What Are Supersets and Should You Do Them?

What Are Supersets and Should You Do Them?

You may have performed supersets at the gym without realizing it, especially if you were in a rush. These muscle and endurance-building workouts will shorten the time you spend in the gym and let you reach your fitness goals while doing so.

What Is a Superset?

A superset is when you perform sets of two different exercises, back to back, with little or no rest in between. Instead of doing three sets of one exercise, with rest in between each set, you only take a breather after performing the first part of the superset. You still perform three or four sets of each exercise when doing a superset, but by doing them back to back you save some extra time.

You can do supersets involving opposite or the same muscles, or even completely different parts of the body. You can complete a minimalist superset workout in as little as 18-minutes! 

Benefits of Superset Training

Besides cutting out the rest time usually required between each set in a normal workout, performing supersets have many benefits for your body. Supersets not only increase the volume to work capacity of your muscles, but boost the production of growth hormones that support muscle building, help burn fat, and facilitate protein synthesis. In addition, your muscles will have more endurance with these extended sets.

Compound vs. Mixed Supersets

A compound superset is when you do two exercises that work the same muscle group in one superset versus a mixed superset, which is doing two exercises that work different parts of the body. 

Compound sets primarily focus on building muscle size since they are overworking a single muscle. Typically, you perform a slightly heavier weight first exercise combined with one that you can do more reps of at a slightly lower weight. This second exercise is supposed to burn out any remaining energy in the muscle. An example is doing bench press for 8-10 reps followed by flys for 12-15 reps. Try burning out your quads with this compound superset workout.

Mixed supersets do the complete opposite. Since you are working two completely different parts of the body with each exercise in a single superset, you can move more weight without getting as tired. For example, try hitting your chest and glutes at the same time, or your shoulders and your calves.

What Are Reverse Supersets?

With reverse supersets, you do pairs of exercises involving the opposing muscles of the same body part. One of the most popular examples of a reverse superset is a push-pull workout.

For example, you would alternate bench presses with bent-over rows, or bicep curls with tricep pushdowns. Doing reverse supersets have the advantage of giving each muscle a break while focusing on the same body part. You should do a similar rep range and weight volume for each exercise in a reverse superset.

Downsides of Superset Training

While supersets save you time and improve your muscle endurance, they do have a couple of downsides. The biggest downside is the amount of fatigue that can come with an intense superset workout. If you are more fatigued while trying to perform heavy compound exercises, your form might not be perfect. Form is the most important thing when lifting weights. If it isn't correct, you can easily injure yourself, especially if you are lifting heavy. Correctly performing an exercise also leads to better gains, since you are working a muscle exactly how it should be.

Another downside to superset training is that you probably won't see large strength or power gains compared to a traditional strength training program. This is due to the fact that you need more rest when lifting heavy, instead of sacrificing rest periods for smaller strength and endurance gains. 

3 Common Superset Mistakes to Avoid

There are a few common mistakes you can avoid when doing a superset workout. As long as you avoid these common mistakes, you'll see better results from your workout program.

1. Overtraining

Overtraining is when you overwork your muscles to a point where they don't have enough time to properly recover between workouts. It can also occur when you don't give your body enough calories and nutrients to fuel its recovery. Be sure to take days off when necessary and followed your workout program without modifications. Experts design workout programs to achieve a proper and balanced workload without causing overtraining.

2. Not Doing Exercises in the Correct Order

When you do supersets, you want to make sure you do the exercises in a proper order to avoid injury and maximize performance. You should start with posterior-chain muscles like the glutes, hamstrings, and lats before working on the anterior chain muscles like the quads, pectorals, and core. Don't tire out your supporting or stabilizer muscles before performing heavy compound movements, or you will end up having poor form. For example, don't work out your abs before doing squats or deadlifts, or tire out your triceps before doing a heavy bench press.

3. Not Including Core Exercises

The abdominal muscles play a key role in your stability during compound lifts like the squat, deadlift, and even the bench press. If you don't make sure you include them in your workout plan, you won't see as many gains in those specific exercises. To avoid pre-fatiguing your abs, they should always be the last muscle group you hit during your workout. The abdominals respond well to compound supersets that hit different sections of the abs right after each other. Try supersets of ab wheels and planks followed up with a superset of crunches and lying windshield wipers.

Get Fit with Supersets

Supersets for strength training are perfect if you have limited time during your day to make it to the gym. They let you achieve strength and endurance gains at the same time. When you are ready to try out a superset workout at the gym, TigerFitness.com can help you with everything that you need. We have workout clothing and accessories, fitness plans, and supplements so that you can reach your fitness goals.

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