Supersets Explained; Why - When & How To Use Them
A superset is when you perform two or more exercises back to back with no rest in-between. Usually each exercise will target a different muscle group, but a superset can also use two exercises which target the same muscle group.
What are the benefits of supersets?
Supersets are more than just efficient muscle builders, they are also a very productive use of your time.
The fact is; heavy lifts require sufficient rest between sets: It is not unreasonable to require 2-4 minutes of rest between heavy squat sets. Rather than sit that time out, it can be better spent building a different muscle group.
For example; you may want to perform a shoulder press between squats. Or you could take it a step further and perform a superset that consists of a press up, plank and triceps dips in-between your squats.
I personally like to throw in some bodyweight squats and lunges between my heavy squat sets. For two reasons; firstly, I am more glute dominant than quad dominant on squats, so the lunges help me to work in my quads. And the second reason is because I find bodyweight squats in-between, help me to achieve better depth on my loaded squats.
The above are just some examples to get you thinking about how you can build your own supersets between your big lifts.
There really are no fixed rules, you can do whatever you want, as long as it works for you. Though keep in mind that in order for it to qualify as a superset; exercises must be performed back to back without any rest in-between.
Now that you have an introduction to supersets between big lifts, let’s look at how you can superset with just isolation/smaller muscle group exercises.
Isolation exercises are less physically demanding than compound exercises. As a result, the way you superset with isolation exercises is different.
With isolation exercises, you simply pair 2-3 exercises back to back. For as many sets as you like, without the big lift in-between.
Here you can pair opposite muscle groups, for example; biceps and triceps, quads and hamstrings… Or you can add another, so; biceps, triceps and delts. Or; quads, hamstrings and glutes.
Alternatively, you can perform 2-3 exercises targeting the same muscle group. For example; dumbbell chest press + dumbbell chest flye. Or you could combine, triceps dips with skull crushers and bent over rows.
The point I want to make is that supersetting isn’t a fixed method. As long as you’re working 2-3 exercises back to back – you can call it a superset. So play around with various different exercise combinations and find some that will work for you.
As mentioned above, supersets are excellent muscle builders as well as an efficient use of your time.
We tend to use this method most in our 30 minute workouts category. The reason for this is because we want to maximise your time on the days where you have only 30 minutes to train.
Finally, remember there isn’t really a right or wrong here, so find your exercises and pair them according to your own personal goals.