Supersets Improve Your Muscles Ability To Work Harder With Less Rest

Doing multiple moves without pausing for rest will pack on muscle and bum fat, says Shaun Stafford, a personal trainer and World Bodybuilding and Fitness Federation European champion.

What is a superset?

A superset Is simply two exercises performed back to back without resting. There are many different superset workouts, but the most common approach is to do moves that target opposite – or antagonistic – muscle groups, such as the bench press (chest) and bent-over row (back), or biceps curls (biceps) and triceps extensions (triceps).

What makes them so super?

Supersets are a great way to shake up your existing training regime: they shock your muscles Into growing because of the increased workload and allow you to work out at a higher Intensity in far less time. Improving your muscles' ability to work harder with less rest and keeping your heart rate high to burn more fat. In a study published in the Journal Of Strength And Conditioning Research, men who performed a full-body supersets sessions instead of doing the same exercises In the same order but In straight sets burned 30% more calories per minute and finished their workout In just 31 minutes while the straight sets took 40 minutes.

What other types of superset are there?

Peripheral heart action (PHA) supersets pair an upper-body exercise with a lower-body one to force your heart to work hard to pump blood to and from the target muscles. This makes the workout more Intensive and means you build muscle and burn fat at the same time. Post-exhaustion supersets pair two moves that target the same muscle group. The first move Is a compound lift, such as a chin-up; the second Is an isolation exercise.

such as a biceps curl. So you do the big move first when you are fresh, then blitz the secondary target muscle with an isolation move. This allows you to break down a large amount of muscle tissue, leading to big gains. It's also a great way to break through a training plateau.

Any others worth doing?

Staggered supersets are a bit different In that you do one main move then use the rest between sets to work on a hard-to-grow muscle group that requires greater stimulation, such as core or calves. This approach means you can coax growth out of these muscles even when not training them exclusively. A form of antagonistic supersets known as German Volume Training is particularly effective (see the box below).

German Volume Training is a type of antagonistic superset made popular by world-renowned strength coach and MF muscle expert Charles Poliquin. You do two opposing exercises back to back as normal but perform ten sets altogether. resting just 90 seconds between supersets. This approach is designed to pack on the maximum amount of lean muscle in the shortest amount of time. You should use around 60% of your one-rep max for every set.

Can you do more than two moves in succession?

Absolutely. A tri-set involves doing three different exercises that target on the same muscle group in succession without rest, such as ten barbell curls, ten hammer curls and ten concentration curls. Trl-sets recruit lots of muscle fibres because the fibres you normally rely on become fatigued as the set progresses. This makes trl-sets good for building muscular endurance, when using a lighter weight, and muscular size and strength, when using heavier weights.

What about doing tour moves?

This is called a giant set and works your target muscle for much longer than any other type of set. It's great for shocking muscles Into growth because It severely taxes every type of muscle fibre, but you may find you need to use lighter weights and need longer to recover.


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