Are you bored of using the same set training? Have you performed the same strength routine for many years and noticed a plateau in your strength gains?
Well it is time to mix up your training and to add some supersets into the equation. Supersetting is a very basic training method that can produce some serious strength gains and this backed up by some robust valid research.
A recent piece of research in the ‘Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research’ discovered that supersetting using an ‘opposed muscle group’ technique produced greater strength gains than using traditional sets.
They also found that the subjects were able to perform more reps and/or lift a heavier weight in the sets that followed the superset. This drastically increased the challenge and ultimate strength gains.
In addition you are engaging more muscle groups when using super sets when compared to using traditional sets. So what is supersetting and how can it actually benefit you?
What is supersetting?
In simple terms supersetting is a more advanced method of lifting weights involving two exercises with no rest in between.
There are numerous ways of implementing supersets but for the scope of this article we will be focusing on training methods that specifically improve your strength. These are as follows:
- Compound supersets – this is where you perform two compound exercises straight after one another with no rests.
- Opposing muscle groups – this where you perform exercises that target opposing muscle, and you exercise one group and then rest the other- then vice versa with no rest in between. A good example of this is performing the squat for your quads and Romanian deadlifts straight after for your hamstrings.
- Exhaustion Supersets – is where you perform two sets of exercises on the same muscle group with no rest in between e.g. the chest press followed by a set of push ups.
- Staggered Supersets – is where you perform a set of exercises on a different muscle group in between sets e.g. a chest press followed by some push ups and then back to the chest press. Granted that with the second bouts of chest presses- you may not be able to pump as many reps as the first set of chest presses.
# Please note that if you are going to perform more than one superset in your work out, then allow 3-5 minutes for recovery. As this is the recommended guideline to allow for adequate recovery to increase your strength gains.
The physiological benefits of supersetting
Supersets are effective because they have very little rest intervals in between executing the sets of exercises. This process induces the production of lactate, lowers your muscle pH which triggers the secretion of growth hormone and testosterone.
These anabolic hormones help to facilitate muscle growth and lifting heavy with a low rep range will also improve your strength gains.
Fundamentally lifting heavy can improve the size and strength of the fast twitch type 2 muscle fibres and these help to boost your force production, the muscle’s glycolytic capacity and this ultimately translates to strength gains.
The practical benefits of using supersets
In practical terms it is good practice to shake and mix up your training regime every 4 weeks so that the muscles are being exposed to new stimuli. This strategy will prevent you from entering into a dreaded plateau with your strength gains and supersetting has the following practical benefits:
- You save time because with no rest between sets will make the work outs shorter and more efficient
- You overload your muscles by using the heavy weights and by adding more intensity in your work outs
- It makes your works out more fun, interesting and challenging. This should help you to keep you focussed and motivated
- It is easy to set up you either pick two compound exercises, use the same or opposing muscle groups whilst performing the superset
- They incorporate more variety into your work outs and they are excellent choice if you are ready for a change