gym. Give any one of these superset methods a try, and how it works for you. Before making any changes to your training program, always consult your primary physician.
Ethan is a 24-year-old fitness enthusiast and college student who studies marketing with an emphasis in digital marketing. I’ve always had an interest in health and fitness, ever since middle school. I do what I love, and I love what I do.