What Is a Superset Workout?
A Superset workout is comprised of two exercises combined into one full set with no rest in-between.
The Benefits of a Superset Workout
Supersets can help keep your workouts shorter. Most of the studies on supersets are “super small” but according to a study published in The European Journal Of Applied Physiology supersets can cut down on training time without losing effectiveness and doing supersets of the same muscles led to a greater muscular effort and strength gain than working different muscle groups, per a Journal Of Strength And Conditioning Research study.
Supersets can create an increased hypertrophy by providing an additional stimulus for muscle growth that single sets may not do.
Different Types of Superset Workouts
Things to consider when putting exercises together for supersets are the amount of weight and repetitions used as well as the exercises selected depending on goals.
Antagonist /Opposite Muscle Group Sets
Possibly the most common form of supersetting is agonist antagonist style training. This is the combination of two exercises that utilize opposing muscle groups. For example, you will pair a push with a pull exercise to work your anterior/posterior muscles in opposition. Another example would be a bicep curl followed by a tricep extension. An advantage to adding these to your workouts is that your muscles will recover faster in between sets. When one muscle group is being contracted (shortened) the opposite muscle relaxes (lengthens), reducing the need for a break or rest time between exercises.
Agonist/Same or Simular Muscle Group Sets
This is where both exercises work the same muscle groups. For example a push-up uses pectorals and triceps followed by a tricep extension or chest fly. This is great for adding intensity and volume to a workout as well as focusing on particular muscle groups. It is the most demanding type of superset. This type of superset may also be called compound sets.
Unrelated Muscle Group Sets
This is where the two exercises use totally different muscle groups. Exercises may alternate a lower body exercise followed by an upper body exercise. An example of this would be Squats followed by Lat Pulldowns. The primary advantage of this type of superset is that there is no loss of strength in going from one exercise to the other. The muscle group rests while to are doing a completely different muscle group.
Blog post by Ally Wilson.