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Supersets in Strength Training: How to, Benefits & Workout Examples

Supersets are combinations of two or more exercises done alternatively to achieve different fitness goals. Read more to understand everything that you need to know.

Sandra Adams
Supersets in Strength Training: How to, Benefits & Workout Examples
Table Of Contents

Have you ever stepped into the gym and felt intimidated by all the intricate-looking exercises and machines? Or have you seen that unending cycle of strength trainers doing many exercises efficiently? Ever wondered what they are doing and if you could do it too? Chances are, they are working out with supersets.

But what is a superset exactly? Though it may sound complicated and daunting at first, once you understand how supersets work and learn several simple techniques for constructing them, you will soon be able to create your workout routine that helps boost muscle-building results and sharpens your gains without spending extra time on it.

What are Supersets?

Knowing your stuff at the gym is empowering, especially when you understand the terminology. Supersets are one of those terms that may sound intimidating, but fundamentally it's a simple exercise strategy.

A superset involves a series of two or more exercises performed back-to-back with no rest or minimal rest in between sets. This approach can help you maximize your workouts, save time and reap better results by activating different muscle groups.

When you structure the superset around greater compound movements followed by smaller isolation movements, you'll activate multiple muscle groups and burn more calories in less time.

It's important to note that if the form isn't maintained throughout each set, results may diminish, so make sure to focus on quality over quantity. By understanding what supersets are and how to do them correctly, you will quickly become a self-professed gym rat!

Types of Supersets

There are several types of supersets based on slightly modified workout approaches. Here we are listing some of the popular types.

Compound Supersets

Compound supersets involve performing multiple back-to-back exercises with no rest between them. This high-intensity workout is effective for quick weight loss and muscle toning.

This type of superset is often used to help build strength and size in a specific area. An example would be doing a set of bench presses followed by a set of bent-over rows.

Pre-Exhaustion Supersets

Pre-exhaustion supersets involve first performing a compound exercise that targets a specific muscle group, followed by an isolation exercise for the same muscle group. This exercise has been proven to decrease workout volume while ensuring good strength training and hypertrophy results.

This is a great way to intensify your workout and force your muscles to work harder than they usually would. An example of this would be doing squats followed by a leg extension.

Antagonistic Supersets

Antagonistic supersets involve performing two exercises that target different muscle groups, usually opposite ones. Antagonistic supersets are a great way to mix multiple exercises to make the workout more fun while also leveling up.

They are often used to increase the intensity of your workout and get more out of each set. An example would be doing bicep curls followed by tricep pushdowns.

Giant Sets

Giant sets are a type of superset that involves performing four or more exercises for the same muscle group back to back with no rest in between.

This is an intense form of training and should only be done by experienced lifters looking to take their workouts to the next level. An example would be doing four sets of barbell squats followed by four sets of leg presses.

Supersets can be a great way to shake up your workout routine and push your body further, but it is important to remember that proper form and rest are essential for getting the most out of each set.

Be sure to consult a professional if you are unsure how to perform any exercise properly. With the correct form and a little bit of patience, supersets can help you reach your fitness goals faster.

How to Do Supersets?

To do a superset, you can pair most exercises together. It is often useful to pair exercises that work opposing muscle groups, such as bicep curls and tricep extensions. After completing a superset, you can rest for 30-90 seconds before beginning the next set.

By doing this high-intensity training, you will be able to burn more calories and build strength faster. To maximize your gains, shoot for 3-4 sets of 8-12 reps each, depending on your fitness level. Give supersets a try, and you're sure to see great results!

Benefits of Supersets in Strength Training

There are plenty of benefits of supersets in strength training and in general. You can incorporate it into your routine to gain the following advantages:

Maximize Your Training Time

Supersets are a great way to save time at the gym! Instead of taking long pauses between sets, you can move from one exercise to another and get your workout done more quickly.

Additionally, while working for opposing muscle groups simultaneously during a single set of exercises, supersets allow you to maximize your training time while still allowing recovery between sets.

This can help prevent injury and fatigue associated with traditional “straight sets.” If you’re short on time but still want to get a good workout, supersets are definitely the way to go.

Quick Transition for More Power

Power in the workout context is the ability to perform a task faster. Supersets can also help improve power, as the quick transition from one exercise to the intensity of the subsequent increase helps develop explosive strength.

This helps with a range of tasks one needs to perform daily and improves the overall living experience.

Helps With Weight Loss

Performing multiple exercises in succession can increase calorie burn and metabolism for improved fat loss. Supersets are an excellent choice if you are working out to meet a specific goal related to your body weight.

Adds More Fun

Supersets are a great way to add variety to your training routine and break up the monotony. This can prevent burnout and help to keep workouts fun and interesting. So if you’re looking for a way to kick your strength training up a notch, consider giving supersets a try! You may be surprised at the results.

Best for Improved Athleticism

Supersets are a great way to improve your functional strength training and athletic performance. As supersets involve performing two exercises in rapid succession that work opposite parts of the body, for example, sumo squats followed by an overhead press, it helps gain endurance.

By moving quickly between the two exercises, your heart rate will spike, and you'll gain endurance over time. This line of thinking follows the logic of popular high-intensity interval training routines such as Tabata and HIIT. Supersets are a great way to mix up your routine and improve strength and endurance.

Examples of Supersets

Supersets are a great way to mix up your training routine and maximize time spent in the gym. The powerful pairings allow you to train two muscle groups at once while providing an intense cardio workout.

Let’s have a brief look at some of the examples and how they can benefit muscle building. The most common examples of supersets include:

Biceps Curls & Triceps Extensions

Biceps curls and triceps extensions are two of the most commonly used exercises to work the arms. Biceps curls focus on the bicep muscle in front of your arm and control flexion at the elbow joint. To do a proper curl exercise, hold a small weight in each hand and slowly curl them up to your shoulders before returning them to the starting position.

Triceps extensions work the tricep muscle, which is located in the back of your arm and is responsible for elbow extension. To do this exercise, hold a weight in one hand behind your head before extending it up to fully straighten your arm. Make sure to keep your elbow close to the side of your head throughout the exercise, and switch arms when you are finished.

With these two exercises combined in a superset, you can work your arms and tone them up in no time! ​​​​​

Chest Presses & Bent-Over Rows

Chest presses and bent-over rows are compound exercises that can benefit the chest and back muscles. Both exercises involve using body weight or additional weight to improve strength and tone in the upper body.

Chest presses work on the pectoralis major and minor muscles, triceps, and deltoids, while bent-over rows target the rhomboids, trapezius, and latissimus dorsi muscles.

They are particularly effective when combined with other exercises, such as push-ups, pull-ups, and lat pulldowns, for an even more comprehensive regimen. Weighted exercises such as chest presses and bent-over rows should always be done with proper form, under the supervision of a qualified fitness professional, to ensure optimal results and prevent any potential injuries.

You should lie flat on a bench with your feet planted firmly on the ground for chest presses. Hold a pair of dumbbells above your chest with arms extended before bending your elbows and slowly lowering the weights until they are in line with the neck. Then press back up slowly to complete the motion.

For bent-over rows, start by standing with your feet shoulder-width apart, then bend forward at the hips while keeping your back straight. Hold a pair of dumbbells in each hand with palms facing inward towards the body before rowing them up towards the chest and slowly releasing down again. Completing both exercises regularly can build strength and tone in your chest and back.

You can enjoy greater strength, improved posture, and an overall toned upper body by regularly including chest presses and bent-over rows to your workout plan. So grab those dumbbells and get ready to reap the rewards of a more powerful chest and back!

Leg Extensions & Hamstring Curls

Leg extensions and hamstring curls are also essential exercises that you can use for making supersets for your lower body and a complete leg workout. You can do leg extensions with a machine or cable system or use a resistance band to work against the band's resistance.

Hamstring curls are best done with a seated machine, such as a leg curl machine at the gym, but you can also use an exercise ball or a resistance band for this exercise. Be sure to keep your back straight, engage your abs during these exercises, and move through the full range of motion on each repetition.

Lat Pulldowns & Upright Rows

Lat pulldowns and upright rows are two exercises that target the back muscles. Lat Pulldowns are excellent for strengthening the lats, mid-back, and rear deltoids. The exercise is done with a cable machine or resistance band and involves pulling a weight down toward your chest while keeping your shoulders back and core engaged.

Upright rows are an exercise that targets the trapezius and deltoids. This exercise involves standing up with a barbell or dumbbell and bringing them up to the chest level while keeping your elbows raised. Both of these exercises are important for building strength and increasing the overall development of the back muscles.

They can also be modified to target different muscle groups, such as the lower back, mid-back, and rear deltoids. By combining lat pulldowns and upright rows, you can create an effective back workout that will help improve your strength and overall physique.

In addition to building strength, these exercises also help improve posture and increase flexibility in the upper body. Working the back muscles can also help reduce the risk of injury, as strong back muscles are essential for absorbing shock and protecting the spine. With proper form and technique, lat pulldowns and upright rows can be highly beneficial exercises that should be included in any strength training program.

Squats & Calf Raise

Squats and calf raises are also great exercises for toning your lower body. Squats target the glutes, hamstrings, and quads, while calf raises work the calves. Stand with your feet hip-width apart to do a squat and your hands spread out in front of you for balance.

Slowly bend your knees and lower down into a squat position until your thighs parallel the floor. Push through your heels and stand back up to the starting position.

For a calf raise, stand with your feet hip-width apart on a step or box with the balls of your feet resting on the edge. Hold onto something for balance if needed, and slowly lift yourself to stand on your toes. Pause for a few seconds and then slowly lower yourself back to the starting position.

Repeat this exercise 10 to 20 times for three sets total. These exercises are great for toning your legs, glutes, and calves and giving you a stronger lower body.

All in all, supersets are great for muscle building and strength training. You can target a list of muscles and tone them down in less time with supersets. New variations of supersets are constantly being invented, so there’s no limit to the number of possible combinations. Experiment and find which supersets work best for you and your goals. Happy lifting!

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Sandra Adams

Hi, I'm Sandra Adams, a certified personal trainer and fitness blogger dedicated to helping women reach their health and wellness goals. With over a decade of experience in the fitness industry, I specialize in crafting effective, easy-to-follow workout routines that fit into even the busiest schedules. 

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