If there’s one good thing that the rona has done for me, it’s the fact that it’s helped to reignite my love and appreciation for supersets.
When I was working out in a gym and following a structured lifting program, I hated a lot of the supersets because they required me to use pieces of equipment that weren’t located anywhere near each other. This left me with two options: Run across the gym as fast as I can between each exercise (um, excuse me, I didn’t sign up for a sprinting program) or try to replace one of the exercises the best I could with something that made more sense location-wise. I didn’t really love either of these and, by default, I ended up also not really loving supersets.
The great thing about working out at home is that I can do supersets whenever I want without having to worry about getting in someone’s way or having an awkward “um, I actually still need that” moment. I’ve now remembered why these exercises are so great, and they’ve become staples in my routine once more.
If the concept of supersetting exercises is foreign to you, or if you’re not sure how to add supersets to your workouts on a regular basis, keep reading to learn more.
What Are Supersets?
First of all, what is a superset? In simplest terms, a superset involves performing two exercises back to back without any rest. Once you’ve completed both exercises, you’ll rest for a period of time.
There are plenty of reasons to superset exercises, including the following:
- Increased workout intensity (especially helpful when you’re working with limited equipment)
- Increased power output
- Increased muscular endurance
- Decreased workout duration
I’ve found that supersetting exercises can help me stay engaged and focused during my workouts, too. When I’m exercising at home, especially, it’s easy to get distracted or not work out as hard as I might in the gym. Supersets help to prevent boredom and, as an added bonus, make the workout go by faster.
Ways to Superset
Here are some of the most common types of supersets that you might want to incorporate into your workouts:
- Post-Exhaustion Supersets: This involves performing a compound exercise (such as a barbell squat) followed by an isolation exercise (such as a seated leg extension)
- Pre-Exhaustion Supersets: This involves performing an isolation exercise (such as a lying hamstring curl) followed by a compound exercise (such as a barbell deadlift)
- Isolation: This involves performing two isolation exercises that target different parts of the same muscle group (e.g., hammer curls for the long head of the biceps followed by preacher curls for the short head)
- Antagonist: This involves performing two isolation exercises that target opposing muscles (e.g., biceps curls followed by triceps extensions)
- Contrast Training: This involves pairing a power exercise (such as a jump squat) with a strength exercise (such as a barbell squat)
My Favorite Supersets
There are tons of different ways that you can put exercises together to create an effective superset. These are some combinations that I’ve been loving lately:
I love this combination because it helps me to really feel my hamstrings working during deadlifts. The kettlebell swings get the blood flowing and help me work on the hip-hinging motion. Once I’m finished with them, it feels natural to go straight into a set of deadlifts.
Kettlebell Swings/Glute Bridges
Similar to the kettlebell swing/deadlift combo, I also really like the combination of kettlebell swings and glute bridges. The swings help me target my glutes, and then I can add more volume by following them up immediately with some glute bridges (I also will usually use the kettlebell to add extra weight to the bridges).
Split Squats/Single-Leg Deadlifts
Combining split squats with single-leg deadlifts gives me a chance to do some unilateral work and enjoy the advantages of antagonist supersets. It’s a win-win.
This is another good antagonist superset that I like using for the upper body. In addition to the other benefits supersets like this one provide, I also like it because I’ve found that it helps me remember to retract and protract my shoulders when I’m doing push-ups. If I take the time to practice that motion while doing rows, then it feels more natural to do with when I go into a set of push-ups.
Do You Superset?
Are supersets a regular part of your workouts? Whether you’re working out at a gym or at home, they’re a great way to challenge yourself and increase the intensity of your workouts. If you’re not sure how to incorporate them into your routine, try some of the options outlined above.
Comment down below, too, and let me know some of your favorite exercises to superset!