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SUPERSETS 2.0 image1

Posted in: Articles by ProSource, Featured Content, Training Articles, Muscle Mechanics
By Eric Velazquez, NSCA-CPT | Apr 5, 2012

Alternate muscle group supersets to get a big pump in a short session

Goals: Strength, Size, Detail
Bodyparts: All

Supersets are one of the most common pre-contest techniques employed by bodybuilders and fitness models. This preferred, high-intensity protocol entails training opposing muscle groups in succession with little to no rest. (NOTE: Compound sets involve doing two exercises in a row for the same bodypart.) Here are a few of the reasons why training fast and furious in this fashion works.

1. Agonist-Antagonist Relationship
Research shows that a muscle is stronger when its opposing muscle group, or antagonist, is trained immediately beforehand. So if you go from triceps pressdowns to biceps curls, for example, your biceps will be stronger than they would be if you trained them first.

2. Less Rest = More Calories Burned
It's not just about more work in less time. It's about getting your physique as dialed in as possible. Supersets provide that by helping you to burn more calories. A study from the College of New Jersey found that men who took only 30 seconds of rest between sets on the bench press burned over 50% more calories than when they rested three minutes.

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3. Muscle Quality
Lots of reps make for lots of blood flow, particularly when you're training opposing muscle groups such as biceps and triceps or hamstrings and quads. This places a greater stretch on the fascia that surrounds working muscles, which is thought to trigger pathways that lead to more muscle growth.



Today's technique is an advanced spin on this already advanced technique. By eliminating rest and increasing sets, you greatly increase the demand on working muscles while also upping your calorie expenditure for a single workout. Simply choose a weight that allows you to complete 15 reps and cycle back and forth between exercises until you can no longer complete 10 reps with good form on either exercise. Ideally, you're able to get five total supersets in before you have to rest. If you can get more than five supersets in, you will need to add weight on the next run through. Oh yeah, that's right -- you're doing this whole thing twice. The sample workouts listed are meant to be stand-alone arm and leg workouts. You can substitute more exotic moves in at your leisure but basic, proven exercises will suffice.

Exercise Sets/Reps*
EZ-Bar Skullcrusher
EZ-Bar Curl

Exercise Sets/Reps*
Seated Leg Curl
-superset with-
Leg Extension

*After five total supersets, rest 2-3 minutes, then repeat the entire sequence again. -

-If you can complete more than five total supersets with ease, increase the weight for your second time through.

-Select a starting weight for each exercise that allows you to complete 15 reps on your first set.

-Do not rest between exercises or supersets. Only after completing five supersets are you allowed to rest 2-3 minutes.


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Disclaimer: The articles featured herein are for informational purposes only and should not be construed as medical advice. Specific medical advice should only be obtained from a licensed health care professional. No liability is assumed by ProSource for any information herein.

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