Every person has tackled the occasional (or sometimes daily) issue getting to the gym. Not enough time, not enough energy – life outside the gym will always bump against life within the gym. Creating a balance between the two can be challenging – but what if there was some magical way to get a better workout while taking up less time? Building your routines around supersets will not only cut down your gym time dramatically, but the quality of your workouts will skyrocket. A superset is the practice of performing two sets in the time it should take to perform one. Let’s say you are working on bicep curls today – you nail ten reps, take a quick rest, do another ten reps. A superset would replace the rest between sets with a different exercise, doubling the work being done without resulting in a longer workout. Your superset could look like this: ten bicep curls, ten tricep pushdowns, ten bicep curls, ten tricep… You get the idea.
The key to this method is entirely avoiding rests between sets. Choosing which exercises to build into a superset is essential, and depends heavily on what you are trying to accomplish with your workouts.
Pre/Post Exhaustion Supersets: Pre-Exhaustion couples two exercises that work on the same muscle group. Your first exercise is an isolation movement (focusing on a specific muscle) and the second is a compound movement (focusing on the entire muscle group). If today is chest day, you would begin with dumbbell flys because they isolate your pectoral muscles, then move on to bench presses which encompass your entire chest. Post-Exhaustion is the opposite – start with compound movement (e.g. bench press) then move to the isolation movement (e.g. dumbbell fly).
Compound Superset: The most challenging of supersets, this style combines two compound movements (e.g. lunges and squats). Avoid being cocky with the compound superset – because compound movements use an incredible amount of energy, stick with lighter weights than you are used to when performing each exercise individually.
Isolation Supersets: Your superset will comprise of two isolation movements (e.g. dumbbell flys and cable crossovers). Again, make sure you gauge your weights appropriately – because the two exercises will be hitting the exact same muscle and you will not be resting, burning out is a possibility. If you are looking to cram a workout into your busy schedule or simply hate being at the gym for an eternity, try out some supersets. Think about your goals and choose your style appropriately, and remember to begin with weights you know you can control.