The superset is an old school lifting method used in bodybuilding. It was made popular during the golden era of bodybuilding in the 1970s.
A lot of things come and go when it comes to working out, but the superset will live on forever.
At least I can only hope.
To be honest, I don’t see nearly as many people doing supersets in the gym as I used to when I first started lifting.
It’s likely due to the fact that I now work out in a big commercial gym, since all the good ones around me closed.
It’s much harder to do supersets when the gym is packed, like mine usually is. You don’t want to be that guy or gal that takes up every other machine.
That being said, there are some powerful benefits of superset workouts that I feel are being lost on the current generation of new bodybuilders.
Supersets are a powerful tool to help you with a variety of things. I’m going to give you the 5 most powerful benefits of supersets below, to help open your eyes to the beauty of them!
What is a superset?
A superset is basically what it sounds like. It’s like a normal set in the gym on steroids.
To do a superset, you pick two exercises (at least) and do one set of each back-to-back.
For example, let’s say I choose shrugs and upright rows. I do 8-10 repetitions of shrugs until exhaustion, then I go and do 8-10 repetitions of upright rows to exhaustion.
I can take a short rest in between or I can go right back to shrugs and start the cycle again.
There are no hard and fast rules with supersets, but people generally choose two different exercises that work the same or different muscles.
The point of the superset is to exhaust your muscles and work them harder than they are used to.
I can’t just do sets of the same exercise back-to-back because I will be too exhausted without lowering the weight significantly.
Pairing one exercise with a similar but different one allows me to do a second set right in a row without the exhaustion.
It’s also common to choose two exercises that work two totally different muscles. Supersetting biceps with triceps is a popular choice for many.
It allows you to blow through an arm workout at a quick pace while keeping your pump and intensity sky-high.
Now that you know what it is, you want to know the benefits right?
# 1-They save you time
I’m aware that everyone doesn’t love the gym like I do. They want to get in and get out.
While I love it, I usually want to get it and out myself, so I get that mindset.
Supersets are great for saving time in the gym. You can easily cut the amount of time you need in the gym by half.
If doing arms the conventional way takes me around 40 minutes, I can cut it down to 20 minutes by supersetting every exercise.
By doing supersets, you cut down on the amount of rest that you need. While you are doing a set of one exercise, the other muscle you are going to hit right after is resting.
It’s the best way I can think of to save time in the gym without cutting down on the amount of sets that you do.
# 2- Supersets give you a great pump
I talk about the benefits of getting a great pump a ton on this blog. For good reason. It’s important if you are looking to increase your muscle size and tone.
The main reason that I do usually do supersets is to get a great pump.
When you do set after set, your muscles don’t have time to fully rest and they stay full of blood.
By doing rep after rep, you are forcing more and more blood into the muscle.
The pump usually starts to fade after a few minutes. If you wait too long between sets, it will totally disappear.
Even just a few supersets will give you a great pump, but an entire superset workout will give you such a strong one that it might make it difficult to actually lift the weight so keep that in mind.
# 3- They keep the intensity high
Supersets are intense. By the end of one, you will be sweating and out of breath if you do it right.
It can be difficult to keep your intensity high during a workout when you take the typical time between each set. Too many people rest for too long.
I see it all the time in the gym. People look like they can just as easily be at the library reading a book instead of being in the gym crushing it.
I like to keep my workouts short and intense. It’s difficult to maintain intensity for a long period without being hyped out of your mind on caffeine.
With supersets, you are forced to keep the intensity high just to get through the set. They are hard and you will have to go all out to finish them.
Supersets are a great way to keep the intensity up during your workout.
# 4- They work the muscle better
This is one-part bro science and one part my personal observation, but supersets generally work the muscle harder than standard sets.
I realize that all the gym science nerds will get on me about weight, intensity and all the other factors that determine how hard you muscle is worked on any given set or exercise for saying that.
When you do a moderately heavy weight and go to failure, supersets work the muscle better than a standard set.
That’s obviously assuming the superset is hitting the same muscle the whole time.
I always get sore the next day after doing supersets. Not always the case with traditional training.
I have gotten very good results in terms of muscle size with supersets over the years as well, so I know that they work.
# 5- They boost your cardio
Like I said above, supersets are hard.
They are a mix of both lifting weights and doing cardio.
Due to the fact that you are doing so many reps in such a short amount of time, you heart will feel like it’s going to jump out of your chest.
I know a lot of people that don’t do any cardio. They just lift weights faster.
It’s hard to argue with that logic. I sweat a lot more during supersets than I ever do on an elliptical or treadmill.
Maybe not more than I sweat on a Stairmaster, but that was invented by Satan himself.
When I’m done with a set of supersets, I feel like I just went running.
They also mimic the benefits that you will get with cardio, because you will definitely be melting fat off of your body if you do them enough.
The people in the gym that I see who are the most ripped usually do a lot of supersets.
A powerful tool
Supersets are a powerful tool that you should be using in the gym.
You would be wise to incorporate them into your routine on a regular basis.
Supersets are flexible and you can essentially do whatever you want as long as you follow the basic idea behind them.
You can do 3, 4 or even 5 exercise supersets. You are only limited by your creativity.
The sky is the limit with supersets!
P.S. Do you usually incorporate supersets into your workout? I’d love to hear your thoughts, results and questions below!