Why you should superset for quality lean muscle gains


There are various methods that people try to incorporate into their training in order to increase muscle mass whilst keeping their body fat low, ranging from heavy training coupled with light cardio or High Intensity Interval Training. But one method that has proved effective in yielding results is ‘supersetting.’ Here Myprotein.com explains what it is and how you can incorporate it into your training routine to pack on muscle without the unwanted fat.


Firstly it must be noted, supersetting is perhaps not for beginners but rather experienced athletes and trainers who want to break through a plateau or try something different. It’s basically where you perform 2 exercises, one after the other, with no rest in between. People often ‘superset’ exercises that train the same muscle groups however training opposite muscle groups (such as bench press and pull ups) can be equally effective (it’s usually dependent upon your training goals.) Athletes have even been known to ‘superset’ weight training with a form of cardio, therefore not only putting strength demands on the body but also cardiorespiratory demands as well.

Perhaps the first benefit to this type of training is that it is strength based therefore most obviously you will provide the necessary stimulus needed for your muscles to become stronger and regrow bigger. Secondly ‘supersetting’ causes your body to work at a higher intensity therefore during your workout you will be burning more calories compared to conventional strength training (working at 6-8 repetitions with 2 minutes rest in between.) Also another added benefit is that the increased intensity will put greater stress on the body which will then in turn send a signal to the endocrine system to release more anabolic hormones and to increase the body’s metabolism.

Whilst there are many variations of supersets, here are just a few of the most commonly used:

Post exhaustion:
Essentially you start with a large compound movement working to almost exhaustion, and then you perform a smaller isolation exercise immediately after (e.g. Bench press immediately followed by dumbbell flies.)

The opposite to post exhaustion, here you perform a smaller isolation movement first to pre-fatigue the muscle then perform a larger compound movement (e.g. bicep curls followed immediately by pull ups.)

Compound Superset:
For the more advanced athletes amongst you there is the compound superset. This puts a lot of stress on the body as you perform 2 compound movements back to back which requires both strength, muscular endurance and some cardiovascular fitness as well (e.g. squats followed by lunges.)

Isolation Supersets:
This type of training combines two isolation exercises and is usually performed towards the end of a training session to further exhaust the muscles (e.g. dumbbells flies followed by a cable crossover.)

Opposing Muscle Groups:
Lastly this last form of superset targets opposing muscle groups, one muscle gets to rest while the opposite muscle works. (e.g. bench press followed by chin ups.)

Written by MyProtein

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