Supersets: How To Incorporate Supersets Into Your Workout For Bigger And Better Gains

Workout intensity, time under tension, and volume are three critical aspects to muscle growth, strength, and building optimal body composition. A superset, is simply a set of two different exercises, performed back-to-back, with little to no rest in-between. Supersets can help you maximize gains, in the shortest period of time, essentially combining resistance training with aerobic training for more efficiency and workout intensity. We’re going to talk more about the benefits of supersets and how this training framework can help you build a lean, and cut physique.

What Is A Superset

A superset is when two different exercises are performed back-to-back with little to no rest in between. Traditional strength training set and rep schemes call for longer rest-periods between each set, to help the body quickly recover for the next workout period.

Supersets result in more workload over a shorter period of time, making your workout and training more efficient. This can help you save time, as well as increase workout intensity to burn more body fat and optimize body composition. Total number of sets between each exercise, are typically the same (I.e. 4 sets of barbell curl, and 4 sets of vertical or upright row back to back).

There are a few different types of superset methodologies and protocols, that you can use depending upon your training and workout split.  

Types Of Supersets

There are several types of supersets that can complement your current training protocol. As you can imagine, supersets can be applied to any muscle group, or split, whether a push-pull training split, upper-lower body split back-to-back with the same muscle group, or opposing muscle group.

In resistance training programs, sets are composed of reps, which are individual lifts of a single exercise. For example, 10 reps of bicep curls, will result in 1 set of 10 reps.

A superset, could be considered 10 reps of bicep curls, immediately followed by 10 reps of triceps push down, bench press, or deadlifts.  

Typically, supersets are performed one of three ways: back-to-back with opposing muscle groups, the same muscle group, or isolated movements with compound movements. They can also be thrown into a circuit, which would be 3+ exercises all with little to no rest between each set.

Opposing Muscle Groups

A common way to perform supersets, is with opposing muscle groups. By supersetting a strength movement, of opposing muscle groups you provide your muscles more time to recover. With more recovery time between muscle groups, you can delay muscle fatigue, which will inevitably increase your workout load and time to exhaustion. The harder you push anaerobically, your muscles will start to lose power due to the buildup up of lactic acid and pyruvate. With opposing muscle groups you create more workout efficiency and overall workout load and intensity.

Same Muscle Groups

Supersets utilizing the same muscle group, can increase time under tension, and send more blood flow directly to that particular muscle and help develop more muscle hypertrophy.

The challenge with supersetting the same muscle group, is that you will experience faster and greater muscle fatigue. For example, performing a set of 20 walking lunges, superset directly with 20 reps of squats, will cause extreme fatigue. Pacing, especially when training the same muscle group back-to-back is essentially to maintain workout volume.

Superset Workouts

Supersets can take multiple forms and be easily incorporated into any resistance training protocol. While any two movements performed sequentially can be considered a superset, there are many variables that can be manipulated when creating a superset workout.

Consider picking movements, that can easily be performed together with the equipment you have and space you have access to. You can be as creative as you like and can perform supersets, the key is to ensure the weight is still challenging, yet you can complete enough reps and volume for your goals, whether it be strength or hypertrophy.

Benefits Of Supersets

1. More Efficiency

Supersets will increase your time efficiency. This is a great benefit for those that may be time restricted, or have limited time to workout or exercise, providing the same benefit of a longer workout duration, with the same workload and volume. 

2. Burns More Body Fat

Supersets require greater workout intensity, which will increase your heart rate and burn more calories. Combining aerobic and anaerobic training modalities together, through pace, intensity, and resistance training, can help you optimize body composition.

3. Increased Muscle Gain 

Increased time under tension, volume, and intensity are all critical factors in building more muscle mass. By increasing muscle fatigue and delivering more oxygen and blood flow to muscle groups, you will increase muscle hypertrophy and gain more mass.

Supersets Workouts: Takeaway 

Supersets can improve workout capacity, muscular endurance, strength, and improve workout efficiency. Supersets are one of many variables and techniques you can use to modify your resistance training program. If you want to burn more body fat and optimize body composition, supersets are a great way to lean out and build more muscle mass.


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Walter Hinchman

Walter Hinchman is the Founder and CEO of Swolverine. He is a NESTA and ACE certified trainer and holds a Masters Degree in Business and in Finance and Economics.

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