What is a superset?
Ever been at the gym and noticed someone hogging multiple bits of equipment? They seem to be jumping between different exercises without taking a break.
To the untrained eye, they just look indecisive and a little bit too keen. But to those with a little bit of gym experience under their belt, they know that this is actually known as a superset.
A superset is a term used in the fitness world to describe a workout routine where two or more exercises are performed consecutively without rest, or with a shorter rest period.
Supersets are a great way to add intensity to your workouts and help you achieve your fitness goals faster. In this blog post, we will explain what supersets are, why you would do one and how to create your own superset routine!
What is a superset?
A superset is a weightlifting term that describes a workout routine that involved two or more exercises performed back to back. You would typically have a shorter rest between exercises, or sometimes even no rest at all.
The idea behind supersets is that by performing exercises back-to-back, you can keep your heart rate elevated and burn more calories in a shorter amount of time. This means you can achieve more from your workout with less of a time commitment.
Supersets can be performed with two exercises that work the same muscle group or two exercises that work different muscle groups.
For example, a superset for the chest could be:
- Incline Barbell Press
- Incline Dumbbell Fly
Or a superset for legs could be:
- Leg press
- Bulgarian split squat
Rather than rest between each set, you jump straight into the next exercise, ensuring that your heart rate stays elevated throughout.
What can a superset help to achieve?
Supersets are a great way to add intensity to your workouts and help you achieve your fitness goals faster.
If you are looking to build muscle, supersets can help by allowing you to work different muscles groups back-to-back without rest. This will help to fatigue the muscles more, leading to bigger gains.
If you are trying to lose weight, you'll burn more calories, which will help you to achieve the calorie deficit needed to lose weight.
Supersets are also a great way to keep your workouts interesting. With a traditional workout, you complete all sets in an exercise before moving on to the next one. With a superset, you switch between exercises with minimal rest in between.
They are a lot more challenging than a single set, so you'll have the added challenge of maintaining your form while feeling the fatigue. If you get bored of the same old workout routine, challenging yourself with a superset is a great way to keep things interesting.
And finally, supersets allow you to spend less time in the gym. If you're already struggling to fit your workout into your week, then finding a way to get the most out of your training time is essential.
How do you build a superset?
If you're new to supersets, then don't worry, we will show you how to build your own routine.
When you are creating a superset routine, there are a few things that you need to consider:
- What muscle groups do you want to work?
- What exercises do you already know how to do with the correct form?
- What order will do you the exercises in?
- What equipment will you need?
- How many sets and reps of each can you achieve?
Once you have considered all of these factors, you can start to put together your routine. Choosing exercises with similar equipment and similar weights can be helpful but not essential, particularly if you have access to a home gym.
For example, let's say we want to work the chest and triceps. A possible routine could be:
- Dumbbell bench press x 12 reps & Tricep dips x 12 reps
- Seated row x 12 reps & Close grip bench press x 12 reps
You would then rest for 30-90 seconds between sets. Repeat the superset 3-4 times for maximum gains. You might also add a few larger compound movements like deadlifts and squats to create a well-rounded workout.
And that's it! You have now created your very own superset routine. All you need to do is a 5-10 minute cardio warm-up and 5-10 minutes of stretching to cool down at the end.
How to superset safely
While it might feel like speed is the aim of the game, you still need to pay close attention to your form. A superset workout will get you in and out of the gym faster, but could also lead to injury if you aren’t careful. Here are a few tips for keeping your supersets safe:
- Always warm-up before any workout. Just 5 minutes of cardio will help to elevate your heart rate and get the blood flowing to your muscles. Follow this with a resistance band mobility routine to ensure your muscles are ready for a workout.
- Focus on form above speed. It’s tempting to try to get your workout done as quickly as possible, but you should never sacrifice form for speed. This is when injuries happen.
- Keep the weight manageable. When doing a superset, you might not be able to work with the weight you are accustomed to working with for a traditional set. Your muscles will fatigue much sooner with a superset, so you need to make sure the weight stays under control.
- Keep your equipment tidy. When jumping between dumbbells, barbells and kettlebells, it can quickly get messy in your weight room. Keep things organised to avoid tripping or injuring yourself during your workout.
- Don’t use muscle groups that interfere with one another. You can technically superset any two exercises, but it’s most effective when the muscles have opposite functions. This is also known as agonist-antagonist supersets. An example of this would be biceps and triceps.
- Avoid supersets with taxing movements. If you try to superset multiple taxing movements, you run the risk of injury. An example of a taxing movement would be a squat or a deadlift. A more advanced weightlifter would be able to pair these movements with opposite movements. For example, a barbell back squat pairs will with a pull up.
If you’re tired of sharing equipment at the gym, a home gym package will give you the freedom to work out on your own terms. Build your dream home gym setup today.