I have been doing strength training super-set work outs for many years


I have been doing strength training super-set work outs for many years.

When I first started going to the gym at age 15, I did the regular "do one set and rest" routine. I hated the part because I got bored. Moreover, it made my workouts take more.

After lifting for a couple years, I learned about super-sets. I have been doing them from the time... rather than just strength training super-sets. I do them in a myriad of formats to speed up my workouts.

Exactly what are super-sets?

In summary, super-sets are doing exercises back-to-back without any remainder. It could be targeting precisely the same muscle or different muscles. It could become a mixture of:

Strength training and cardiovascular exercise,

resistance training and stretching (or yoga), or

cardio and yoga.

You can produce duo, or triple combinations such as for instance:

Chest / Back (duet combo)

Chest / biceps / triceps (triple combo)

Chest / Back / Stretch

Chest / Chest / Back / Back (this four exercise super-set is fairly extreme).

What are the primary benefits of super-sets?

Saves time working out. I find super-sets cut down my work out time by 40%.

Hit all your muscle groups in fewer work outs during a given week. In place of hitting 2 muscle groups, you easily cover 4 during a 20 to 30 minute work out.

Relieves boredom. I hate sitting around between sets. I choose to keep going.

Supplies both anaerobic and aerobic work outs at the same time.

Makes stretching palatable. A great combo is weightlifting and extending.

More workout variety. You can come up with a myriad of work outs (see combinations below, with all of the combinations accessible). You are able to do different combinations during the exact same workout. In reality, every workout may be different.

I get that... but I am not absolutely all that concerned about maximizing benefit with every set. In reality, I had much rather cut my work out time by 40%, get 80% of the advantage and decrease boredom. That's what super-sets do for me personally.

Do super-sets work?

Yes, they do for me personally. In reality, I find that the amount I lift along with the amount of reps does not endure much despite taking much fewer and shorter breaks between sets. Besides, even on days I only lift weights, I get an aerobic work out in too.

Two Main Kinds of Strength Training Supersets

1. Same Muscle Combos

If you're really in to exhausting parts of your muscles, you certainly can do what I call "same muscle combos". That is when you do two different exercises targeting precisely the same muscle.

Same muscle combos don't automatically save you much time. Instead, they could really beat a muscle.

It is really a great idea to start with a compound exercise followed up with an isolation movement. Nonetheless, this is simply not absolutely vital. In reality, I often do entire strength training work outs using machines only... which are isolation exercises (machines also help save time).

Examples of Same Muscle Combos

Duo Super-sets

Bench Press / Level Flies

Incline Press / Pec Deck

Triple Super-sets

Bench Press / DB Press / Pec Deck

2. Different Muscle Combos

Different muscle combinations are what I do almost entirely. I don't really do same muscle combos super-sets.

Examples of different muscle combinations are the following:

Duo Super-sets

Bench Press (torso) / Lat Pull down (back)

Barbell Curl (bicep) / Triceps Extension (triceps)

Triple Super-sets

Bench Press / Bicep DB Curl / Triceps Extension

Lat Pull Down / DB Shoulder Press / Barbell Shrugs

How much rest in case you simply take between super-sets?

I normally take 30 seconds rest. I keep it short so that time taken between working out a muscle isn't too much time. Moreover, if I took 3 minutes, it would not shorten my workouts and would not provide much of an aerobic work-out.

If I do stretching in between sets, I simply take no rest.

It also depends upon whether you do "same muscle" combos or "different muscle combos". Clearly, should you reach precisely the same muscles back-to-back, you'll have to take more than 30 seconds rest.

It also depends upon whether you do duo or triple super-sets. I have a 10 to 15 second water break and continue, when I do triple super-sets. I truly motor with my triple set super-sets.

Thus, it all depends on the type of super-sets you do. Play it by ear to see what works for you. In the event that you will find 30 seconds does not provide enough recovery time, extend that to 45 seconds.

Moreover, be mindful of fatigue. It's possible for you to over-do your workouts with super-sets, especially when including compound exercises such as squats and deadlifts which are taxing and exhausting.

How can you plan your workouts with super-sets?

I love super-sets because I can either hammer out a 2-muscle work-out in 12 minutes leaving more time for cardio/yoga (and do this 4 to 5 times per week that is a 4 or 5 day split up) or reach 4 muscle groups in 20 to 30 minutes. With a 4 muscle super-set strategy, I lift 2 to 3 times per week (contingent upon the splits).

Examples of super-set work outs

Duo Muscle Superset Work outs

3-day Split

Day 1: Chest/Back | Biceps / Triceps

Day 2: Shoulders/Traps | Abs (superset the abs)

Day 3: Quads / Calves | Hamstrings / Abs

4-day Split

Day 1: Chest / Back

Day 2: Biceps / Triceps

Day 3: Shoulders / Abs

Day 4: Legs

A note about abs. It's possible for you to feature abs with weightlifting (i.e. do ab exercises between weightlifting exercises) or execute a separate ab workout where you do 2 or 3 ab exercises back-to-back.

5 Day Split

Day 1: Chest / Biceps

Day 4: Quads / Abs

Day 2: Back / Triceps

Day 3: Shoulders / Traps

Day 5: Hamstrings / Calves / Abs

With the 2 muscle work outs, you can target 2 or 4 muscles in a workout. In reality, for those who have a busy week, only adjust a four to five day split up to a 3 day separate.

Triple Muscle Super-sets

I often do more duo muscle super-sets; although when crunched for time, triple sets are amazing. They're also great for delivering an aerobic workout because rest time is cut back once again to 10 to 15 seconds between super-sets.

1 Day Split

Chest/Biceps/Triceps | Back/Shoulders/Traps | Quads/Hamstrings/Calves | Abs (triple set the abs as well with 3 ab exercises).

2-day Split

Day 1: Chest / Biceps / Triceps | Back/Shoulders/Traps

Day 2: Quads/Hamstrings/Calves | Abs (triple set the abs as well with 3 ab exercises).

3-day Split:

Day 1: Chest / Biceps / Triceps | Back/Shoulders/Traps

Day 2: Quads/Hamstrings/Calves

Day 3: Abs (beat them)

4-day Split

Day 1: Chest / Biceps / Triceps |

Day 2: Back/Shoulders/Traps

Day 3: Quads/Hamstrings/Calves

Day 4: Abs (beat them)

The more days you do, the faster your workouts will go. A 4 day split up could be achieved in 12 minutes easily. In the end it is a total of 6 sets (or however many sets you select to do per muscle group. You also need to element in put up time for each exercise).

Exactly how many exercises / sets per super-set?

Again, this depends on your workout objectives.

I typically do 2 exercises of 3 sets per muscle. I am maybe not out to win Mr. Olympia. I enjoy staying in decent shape with some tone and definition. If you are out to build some serious muscle or chisel up, put in a third exercise with another 3 sets.

The number of reps per set is dictated by your workout aim. Supersets function much the same as single set lifting and so the theories on the other side of the number of reps apply the same.

I typically do 5 to 10 reps. Often I will do 1 to 2 sets per exercise in the 5 to 6 rep range and end with an 8 to 10 rep set.

In case you are concerned regarding the ideal number of reps to do for each set and need to see what is probably some of the best literature on rep amount, have a look at Rusty Moore's Visual Impact Fitness. I have his guide so that as an effect of reading it, I lowered my rep volume to 5 or 6 (I traditionally did 8 to 12 reps per set).

Where in case you start with supersets?

The easiest to do, and in case you need to save lots of time, will be the duo different muscle super-sets in a 4 day split up. These will be this type of workout:

4-day Split for 1 Week

Day 1: Chest / Back

Superset 1: Bench Press / Lat Pull-down (3 sets -- 5, 5 and 8 reps)

Superset 2: Incline DB Chest Press / Seated Rows (3 sets -- 5, 8 and 10 reps)

Day 2: Biceps / Triceps

Superset 1: Barbell Curls / Lying down tricep extensions (3 sets - - 5, 5 and 8 reps)

Superset 2: Preacher Curls / Tricep Cable Push-downs (3 sets -- 5, 8 and 10 reps)

Day 3: Shoulders / Abs

Superset 1: Behind the Neck Press / Bicycle Ab Extensions/Curls (3 sets -- 5, 5 and 8 reps)

Superset 2: Shoulder Flies / Decline Ab Sit Ups (3 sets -- 5, 8 and 10 reps)

Day 4: Legs

Superset 1: Smith Machine Squats / Leg Curls (3 sets -- 5, 5 and 8 reps)

Superset 2: Leg Presses / Calf Extensions in the Leg Press (3 sets -- 5, 8 and 10 reps (I do 12 to 15 reps for calves))

The sky may be the limit

This strength training super-sets workout post is only the beginning together with the range of workouts you can create with super-sets. Throw in abs and extending, along with the mixtures escalate. learn more here