Supersets are a super cool way to supersize your workouts without being super scary (super fast too!)


Did I mention “super” enough in my title? 😁

What is a Superset?

OK, enough of the super silly humor, let’s get to it. A superset is basically where two different exercises are performed back-to-back. Instead of doing three sets of bench presses, with a rest between each set, THEN moving on to three sets of seated rows, with a rest between each set, you do one set of bench presses then IMMEDIATELY move on to do one set of seated rows. THEN you take a rest, before repeating.

So, instead of:

Exercise 1 – rest, Exercise 1 – rest, Exercise 1 – rest, Exercise 2 – rest, Exercise 2 – rest, Exercise 2 – rest

You do

Exercise 1, Exercise 2 – rest, Exercise 1, Exercise 2 – rest, Exercise 1, Exercise 2 – rest

Why should you use Supersets in your workouts?

Efficiency. By combining two exercises together, you eliminate some of your rest time and make your workouts go by faster. For me, this often means that a 75-minute workout lasts just 60 minutes. Depending on the type of exercises you are doing, you may see just a smidge of HIIT (high-intensity interval training) as you keep your heart rate a little higher between rest breaks.

How should Supersets be used?

You can mix up supersets any way you want, but I find the best way is to work different muscle groups. Chest and back, quads and shoulders, biceps and triceps. That way, even though you are not sitting down and resting your entire body, each muscle group does get a little rest while the other gets to work.

That said, if you really want to fatigue a certain muscle group, you can combine two exercises into a single superset. I don’t take this route often, but when I do, I usually combine a compound exercise (one that works multiple muscles) with a more targeted, isolation exercise (one that strictly focuses on a specific muscle). For example, a bench press followed by a bicep curl–both work your biceps.

Do I have to make each exercise super tough?

Nope! I may do a set of knee raises and then immediately do some calf raises. The first is pretty tough, but the second works on just a small muscle and doesn’t have to use weights or equipment.

How often should you use Supersets?

That’s up to you. You may find that you don’t like supersets at all–that’s ok. You may also find that you use them when convenient–say, when you have in hand the same weight dumbbells that you use for bicep curls AND tricep extensions.

You may mix in supersets just to add variety. You may use them because you just have 15 minutes to do your workout when normally you have 45.

Will Supersets make me super fast, super strong, or super ripped?

I wish. Supersets can have some small benefits, in that your workout can be more efficient–allowing you to squeeze in more sets or muscle groups. They can induce some extra muscle exhaustion if you do superset that focuses on just one muscle. However, supersets will mostly help you to use less of your valuable time to complete your workout. That could lead to you doing three days of workouts in a week versus two, because you only need 20 minutes and not 30.

Sound super exciting? Are you set to try them? Are you super tired of my corny puns?

Pass it on...