Putting on quality mass isn't an overnight miracle. It requires time and dedication to the iron, but what if you could feel huge in half the time? Too good to be true, right?
They're not an earth-shattering new concept, but supersets can halve the time you spend in the gym by allowing you to get more work done in less time, and giving you a gnarly pump in the process! Creating your own superset doesn't follow iron-clad rules, but they very commonly combine two exercises that target opposing muscle groups.
In this case, we're hitting chest and back.
Popularized by the legendary Arnold "I'll be back" Schwarzenegger, who was well-known for his chest and back supersets leading up to competition, this superset prescription will give your upper body the kind of shirt-popping girth that would make Arnold nod in approval.
If you're doing this workout today, avoid wearing overly constricting shirts, unless you want to risk bursting out of them. Get yourself pumped for the pump of your life!
In true superset fashion, finish the first exercise of the superset and immediately (with a breather or two, if needed) move onto the second exercise to complete one superset.
Note that you should complete one superset before you move on to the next superset. Rest no more than 90 seconds between sets, but if 60 seconds is enough, go for it.
Superset 1: Incline Barbell Press / Wide-Grip Pull-Up
While you might be tempted to start with the flat bench supersetted with some type of pulldown or row, this is a better option. The incline bench blasts the upper chest (and nobody ever complains about having too big of an upper chest), and nothing beats pull-ups for a wide, well-developed back.
If you can't do regular wide-grip pull-ups, do not substitute it with pulldowns. Get some assistance, even if someone has to hold your feet. Whatever you do, reach the prescribed rep range.
Quick tip for incline presses: If you can't lower the bar to your chest, or you have a history of shoulder injuries, lower the bar until you are an inch—no more than two inches—above the chest. Also, ensure that you have a spotter to help you bail, should you need it. Always train safely.
Superset 2: Flat Dumbbell Bench Press / Bent-Over Two-Dumbbell Row
I like this pairing because both sets of dumbbells are already conveniently there! The dumbbells also will force you to stabilize the weights and make your muscles work individually. When performing the exercise, take your time lowering the weight, then push the weight back up with as much force as possible while concentrating on squeezing the pecs for quality muscle contraction.
Check your ego at the gym entrance. Just because you can do barbell rows with 200 pounds doesn't mean you should be rowing with 100-pound dumbbells. Nope, don't even try it.
Superset 3: Cable Crossover / Close-Grip Pulldown
It's normal to feel fatigue coming on at this point, especially if you're new to this type of training. The machines will give you a tiny reprieve, but that doesn't mean you should slack off!
When you do the crossovers, make sure you get a good stretch at the back of the exercise and squeeze as hard as you can when you bring the handles in. Doing this chisels in those very fine separations in the chest, and brings more nutrient-rich blood to increase that pump.
Similarly, with the pulldowns, squeeze the back muscles as hard as you can as you bring the handle down, then let it up slowly. Make sure you control the weight, not the other way around.
Superset 4: Push-Up / Hyperextension
Although these can very well be done with body weight alone, make them more challenging by elevating your feet with the push-ups or hugging a weight plate as you do hyperextensions.
Hyperextensions are a hip-hinge movement; you should not be placing undue stress on your lower back. Concentrate on using and squeezing your upper glutes.
And Finally, The Finisher... Dumbbell Pullover
Arnold did these to stretch out his lats and chest because he believed they helped expand his rib cage for further growth. Lower the weight to a count of five, then bring it over your chest to a one-count. Squeeze at the top as hard as you can before lowering the weight again.
As you get better at this routine, you can add a little variety by leading your supersets with back exercises instead of chest exercises. Bask in the glory of that pump, and let me know how you feel in the comments below!