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What Is The Best Supersetting Workout?

This week our forum members share with us what they think is the best superset workout. Get an exhaustive look at what supersets are and the routines that go with them. You will not be dissapointed.

By: Workout Of The Week


TOPIC: What Is The Best Supersetting Workout?

The Question:

Supersetting is an excellent way to keep your gym visits short and sweet. It will bump up the intensity of your workout and build muscle.

What is the best supersetting workout? Best specific. Include exercises, sets, reps, rest, etc.

Which are the best muscle groups to superset? Why?

What is the best rep range to use when supersetting exercises?

Is supersetting best used on compound or isolation exercises? Why?

How does supersetting stand up to other methods, such as pyramids, drop sets, etc.?

Bonus Question: Which is the best (shocking) method for building muscle?

Show off your knowledge to the world!

The Winners:

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      1st place - $75 in store credit.
      2nd place - $50 in store credit.

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1st Place - TUnit

Supersetting is an excellent way to keep your gym visits short and sweet. It will bump up the intensity of your workout and build muscle. Supersetting will help you to perform more work in less time which is key to building quality muscle.

First of all, supersetting can be done in a few different ways. You can do antagonist supersetting, which is the pairing of two opposite muscle groups such as biceps and triceps, chest and back, and quads and hamstrings.

This is quite effective for getting one muscle loose while its antagonist contracts. When the biceps are contracted, the triceps are relaxed. This can allow for more weight to be used or additional reps to be performed. You can also do agonist supersetting which is the pairing of two exercises for the same muscle.

For example, you can superset bench press with dumbbell flyes or squats with leg extensions. Usually agonist supersetting is a combination of a compound movement with an isolation movement. Pairing two compound movements could be too intense the same way that pairing two isolation movements could lack the intensity provided by a combination of compound and isolation.

The last way to superset is unconventional but is still valuable and saves time. You can superset two exercises that work completely different body parts such as triceps and back, biceps and chest, or quadriceps and calves.

In these cases, for example, you could superset skull-crushers with deadlifts, barbell curls with bench presses, and squats with calf raises. Again, a compound exercise is usually supersetted with an isolation movement.

supervid.htm
Super Set Video Guide:

Choose your version:

These are the five most common types of supersets:

1. Pre-Exhaustion Supersets:

    For example, leg extensions followed by squats. This method allows you to exhaust a muscle group by performing an isolation exercise and then really work it hard through a compound exercise.

    Check your ego at the door when using this method because your muscles will already be tired by the time you perform your big compound exercise such as squats or bench press. Start out with a lighter weight than you normally would and you will see exactly why this method is so effective.

2. Post-Exhaustion Supersets:

    For example, squats followed by leg extensions. This method of supersetting takes pain to a whole new level. It takes a compound exercise and then adds an isolation exercise after that to completely trash all the muscle fibers in a certain muscle group.

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3. Compound Supersets:

    For example, bench press followed by incline bench press. This method should only be used by more advanced trainees because heavy weights are being used in both parts of the superset which can lead to heavy CNS (Central Nervous System) stress.

4. Isolation Supersets:

    For example, barbell curls followed by hammer curls. This method allows you to focus on completely destroying a muscle group. You can do double the work in roughly the same amount of time and focus it all on one muscle group which is why this is also effective.

5. Staggered Supersets:

    For example, bench press followed by calf raises. This method is probably the least taxing of the supersetting methods because you work two completely unrelated muscle groups.

    This allows you to work lagging body parts in between sets but make sure that you do not superset back with biceps, chest with triceps or shoulders with chest because each muscle group is worked indirectly when training the other muscle group.

    This method is not meant for that. It is meant to allow for full rest and recovery of a muscle group like in straight sets but at the same time you can work other muscle groups in between.


Workout:
What is the best supersetting workout? Be specific. Include exercises, sets, reps, rest, etc.

In my opinion, the best supersetting workout consists of a combination of supersetting methods. Additionally, a supersetting workout should be time-efficient and have a high level of intensity.

It should be in a rep range conducive to hypertrophy as well and should consists of full-body workouts. Mostly compound movements are used to maximize efficiency and to create the best growth stimulus possible.

Supersetting Workout 1:

Superset Workout 2:


Muscle Groups:
Which are the best muscle groups to supersetting? Why?

The arms respond best when trained using supersetting methods. Supersetting biceps with triceps has proven to be effective in building muscle. The reason for this is simple; because as explained earlier, when a muscle contracts its antagonist/opposite muscle relaxes.

However, I think that the chest and back also respond well to supersetting. Personally, my favorite supersets are bench press with pendlay rows and barbell curls with weighted dips. These two supersets are amazing in their effects on size in the targeted muscle areas.

The legs also respond rather well to supersetting quadriceps and hamstrings. You can superset squats and stiff-legged deadlifts, leg presses with leg curls, and leg extensions with glute ham raises, among others.

The abdominal muscles respond well to supersets, circuits and even tri-sets so you could superset similar exercises such as leg raises and decline sit-ups or exercises that work the abs and obliques such as crunches with side bends. However, each person will respond differently to a training stimulus so try different types of supersets with different muscle groups to see which works best for you.


Rep Range:
What is the best rep range to use when supersetting exercises?

Many rep ranges will work for supersetting but those that are specific to functional hypertrophy (5-10 Reps) will work best. During all types of supersets (except staggered supersets), a lot of blood is pumped into a specific area such as the arms, the chest and back or the legs.

I would focus on a rep range of 5-8 for compound movements and a rep range of 8-10 for isolation movements. Chad Waterbury recommends that you stay within the 24-50 rep range in his Sets x Reps Bible. This means that the total reps for an exercise (sets x reps) should be between 24-50.

Some good combinations include: 4x6, 4x8, 5x5, 5x8 and 5x10. You should use the same parameters for supersetting as well. Varying rep ranges also helps to keep your body guessing. A periodized progression is often the best way of going about this. For example:

  • Weeks 1-2: 4 Sets x 10 Reps
  • Weeks 3-4: 4 Sets x 8 Reps
  • Week 5: 2 Sets x 8 Reps
  • Weeks 6-7: 4 Sets x 6 Reps
  • Weeks 8-9: 5 Sets x 10 Reps
  • Week 10: 2 Sets x 10 Reps


Compound Or Isolation:
Is supersetting best used on compound or isolation exercises? Why?

Supersetting is probably best used with one compound exercise and one isolation exercise. This is because this method caters to all levels of trainees. Supersetting a compound movement with another compound movement stresses the CNS greatly and many beginner and intermediate trainees are not ready for this level of intensity.

Also, supersetting a compound movement with an isolation movement gives you flexibility in terms of pre-exhaustion or post-exhaustion. You can put the isolation movement before the compound exercise or after it to achieve different training effects.

However, you can superset two compound movements if you are the type that loves intensity and leaves everything in the gym. Supersetting two compound movements can often stimulate more muscle growth than other methods. But again, it is an advanced method and should only be used by those with at least a year of experience.


Comparison:
How does supersetting stand up to other methods, such as pyramids, drop sets, etc.?

The Benefits Of Supersetting Include:

  • Save time. Going from one exercise to another without rest will make your workouts shorter and more efficient.

  • Increase your intensity. Because you're working the same muscle, but with different exercises, you're adding to the intensity of your workout.

  • Supersets allow you to overload your muscles without using heavy weights - perfect for someone who wants to build muscle but doesn't have a spotter or doesn't want to lift heavy weights.

  • Make things interesting. Supersetting can make weight training a little more interesting and definitely more challenging. (Source: exercise.about.com)

In my opinion supersets are better than pyramids and drop sets because they allow for two different exercises to be completed consecutively without any rest in between. Pyramids involve one exercise in which the reps are either increased with each set or decreased on each set.

While this is an effective way of increasing the loading on the muscles, you can only work on one muscle group at the same time. However, supersets do not exclude pyramids because they are two different means of training. In other words, you can superset barbell curls and skull-crushers and at the same time pyramid the sets.

This is an advanced and intense method that should only be used by experienced lifters. Other methods such as drop sets, which consist of lifting a certain weight for a number of repetitions and then lowering the weight and lifting for a few more reps before reaching failure, are not as effective as supersetting for the primary reason that they only work a certain muscle or muscle group.

stripvid.htm
Drop Set Video Guide:

Choose your version:

This is not to say that drop sets should not be used. drop sets are an effective method for pumping a lot of blood to a muscle group which can increase nutrient uptake which consequently leads to more muscle growth.

Supersetting rises above all exercise shocking methods in that you can work two muscle groups basically at the same time, you can greatly increase the intensity of the work, and most of all, you can shorten the time of the workout considerably. Here is a good article on shock methods in the weight room. Try to incorporate some of these into your workout routine and you will be rewarded.

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Bonus:
Which is the best (shocking) method for building muscle?

The best shocking method for building muscle is not found in the weight room. It is found in the kitchen. Food is by far the best "shock method" for building muscle. In order to grow, you must have a caloric surplus, that is, you must consume more calories than you expend.

As a general rule of thumb, eating 500 more calories than you expend will help you gain approximately 1 pound of bodyweight per week. If those calories are mostly clean, i.e. not junk food, and you lift weights regularly and lead an active lifestyle, then almost all of that weight gain will be muscle.

One of the keys to building muscle is eating at least 1 gram of protein per pound of bodyweight.

PROTEIN CALCULATOR
Bodymass
Results
Protein

Very good protein sources include:

  • Chicken
  • Lean steak
  • Lean beef
  • Pork
  • Cottage cheese
  • Milk

Another key to building muscle is having a sufficient amount of carbohydrates for energy and for growth.

Complex carbs such as rice, pasta, whole wheat bread, muesli, granola and oatmeal should be ingested for maximum effect. The often forgotten variable to a balanced diet is healthy fat. Many people eat greasy foods such as hamburgers.

However, they should concentrate on eating enough flax seed oil, fish oils, and nuts such as almonds. Additionally, fish oil supplements can be taken so that you make sure that you are eating enough healthy fat. If you want to build muscle, a good investment would be a multivitamin to ensure that you are getting all the nutrients and vitamins you need.

Many people would be surprised how well a multivitamin can assist in muscle growth. Basically, if you hit a plateau, eat about 250-500 calories of healthy foods more per day and you will be amazed and what it can do for recovery and growth.

Another great method for shocking you muscles into new growth is changing exercises every 2-4 weeks. Sometimes people use the bench press as the main exercise for the chest for a long period of time and eventually your progress will stagnate. Instead, try an Incline Bench Press or a Dumbbell Bench Press as your main exercise and then switch in 2-4 weeks to a Close-Grip Bench.

You can make your life easier by making a list of main exercises and their variations and assistance exercises and choosing one from the list. For example:

Chest:

Back:

Making lists such as these will go a long way in determining what exercises you want to use. In the weight room, two of the best methods for shocking your body into new growth are Cluster Set Training and Rest Pause Training (RPT).

When performing cluster sets, you usually take a weight you can lift for 5 reps and do 2 reps, rest 10 seconds, do another 2 reps, rest 10 seconds and do your last 2 reps. These numbers are somewhat arbitrary but make sure you pick a weight that you can lift for at least 3 more reps if you were doing regular straight sets.

In other words, pick a weight you could normally do for 6 reps if you want to do cluster sets of 3 reps, a weight you could normally do for 7 reps if you want to do cluster sets of 4 reps, and so forth. Usually cluster sets do not go past 4-5 reps. In the same way as supersets, cluster sets allow you to do more work in less time.

Rest Pause Training is just as effective as cluster set training. In RPT, you pick a weight that is equivalent to 90% of your 1-Rep Max (1RM) and lift the weight once, rest 10 seconds, perform another rep, rest 10 seconds and continue in this manner until you perform the prescribed number of reps.

90% OF 1 RM CALCULATOR

Enter the amount of weight you can lift (in pounds) and the number of reps you can lift it for.

Remember not to use such shocking methods all the time because they will (a) lose effectiveness over time and (b) are taxing on the body. Cycle them in periodically to ensure a shocking effect on the muscle group each time around.


2nd Place - Aussie LTD

I consider myself the king of supersetting. Supersetting is something I've learned to do effectively. My workouts are based around supersets and tri-sets, yet the poundage I use doesn't sacrifice. There are a few tricks on how to use supersetting effectively so it gives it you gains, rather than just burning you out. Read on and I'll explain how I've made supersetting something to love.


Workout:
What is the best supersetting workout? Be specific. Include exercises, sets, reps, rest, etc.

There are many ways to incorporate supersets into your workouts. Here I have incorporated two ways to include them; one is for those wanting to increase their intensity even more so on a HIIT workout, whereas the other is targeted toward those who prefer it medium-high volume. Please read on.

HIT Workout:

Medium-Higher Volume Option:


Muscle Groups:
Which are the best muscle groups to superset? Why?

All muscle groups can be superset. Bigger muscles such as chest and back respond well, so do legs as well as arms, delts, abs and calves. There are few restrictions as to what muscle groups you can superset, and which you shouldn't. The main thing to be cautious of is the possibility of overtraining.

Therefore, it's a good idea to balance the amount you're doing for smaller muscle groups such as biceps, triceps and delts, especially if these muscles groups are under the load of other intensity principles. Abdominals seem to recover quickly and usually only require bodyweight, so you usually don't need the same sort of break in between sets as other muscle groups. I find tri-sets and giant sets also respond well with abs for the same reason.

Calves are another muscle where exercises aren't as physically draining as muscle groups such as quads or back, so supersetting doesn't usually rob you on the weight you use.

Two muscle groups that respond particularly well are supersetting are chest and back. Here you are able to get an incredible pump through two of your biggest and most important muscle groups in one-hour. Volume for each muscle will have to be split in half, so in this case its an idea to train chest and back twice per week if possible.

In fact, supersetting any opposing muscle groups work well. This is because while you are training one area, the opposing muscle group and its synergist muscles are fairly inactive. This means you are basically resting one muscle group, while you work the other.

Supersetting biceps and triceps are another example of effectively supersetting opposing muscle groups. There is nothing better than the look of having your whole arms pumped at once; it feels great.

Even quadriceps and hamstrings work well. But training legs with supersets can be a lot more draining than upper body, as we all know how intense leg training can be. But doing this, you can get a pump in your whole upper leg that will blow them up like bubbles.

A lot of people find it hard to develop their legs, as well as calves, so trying new things and being open to new training methods is definitely the right state of mind to have in this situation. Supersets might just be what you need for bring up those stubborn muscle groups.

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Using opposing exercises, as well as opposing muscle groups, work well for the same reasons. Two examples include lying leg curls superset leg extensions and calf raises superset with reverse calf raises. As balance in strength and size between muscle groups is vital to prevent strength imbalances, injury and gaining overall symmetry, Supersetting opposing exercises encourage maintaining that balance you need.

Later on in the article I will discuss whether it's better to use supersetting for isolation or compound movements, so read on.


Rep Range:
What is the best rep range to use when supersetting exercises?

All rep range works well, but the main thing to be cautious of again is overtraining. When supersetting with very high reps, anywhere between 12-20, you're training becomes more endurance-based. If you're whole workout regime including cardio relies heavily on your cardiovascular system, you can quickly burn out, like I once learned.

Having said this, you can still use supersets with a higher rep range, and they can be effective for a sustained pump that is out of this world, but going too high may just cause fatigue.

The amount of reps you use in supersets should obviously be largely determined by what routine you're on: HIIT trainers will find their usual 4-6 rep range will work well, where using supersets will act to increase their intensity even more, while those on a higher volume routine might find higher reps (9-12) will work well, encouraging an even greater pump.

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9-12 reps is what I personally prefer as I find it's the best range for achieving "that pump," but I like to vary reps so I'm hitting all my muscle fibers. I eve used 20 reps at times for tri-sets and even giant sets, but when doing I recommend not doing too much.

There is no doubt supersets will work, as I've proven on my own physique. The whole nature of supersets is to increase intensity while minimizing rest periods, and I've found this can be achieved at varying rep ranges.


Compound Or Isolation:
Is supersetting best used on compound or isolation exercises? Why?

Using supersets for Isolation exercises is easier because isolation movements are less draining. Therefore, you will probably not have to sacrifice much weight. On other hand, compound supersets give you a massive pump throughout the whole muscle or even 2 muscles, instead of isolating one area of a muscle. This can lead to that desired full look throughout that whole area you're working.

You can even superset compound and isolation exercises together. This is how I train. I wrote another article on this site stating my favorite workout, and its based on just supersets and tri-sets.

If I'm training chest on own for example, I find it a better option to superset a heavy pressing movements with a less draining flye movement such as crossovers, rather than supersetting two pressing movements. I find supersetting two similar movements together, I have to decrease resistance a lot more, and fatigue earlier in the workout.

Therefore its important to keep a few things in mind when selecting exercises to superset:

  • Find two exercises that target a different area of that muscle (i.e: for chest: choose an exercise that targets the upper chest with one that targets the mid-lower chest), or you can choose to superset two different muscle groups.

  • Use two different movements. For back as an example, it's an idea to superset two different movements such as rowing and pull-downs. These both have a different range of motion, and will help prevent fatigue.

  • If you can, superset two exercises that are located close to each other in gym. This will prevent you from wasting time between movements.


Comparison:
How does supersetting stand up to other methods, such as pyramids, drop sets, etc.?

Personally, I think any method one can use to increase intensity in their workouts is great. If I had to choose just one principle though, it would sway towards selecting supersets.

Firstly, I find that supersets are a lot more recovery-friendly than drop sets. drop sets are an excellent way at taking your muscles to that absolute limit while giving them an incredible burn, but drop sets can only be used in moderation, whereas supersets can be used more often.

Pyramiding weight is another great principle for promoting hypertrophy. It's hard to compare pyramiding and supersetting as they are both different in nature.

Pyramiding weight does help ensure you are following the progressive resistance principle by always stimulating yourself under heavier workloads each set. Supersets on the other hand, although weight stays the same, it has more of an overall affect on your training intensity.

Personally I use both supersets and pyramid weight in my workout. In fact, both work well together: Pyramiding weight on supersets. Give it a go.

Here are some other principles I like:

Tri-Sets:

    Tri-sets are supersets older brother. Tri-sets are using three different exercises, rather than 2, and like supersets, you should have minimal break between exercises.

    One downside in comparison to supersets is that the amount of resistance you will be able to use will have to be decreased, but none the less, tri-sets are still an excellent way to shock your muscles into new growth.

    Follow the 3 principles I outlined for supersets when selecting exercises to tri-set.

Giant-Sets:

    These have to be the most intense of all principles. Doing 4-5 exercises in succession isn't an easy feat, but when done with good form, the results will speak for themselves.

    Be very cautious of overtraining here, like I once had to learn.

Pyramid Weight:

    As I described above, pyramiding weight is a great way to ensure you are progressing in terms of the amount of resistance you're using. A lot of people decrease reps on each successive set by as little as one, but I like to hit all muscle fibers within each exercise, so I pyramid reps from as high as 15 on my first set to as low as 6 on the last.

    This works particular well for compound movements, where weight is heavier.

Negative Resistance:

    These can be used during supersets for even greater pump. When using negatives with supersets, 2-3 seconds on the negative portion of the movement is ideal, but training super-slowly isn't recommended as overall workout length and overtraining can become issues.

    You can also use negative resistance by getting a training partner help you lift the weight, before you lower it on your own over a 5-10 second cadence. I've never heard of anyone doing negative resistance supersets, but hey it's another option.

Drop Sets:

    If it wasn't for the fact that these can quickly lead to overtraining, I'd be using drop sets like there was no tomorrow. The theory behind drop sets is this: When you've got the absolute most out your working set, although you can't possibly do another rep, if you lighten the weight you will be able to.

    Drop sets allow you take that particular exercise as far as you can possibly go, robbing your muscles of every last bit of cellular energy, with more of a focus on intensity than resistance used.

    To do drop sets, after your working set, drop your weight by 25 percent and continue to precede until failure, then continue decreasing weight by an additional 25 percent 2 times until you literally fall to the floor.


Bonus:
Which is the best (shocking) method for building muscle?

Supersets are the winner. Tri-sets and negative resistance come a close second. Tri-sets are an additional option when you want to take supersets one step farther and using negatives is a proven technique that can be used on every exercise.

Pyramiding weight in my eyes should never be overlooked either, as the resistance you use when lifting weight is one of the most important factors for growth.

Drop sets are another method that rate highly, but the overall intensity benefits of supersets is the main reason I rate them as the number one principle for shocking muscle.

The amount of growth I have gotten from using supersets has been incredible. Vascularity and definition have also been a result of using supersets over an extended period.

Things that encourage us to get the absolute most out of your workouts in the shortest time should be maximized. Using supersets and tri-sets are one of those principles that allow us to do this. I hope you apply on of the workouts in the article, and see yourself the magic supersets can bring.

Thanks for reading.

Happy supersetting.


3rd Place - RC26
The Best Supersetting Workout

Supersetting is a great way to workout in short periods of time. If your one of those people who train for 3 hours plus, then you need to superset. Here are some reasons why supersetting is important and should be used:

  1. Save time.
  2. Shock the muscles into accelerated growth.
  3. Develop strength endurance.
  4. Increase intensity.
  5. Get a great pump.

There are a couple of different ways of supersetting:

  1. Supersetting can be done with two opposing muscle groups such biceps (pulling muscles) and triceps (pushing muscles). A set of bicep curls followed by a set of triceps extensions.

  2. Supersetting can be done like this: a set of lat pull-downs followed by a set of seated rows.

  3. Supersetting can be done with 3 muscle groups instead of two; this is called a tri-set.

  4. Pre-exhaustion supersets are done with the same muscle group, for example a set of leg extensions followed by s set of squats.

  5. Post-exhaust supersets, for example a set of flat barbell bench presses followed by a set of flat dumbbell flyes.

Supersets can be done with a set of a compound exercise followed by a set of a different compound exercise for example a set flat bench press followed by a set of incline bench press. The same can be done with isolation exercises and also with a mix of compound and isolation exercises.

One thing people forget to do when making a training schedule is that they forget to include all the major body parts. Muscle groups such as forearms and calves should be trained from day one. Another mistake people make is copying a champion bodybuilder's workout routine ... they end up complaining about not looking like the bodybuilders.

First thing you need to do is look in the mirror, find out what your weak points are and make sure you include extra exercises for that certain muscle group. Also don't overtrain, because overtraining will slow down your muscle growth and can severely injure you.

Make sure you have rest days, and do some cardio once a weak. Last but not least, change your program every couple of weeks or months. For example, if you are always using a barbell when bench pressing, substitute the barbell with dumbbells or use a machine or cables.

The more advanced you get, the more exercises you'll need to do. When starting out, your muscles will have to get used to the stimulation. Remember, actual muscle growth takes place when you rest, not in the gym when you train.


Workout

The best supersetting workout is as follows:

The Training Split:

  • Monday - Chest and Back
  • Tuesday - Abdominals and Forearms
  • Wednesday - Legs and Shoulders
  • Thursday - Abdominals and Neck
  • Friday - Arms
  • Saturday - Cardio
  • Sunday - Rest Day

Monday - Chest & Back.

Bodypart Exercise Sets* Reps
Upper Pecs Incline Barbell Bench Presses 4 15, 12, 8, 4
superset with-
Upper Lats Wide-Grip Lat Pulldowns 4 15, 12, 8, 4
Lower Pecs Decline Barbell Bench Presses 4 15, 12, 8, 4
superset with-
Lower Lats Close-Grip Lat Pulldowns 4 15, 12, 8, 4
Pecs Cable Crossovers 4 15, 12, 8, 4
superset with-
Back Barbell Rows 4 15, 12, 8, 4
Chest (Ribcage) Dumbbell Pullovers 3 12
superset with-
Lower Back Hyperextensions 3 12

Tuesday - Abdominals & Forearms.

Bodypart Exercise Sets** Reps
Upper Abs Crunches 3 25
superset with-
Wrist Extensors Wrist Curls 3 12
Lower Abs Hanging Leg Raises 3 25
superset with-
Wrist Flexors Reverse Wrist Curls 3 12

Wednesday - Legs & Shoulders.

Bodypart Exercise Sets* Reps
Legs Squats 4 20, 15, 12, 8
superset with-
Front Deltoids Seated Front Military Presses 4 15, 12, 8, 4
Quadriceps Leg Extensions 4 20, 15, 12, 8
superset with-
Side Deltoid Lateral Raises 4 15, 12, 8, 4
Hamstrings Standing Leg Curls 4 20, 15, 12, 8
superset with-
Rear Deltoids Bent Lateral Raises 4 15, 12, 8, 4
Calves Standing Calf Raises 4 20, 15, 12, 8
superset with-
Traps Dumbbell Shrugs 4 15, 12, 8, 4

Thursday - Abdominals & Neck.

Bodypart Exercise Sets** Reps
Upper Abs Twisting Crunches 3 25
superset with-
Neck Raises To The Front 3 25
Lower Abs Reverse Crunches 3 25
superset with-
Neck Raises To The Back 3 25

Friday - Arms.

Bodypart Exercise Sets* Reps
Biceps Standing EZ-Bar Biceps Curls 4 15, 12, 8, 4
superset with-
Triceps Lying EZ-Bar Triceps Extensions 4 15, 12, 8, 4
Biceps Standing Alternate Dumbbell Curls 4 15, 12, 8, 4
superset with-
Triceps Seated Dumbbell Extensions 4 15, 12, 8, 4
Biceps Preacher Curls 4 15, 12, 8, 4
superset with-
Triceps Triceps Pushdowns 4 15, 12, 8, 4

Saturday - Cardio.

    Do any kind of cardio for 30 to 60 minutes.

    After a superset is complete, rest for about 1-to-2 minutes. For example, when you do a set of incline barbell bench presses and a set of wide-grip pull-downs, rest for 1-to-2 minutes.

    * First set is a warm-up set.
    ** There is no warm-up set for abdominals, forearms and neck muscles.


Muscle Groups:
Which are the best muscle groups to superset? Why?

In my opinion, the best muscle groups to superset are biceps and triceps. Training these two muscle groups together gives you a great pump. It's time efficient and helps develop muscle endurance. You will make tremendous gains when training these two muscle groups together.


Click Image To Enlarge.
Biceps & Triceps.


Rep Range:
What is the best rep range to use when supersetting exercises?

As you have seen in the workout posted above, the rep ranges vary. Upper body muscles' rep ranges are between 4-and-15, with the exception of abdominals and neck muscles. Lower body rep range is between 8-and-20. The reason for this is that legs are the biggest and strongest muscles of the body.

They were made for walking hundreds of miles. In that case, they have more endurance. The first set of either upper body or lower body muscles' rep range is high because it's the warm-up set, with the exception of abs, forearms and neck.

The next 3 sets are the working sets, and after each set, you increase the weight while decreasing the reps. I believe that's the best way to train. If you only use high reps and light weight, then you will develop a lot of definition. If you only use low reps and heavy weights, then you will develop a lot of mass. If you mix both in, then you get the best in both worlds. You get mass and definition.


Compound Or Isolation:
Is supersetting best used on compound or isolation exercises? Why?

I believe that supersetting is best used with isolation exercises. For example, a set of bicep curls followed by a set of lying triceps extensions ... I think it's better to do that because one muscle will be working while the other will be recuperating.

When you're a beginner, you should superset isolation exercises most of the time, and also mix isolation with compound exercises. As you get more advanced, you could try supersetting a compound exercise with another compound exercise and an isolation exercise with another isolation exercise.


Comparison:
How does supersetting stand up to other methods, such as pyramids, drop sets, etc.?

In my opinion, supersetting is one of the best methods of training. I believe supersets should be done every week. Your workouts will be shorter and more effective. Your muscle endurance will increase. You will get a great pump and feel like your muscles are about to explode.

Just make sure that you always include shocking techniques. Here are some of the most common used shocking techniques: drop sets, staggered sets, the instinctive principle, the pre-exhaust principle, the post-exhaust principle, the isotension principle, the instinctive principle, the flushing method, the platoons system (21s), and the one and a half method. All of these techniques can be used and/or mixed in with supersetting.


Bonus:
Which is the best (shocking) method for building muscle?

I believe that there are two shocking methods for building muscle, but all of them are good. They are supersets and running the rack. Running the rack is probably one the most painful shocking techniques that you can do.

I like doing it when I do standing calf raises and donkey calf raises. Not only do you get a great pump, but also feel a burn in your muscles and that's when you feel the pain. But pain is felt everyday in the gym because as they say,

"NO PAIN = NO GAIN."

Ask any bodybuilder and they will agree. As far as supersets go, I think I explained what they are and their benefits.

Here is a list explaining what other shocking techniques are:

  • Forced Reps - Forcing extra reps with the help of your training partner or spotter.

  • Partial Reps - When you are unable to complete full range of motion reps, continue the set by doing partial reps, going from three quarter reps, to half reps, to quarter reps.

  • The Isotension Principle - After you complete a set, flex the muscles you are working, because flexing is an isometric exercise and involves intense muscle contractions.

  • The Instinctive Principle - As you become more advanced, start your workout and end it by the way you feel on that particular day. For example, if you felt like doing squats first instead of leg presses, then go ahead and do squats.

  • The Platoon System (21s) - What you do here is complete 7 half reps in the lower range of motion, then complete 7 half reps in the upper range of motion, and then you complete 7 reps in the full range of motion.

  • Eating- eating is important and vital in your bodybuilding program. Eating the right foods and enough of them will help get the body you are looking for. Eating is also a shocking method. If you want to gain muscle, you have to eat right.

    If you want to lose weight, you have to eat right. Eat 1 gram of protein per pound and 2 grams of carbs per pound if you want to gain muscle. I'm a believer of a minimum of 5-to-6 six meals a day, because this will keep your metabolism running at high level, and you will not be hungry. You can have protein shakes as meal replacements and make sure you also eat fruits and vegetables.

NUTRIENT CALCULATOR
Bodymass
Results
Protein
Carbs

Well, enough said, I hope this will help you in your goals to be fit, and remember to never quit and always try harder.

References:

  1. The Encyclopedia of Modern Bodybuilding - Arnold Schwarzenegger with Bill Dobbins.


3rd Place - bitterplacebo

Supersetting is a method of increasing workout intensity through minimizing the rest time taken between sets of different exercises. This usually means finishing a set of one exercise and going directly into another exercise's set without any resting.


Workout

A workout involving supersets would be utilized by someone with at least moderate weight training experience. It can reduce time spent in the gym while still providing adequate growth stimulation.

Based on my experiences, I put together the following outline of a chest and arms workout:

Format/Specifcations:

Guidelines/Tips:

    Warming up before any workout is important. You can try light jogging, cycling or stretching. The warm-up will help prevent injury and also help you work more efficiently during the workout. I prefer to have my warm-up be a quick, light weight, higher rep version of my actual workout for that day.

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    This prepares each individual muscle for the more intense work to come. There are pros and cons to each method, so you should research or experiment more on your own to find out what works best for you.

    • Wide-Grip Incline Bench Press - Focus on stretch at bottom of rep and squeezing chest up. If you don't lock the elbows out, more tension can be kept on the muscles.

    • Dips - Lean forward slightly to target the chest more instead of triceps. Again, more tension can be kept on the muscles if you don't lock the elbows out during execution.

    • Flyes - I can't remember where I heard this visualization from, but I found it works well: with elbows slightly bent, focus on stretching the chest at bottom and then imagine hugging a tree while raising the weights.

    • Other Exercises - Descriptions can be found in the Exercise Guides Database.

    You should also plan on doing certain activities after a workout. These activities are actually focused on enhancing your recovery from the stresses of the workout. They will include some cardiovascular activity, stretching, getting your post-workout nutrition, taking some supplements or using contrast baths. Again, you should research more about these to figure out what would work best for you.

    The workout that I outlined is a solid supersetting workout for a few reasons. The mix of exercises in the workout facilitate full development. By this I mean that each muscle is targetted in a variety of ways. You also get the benefit that compound exercises have on growth as well as the precision of isolation exercises.

    I didn't feel the volume of sets was particularly demanding, so overtaining should not be much of a worry.

    It should also be mentioned that the whole workout should be able to be completed without the need of a spotter. Due to the time-dependent nature of supersetting, it would be really inconvenient to have to find a spotter all the time. I would say that supersetting is best done alone, but if you can find someone who either wants to follow you around or do the exact same workout, that's great.


Muscle Groups:
Which are the best muscle groups to superset? Why?

It really depends on what you are looking to do. The basic options are:

Upper/Lower Body Superset:

    Pros: Benefit of a full body workout for overall development.
    Cons: This might not be able to get as precise of muscle developments as are desired.

Antagonistic Muscles Superset:

    Pros: When one muscle is working the other is not.
    Blood flow increased to a localized area.
    Can actually help make you stronger during the opposing exercise.
    Cons: I couldn't think of any.

Pre-Exhaustion Superset (isolation followed by compound movement for same muscle groups):

    Pros: Can help improve a specific part that is lagging by stimulating it more.
    Cons: Fatigue might become a problem, you are not going to be as strong as usual on the compound movement.

I chose to describe an upper body routine because it works well with supersetting and can be applied by a wide range of people. The chest and arms seem to be what more people are looking to develop. Also, the upper body is "easier" to train than the lower so a supersetting workout for those muscles is a good way to increase intensity without killing yourself on legs.

In general, though, I would recommend supersetting with any of these antagonistic muscle groups while putting together a plan:

  • Back/Chest
  • Biceps/Triceps
  • Hamstrings/Quadriceps


Rep Range:
What is the best rep range to use when supersetting exercises?

I would say aiming for 10 reps is a good idea when using supersets. If you're getting 12 or more reps, you should think about raising the weight. If you're getting less than 8 reps you should think about lowering the weight.

The main reason I say 10 is because there's margin for error. Any intense workout method like supersetting can wear you down. If you only get 8 reps due to fatigue, you can still leave the exercise confident that you didn't waste time or effort. On the other hand, if you were aiming for 5-or-6 and only get 3, chances are you're not going to be satisfied at all with your efforts.


Compound Or Isolation:
Is supersetting best used on compound or isolation exercises? Why?

Again, this depends on what you trying to accomplish.

Supersetting Compound:

    Pros: This will definitely stimulate a lot of muscles into growing, not to mention your ego.
    Cons: Prepare for lots of sweat, pain and terror.

Supersetting Isolation/Compound Mix:

    Pros: This is the pre-exhaustion technique. (see above)
    Cons: (see Muscle Groups section above)

Supersetting Isolation/Isolation:

    Pros: You can work a precise muscle without tiring too quickly.
    In-Set Exercise Changing is more plausable, which will reduce rest to zero.
    Cons: Not really any, except it may not be as intense or heavy as some would like.

I would say that supersetting isolation exercises has the most potential. Supersetting involves minimizing rest time, and a person can only do so much compound work before they need a longer rest. It's also easier to move from one exercise to the next if they're are both isolation. It's also safer, since you probably are not going to have a spotter readily available.

The workout I described contains a good variety of both compound and isolation exercises that anyone should be able to do by themselves.


Comparison:
How does supersetting stand up to other methods, such as pyramids, drop sets, etc.?

Pyramids:

    I think pyramids can really destroy confidence. The point seems to be that you try to use different weights and reps in an effort to activate more fiber types and increase intensity. I've personally never felt stronger by trying to do this.

    I am always disappointed because I don't get as many reps as I was looking for after increasing weight. Supersetting makes me feel confident in my ability to be able to exert my maximum effort in such a smaller time frame.

Drop Sets:

    Drop sets are a good way to increase intensity, it allows one to make the muscle work a little bit harder than your body is telling you it can do. Being able to take things a little farther, even after a good set, can definitely be satisfying as well as stimulating for your muscles.

    The only thing to be careful of would be using it too often, which would lead to overtraining. If you look at supersetting as a way of condensing your workout and drop sets as a way of extending the workout, then it would be harder for supersetting to lead you into an overtrained state.

Pure Volume:

    I would say that taking a muscle to failure too many times is a bad idea. Too much is time spent in gym with this method. That time could be used recovering instead. I've tried high volume workouts, and I would be spending an hour or two in the gym trying to get everything done.

    If you walk out of the gym feeling drained instead of energized or dreading the next workout instead of looking forward to it, then something is wrong. Think about taking some time off. With supersetting, workouts can still be instense on your muscles, but only last from 30-to-45 minutes.

Rest-Pause:

    I have yet to try this method, so really can't make many comments. It seems like a good theoretical alternative for increasing intensity, though. This method would let you use heavier weights than supersetting does. So to me it seems supersetting would be more for the endurance oriented, and rest-pause more for the strength oriented.

Rest-Pause Video Guide:
  • Windows Media Player (578 KB)
  • Real Player (808 KB)
  • Mpeg (1.75 MB)
  • Negatives/Partials:

      These work well for trying to reach new levels. The situation is similar to drop sets: extending the set in order to take things farther. But this, too, has the possibility of overtraining associated with it.

    Negatives/Partials Video Guide:
  • Windows Media Player (400 KB)
  • Real Player (550 KB)
  • Mpeg (1.19 MB)
  • Forced Reps:

      I don't like forcing anything. I feel confident if I can complete a set by myself. I feel even more confident if I can find a way to extend a set without any help. This method also has a big potential for overtraining. I would rather train my muscles to do all of the work, not to fail and then need assistance.

    Forced Reps Video Guide:
  • Windows Media Player (376 KB)
  • Real Player (512 KB)
  • Mpeg (1.1 MB)

  • Bonus:
    Which is the best (shocking) method for building muscle?

    Really the best shocking method is just variety. Change something. Figure out if it works and adapt. Some suggestions:

    Nutritional Changes:

    • A cheat meal. Eat whatever you want once a week. You might be getting some nutrients that you are lacking in your regular diet.
    • Try to substitute different healthy foods if they are available. This might give yourself something you lack.
    • Simply eat more.
    • Try some supplements or a multivitamin if you think there is no other way to improve your nutrition otherwise.

    Training Changes:

    • Vary exercises every once in a while. In 4 weeks a muscle might adapt to a specific exercise and thereby make gains more difficult.
    • Your body might need some time to fully recover. Try taking a week off.
    • Try the shocking method described at www.x-rep.com. The basic principle is to increase intensity by focusing on partial reps at the stretched position of an exercise, after a set to failure. They claim many benefits from this method, and offer research to back it up, which you should definitely explore.

    If I could only recommend one of the previous changes, I would go with the x-rep as the best change to make. The method does not seem well known, judging by the looks I get when I end up floored, sweating and gasping after a set of squats using the x-rep technique.

    They can be intense, so they should be used with caution, but I'm still incorporating them after 3 weeks without feeling drained.

    It's important to experience a variety of training methods. Remember that there's different strokes for different folks. Something that works for others might not work for you, so don't be afraid to make your own decisions.


    Review Of Other Articles
    Or "Why Wasn't Mine Picked?"


    Squats

    Pro's

    • Writer answered the question as asked. Great layout and good information.

    Con's

    • Light on content answering questions.
    • Comments: A more conversational style (writing as if talking to an acquaintance interested in the subject) and stricter proof reading might prove to be of benefit.

      A generally well written piece without enough content other than the layout to be an article. Over-use of the first person pronoun "I" can make reading awkward. Other devices for the first person should be explored.


    live4this13

    Pro's

    • Nice cadence and style. Good use of references.

    Con's

    • Did not strictly follow the outline.
    • Comments: An enjoyable read that gave the reader reward for the effort. There was good material and insight. The targeted audience and the outline question made the explanation of supersetting somewhat redundant. Overall an excellent effort.


    ho_124

    Pro's

    • Good amount of content for an article. Coherent information.

    Con's

    • Definition of supersets not in outline criteria. Structure could use some work.
    • Comments: Paragraphs are compounded and need to be broken down for clarity. Run on sentences hurt this article. An example would be:

      Before even getting into a superset workout it is important to know what a superset even is and the different kinds and what benefits one will receive from many variations.

      Could be written another way, e.g.:
      Before discussing a specific workout it is important to define types of supersetting and the benefits thereof. (or words to that effect)

      This writer continues to show great knowledge of bodybuilding and fitness and will only improve with practice.


    What Is The Best Supersetting Workout?

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    weezonator

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    weezonator

    What an awesome article, I'm gonna try some of these workouts and see what happens.

    Apr 1, 2012 7:40pm | report
     
    ScarletTech

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    ScarletTech

    You must be a terrifying sight to see, standing 13'2" tall... You in the Guiness book of records yet?

    Just kidding man, I can down to read through comments and that gave me a good chuckle.

    Nov 24, 2013 3:37pm | report
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