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Supersetting is an advanced training method in which you do two exercises, one after the other, with no rest in between. The exercises can be for the same muscle group or two different muscle groups, depending on your goals. The idea is to do one exercise and, instead of resting and doing another set, doing a different exercise and alternating those exercises for your desired number of sets.
The Benefits of Supersets
It’s a good idea to change your strength workout every 4-6 weeks to avoid plateaus, and supersets offer a great way to completely change what you’re doing.
Supersets help you by:
* Saving you time. Going from one exercise to another without rest will make your workouts shorter and more efficient.
* Increasing your intensity. If you choose supersets that work the same muscle, but with different exercises, you’re adding to the intensity of your workout.
* Overloading your muscles. By working the same muscle with one exercise right after another, you can overload your muscles without using heavy weights. This is great if you don’t have a spotter or don’t want to lift very heavy weights.
* Making things more interesting. If you’ve been doing straight sets forever, supersetting can make weight training more interesting and definitely more challenging.
* Easily set up a workout. All you do is pick two exercises, either for the same muscle or by using some of the other ideas listed below, do them one after the other. Rest and repeat!
* Incorporate more variety into your workouts. You don’t have to do exercises for the same muscle group. You can do opposing muscle groups or even two complete different parts of the body.
Types of Supersets
1. Pre-Exhaustion Supersets. This involves two exercises for the same muscle group. The first exercise is an isolation move, which targets one muscle group, and the second is a compound movement, which targets multiple muscles. Example: Leg extensions, which target the quads, followed by squats. The quads are tired, but the other muscles used in squats (glutes, hamstrings and inner thighs) are fresh.
2. Post-Exhaustion Supersets. This is the opposite of pre-exhaustion. You start with the compound movement and follow that with the isolation exercise. Example: Bench press followed by dumbbell flies.
3. Compound Superset. This is a tough way of training since you’re putting together two compound exercises, requiring more energy and strength. Remember, compound exercises are those that work several muscle groups at a time. Example: Squats followed by lunges.
4. Isolation Supersets. In this type of training, combine two isolation exercises. Example: Dumbbells flies followed by a cable crossover.
5. Opposing Muscle Groups. When you do two exercises that target opposing muscle groups, one muscle gets to rest while the opposite muscle works. You can pair back and chest, biceps and triceps, hamstrings and quadriceps, etc. Example: Biceps curls followed by triceps kickbacks.
6. Staggered Supersets. In staggering, you do an exercise for a different muscle between sets. For example, during a straight set of chest presses, you could throw in a set of calf raises or crunches while you rest your chest muscles. This saves time, allowing you to work smaller muscle groups while the bigger ones rest.
7. Tri-Sets. This is the same as a superset, except you’re doing three exercises rather than two.
Obviously, there are many choices for setting up a superset workout.
To see it in action, check me out in the video below performing a Opposing Muscle Groups superset
How to do them:
* Stand about one shoulder width from the box. The box should be between 1 and 2 ft high. Start with your legs fully extended and let your arms hang relaxed. Keep your abs tight during the entire exercise, (slightly contracted) and stand as upright as possible. If you are a gymnast, you can also to this with the arms extended over head, like if you were preparing for a static handstand. (see handstand tutorial)
* Do a half-squat and keep your upper body as upright as possible. Try not to strike out with the arms too much. (a small arm strike is OK though) Bend your knees between 30° and 45° Don’t sit down too far. Don’t rest in the half-squat position. You have to jump off immediately. That’s what plyometrics is all about. It should feel like if you were letting yourself fall into a half-squat position and then bounce off and jump onto the box.
* Jump onto the box. Extend your legs and your ankles. Keep your abs tight and your upper body as upright as possible. (head up) Don’t whip your trunk. You can swing your arms a little, but the strength should come from the legs. If you do the gymnastic box jump variation with the arms extended over head, then keep your elbows fully extended and the finger tips as high as possible.
* Land as soft as possible. The balls of the feet touch the box first. (not heels first)
* Do 10 to 25 repetitions. (a few sets) The box jump is an exercise for reactive leg strength, and not an endurance exercise. Typical pulse for this exercise 150 bps.
* Don’t forget to stretch your quadriceps.
* Stop if knees or your achilles tendon hurt.
* The box jump is the ideal exercise for gymnastics who are seeking higher flips.
To see it in action, check me out in the video below performing a Box Jump.