How To Build Muscle With Supersets
What Is Supersetting?
Supersetting is pairing two exercises together and performing them back to back without a significant rest. It is a popular method used to increase volume in training programs.
How To Superset
Here are the general principles to follow.
Common Superset Parings:
- Opposing muscle groups. Examples: push/pull, push up and row
- Same muscle groups. Example: bench and push up
- Strength with explosive (Post Activation Potentiation). Example: Squat with vertical jump
- Conditioning exercises. Example: sled pulls with rope battle
- Big with small muscle groups. Example: squat with TKEs
The common pairings above allow for a ton of options, but there are a few that I generally like to avoid. The biggest is a fatiguing exercises (whether it is a conditioning or repitition exercise) with a maximal effort strength lift.
For example, I would not have an athlete push the prowler for 45-60 seconds at high intensity, then put them on a heavy squat. Pre-fatuging, although popular in some bodybuilding circles, would be dangerous in this instance. I would not find it safe, wise, or effective to use up the body’s energy resources then attempt a heavy lift.
Recipe for distaster in most instances.
Most of your superset pairings should go big muscles to small muscles OR similar muscle size to similar muscle size (most compound push/pull exercises are in this category). I would recommend (except in the limited instance of pre-activation, BUT not fatigue) against going small to big. An example of small to big would be a leg extension then a heavy squat.
Superset Example Video:
This is a push/pull superset with a 3-4 second eccentric phase on supine rows followed by push ups. Don’t be fooled by the slow movements, it is VERY difficult. I would recommend starting with 5-8 reps of each. Note the pool of sweat slowly building during the push ups!
Stay strong…and safe!
- Joe Hashey, CSCS -