Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Workout Wednesday #9

     Whether you are trying to build muscle mass or you are short on time during the week for a workout or even just want to try something new, "supersets" work great for this.  A superset is simply working out two different muscle groups during the same day which is similar to following a training split but with one difference.  The way that this kind of workout actually does differ from the training splits that I have posted here before is by the fact that between each exercise or set there is virtually no resting time or at least there shouldn't be any resting time.  Sometimes for this type of workout, you exercise two opposing muscles instead of two companion muscles but you can actually superset any two body parts or even the same muscle.

Time Savers:
     sometimes the time for exercise isn't there for someone to fully take advantage of so this type of workout is perfect for those who can't find the time exercise but still want to see results.  For starters, you are saving time during the week by working out two muscle groups instead of one if you choose to super set that way.  This means you can have an extra day to catch up on your work, or homework or whatever it is that you do.  If you are strained for time at the gym daily, then by reducing the amount of rest time you will be able to use the limited time you have at the gym to its full potential.  By getting rid of the rest time you can actually finish much faster than you usually would or you can add even more workouts to the time you have at the gym.

Mass and Intensity:
     When you are supersetting, you really do build up your intensity simply by not resting as much as you do regularly and at the same time, you tend to tear a bit more muscle than you do regularly which in the end means more mass.  To accomplish these things, most people will usually force more reps by getting a spotter to help them out with the last few of them or think of other forms of training but this is simply just another method of achieving those goals.  That isn't to say it is easier to do than those other methods just because it might take you less time to do.  Shortening the amount of time that you rest really takes a toll on ones body and is very difficult to do at first if you are used to taking a longer break between your sets.

Types of Supersets:

  1. Opposing Muscles:  In this superset, you are working out two opposite muscles back to back.  One example of this would be to work out your biceps and immediately afterwards working out your triceps with little or no rest between.  You can do something like curling an easy or wavy bar and immediately switching to tricep extensions or skull crushers.  Another good example of this is to workout your chest and your back.  For this, you can do any form or variation of a row and then switch to any form of press.  The downfall to this type of workout is that you have to have your equipment ready to use and have to be able to switch over fast.  The benefit of this is that while you are working out one body part, the other is resting so you aren't tiring your self out too quickly and you'll be able to keep going.
  2. Same Muscle Group:  This is probably one of the more common ways to go about doing a superset and this is the way I learned about them at the gym I go to.  This method has you supersetting the same muscle instead of switching between muscle groups.  This of course is very tiring much more than the opposing muscles method simply because you aren't giving your muscles any real rest time.  An example of this kind of method is something like working out your chest by doing a dumbbell press and switching immediately over to a dumbbell fly.  The most common one I see at the gym is going from bicep curls and switching over to hammer curls.  Immediately the disadvantage is clear.  You simply will not be able to do the same amount of weight you usually can do.  This turns a lot of people off when it comes to this workout simply because they believe they aren't really as strong as if they were at their optimal level but the point here is to gain mass not necessarily "power" and that is what the real advantage of this is.  One can really gain mass by doing this type of workout.
  3. Staggered Set:  This is another common workout I see a lot of in my gym and not many people know that they are doing a super set.  This method has you working out completely unrelated muscles back to back.  Working out your abdominal muscles after working out something like chest or biceps works the same way really.  Working out your calves as well after you did a squad set or even bench press works for this.  People do this without realizing it and it is one of the few gym habits that isn't bad to do.  You just rush in and do a quick ab set or any other set before you have to go and you did something productive.  
     Supersets are very helpful to those with time constraints simply because you get your workout done faster.  They are helpful for those who are trying to gain mass because it helps increase your intensity at the gym and helps tear a bit more muscle than conventional ways of training.  This kind of training however isn't a shortcut and it isn't easier than conventional training.  The same results can be attained by training other ways this is simply another way of achieving those results.  The last thing I want to get across is that this isn't the most effective way of gaining strength but it is a great way of gaining mass


  1. wow that's a lot of good info thanks

  2. Huh, that explains what I usually do then. My usual routine is to go from locked bicep curls to standing curls, and usually with...god, what are they called? Overhead tricep extensions? All with a crappy pair of free weights (can't afford the gym, y'know? Gotta do SOMETHIN' though...) and some weighted wrist/ankle bands.

    Just never knew it was called this...