Supersets | Fitness Science Fitness Science

Supersets

Superset training is a form of exercise organization in strength training, in which a combination of two exercises are alternated without rest. Many combinations of exercises are possible, but traditionally two antagonistic exercises are combined, which target opposite muscle groups. This way, when performing the second exercise, the muscle groups that were active during the first exercise are allowed a short rest before their second set.

Superset training has several advantages over traditional 3 set per exercise training. Firstly, by combining two exercises without rest, training time is effectively cut in half. Secondly, because the muscles get a shorter rest period, and because they can rest less effectively while other muscles are active during their rest, muscles can not recover as well as during normal training. This results in increased acidification, lactate production and muscle fatigue, which can lead to greater muscle adaptations and muscle growth. Thirdly, due to the same amount of work performed in less time, the body’s work capacity increases and needs more energy during recovery (EPOC), which helps weight loss and improvement in body composition.

Superset training is less suitable for those just starting strength training because training intensity is higher than during regular strength training with rest periods after each set. Superset training is mostly done by combining exercises targeting opposite muscle groups, such as biceps and triceps. However, it is possible to make other combinations as well, such as a standing calf raise and shoulder press (calves and shoulders). As long as muscle groups during one exercise, are not or hardly active during the second exercise, they can effectively be combined into a superset.