Superset for muscle size!

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Those new to resistance training may not know what a superset is or how they can be used effectively, so we shall start with some definitions.

Firstly, there are two different kinds of superset:

1. The agonist/antagonist superset:
This type of superset involves working opposing muscles, for example: bicep hammer curl followed directly by tricep pulldowns (with no rest in between).

2. The same muscle group (compound) superset:
This type of superset targets the same muscle group consecutively. It is important to have the second exercise different from the first so you can achieve a different angle/range of motion. For example: chest press followed directly by chest flyes (no rest in between).

Now you know the two types of superset, let’s have a look at some of the advantages and disadvantages of them.

Advantages:

  • Supersets are a great way of increasing the intensity of the workout for the concerned muscles.
  • Both types of superset save time when compared with straight sets, which is great if you’re on a busy schedule!
  • In the agonist/antagonist superset, blood is pumped to the area during the first set so that the second muscle can utilise it accordingly.
  • In a compound superset, the target muscles get a more intense workout due to the lack of rest during the superset.
  • Also in the compound superset, more muscle fibres may be recruited than if you were doing two sets of the same exercise, allowing for more development.

Disadvantages:

  • Both supersets are very demanding due to the lack of rest in-between exercises. Because of this, supersets may not be suitable for beginners.
  • Supersets require multiple pieces of equipment (dumbbells, etc.) to be free for one set. This may not be possible in busier gyms.
  • Supersets may not be appropriate for large compound movements, such as the deadlift or squat, due to your body needing a rest period.

So, that’s the superset. My recommendations on implementing these into your workout is to use them on isolation exercises. Also, check out a previous post on building arm size using supersets!

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About Author

As a physical education graduate and qualified personal trainer, Mathew is very knowledgable when it comes to fitness. Outdoor training is a personal favourite of Mathew's but he also has a high degree of gym based experience. Location: Carlisle

7 Comments

    • I can go one better for you! Try this tri-set for shoulders, using light dumbbells:

      A1: Lateral raises to target medial deltoid (middle of shoulder) x 12
      A2: Front raises to target anterior deltoid (front of shoulder) x 12
      A3: Standing reverse fly to target posterior deltoid (rear of shoulder) x 12

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