As the old saying goes, “time is money.” So why not get twice the benefits from your workout in half the time? By working superset workouts into your schedule you can do just that. If you’ve never heard the term supersets before, the concept is simple. These are super-sized workouts where you’ll be doing two moves in rapid succession, followed by a short block of rest.
By stacking your workouts in this way, you can expect to build quality muscle mass in a short amount of time. And the benefits don’t stop there. Superset workouts are a great way to maximize the fat burning effects of your workout while finishing your workout quickly too.
Another benefit to super workouts is purely chemical: your body’s testosterone levels will remain higher and stress-inducing cortisol stays lower with shorter bursts of activity as opposed to longer duration sessions. This is true of both men and women and ensures you’re bringing more focus and intensity to every rep.
Another thing to keep in mind as you embark on your super workouts: because you’re doing more intense work, it’s advisable to cut down on the amount of weight you’re using to avoid early exhaustion. This is especially true because the rest periods recommended or shorter than your average rest periods.
Many people may not stop to consider that the pectoralis is actually composed of two muscles: the pectoralis major and the pectoralis minor. Your basic bench press exercises can work wonders for the former, but may neglect the latter. A focused approach that employs targeted superset workouts equally for both the upper and lower pecs will improve the appearance of these muscles and improvements on all lifting exercises.
Have you been working for months on your pecs and noticed that you’ve hit a wall and can’t progress further? This may be because you’re spending too much time on the lower pecs and need to beef up the time spent on the upper pecs to reach the next level of results. Good super workouts for this muscle group will focus on developing both muscles to the max.
If you’re chasing your one-rep max for these super workouts you should start to see results very quickly. Enjoy!
- Low-Incline Dumbell Press 4 X 8 (to 10) Reps
- Pec Minor Dip 4 X 8 (to 10) Reps
- Smith Machine Decline Press 4 X 8 (to 10) Reps
Low-Incline Dumbell Press: With your bench at a 20º to 25º incline, press the dumbell up from shoulder level to over your head. Accentuate the movement and take your time for maximum effect on your muscles.
Pec Minor Dip: This is a body weight exercise where you’ll finally feel the burn in that pectoralis minor. For this you’ll need dip bars or an easy way to simulate them. With straight arms, lower yourself down to feel the burn in your chest around where your pectoralis minors are. Push back up to complete one rep.
Smith Machine Decline Press: This is basically a bench press at a slight angle on a Smith bench. Your grip on the bar should be a little it outside of shoulder length. Lower the bar down to your chest and back up for one rep. Lower the weight as it gets more difficult.
This super workout cycle is considered a “tri-set” because you’re doing three exercises in a row as opposed to just two.
For the back, you’re going to want to do some mix of cable rows, bar rows and lat pulldowns to develop your lats, traps and delts.
Too often we let other muscles groups take over when we’re feeling tired or weak. This can turn a great back workout exercise like pull-ups into a useless waste of time. Worst of all, you may not even realize you’ve cheated yourself out of the workout. In other words, when it comes to your back super workouts (or really any time you’re trying to isolate one muscle group), remember to focus on the muscles you’re really trying to work out.
Take your time with your first reps on these super workouts. Over-accentuate the motion a little and squeeze the muscles you’re trying to work out to ensure the best effect.
- Bench Press 4 X 8 Reps
- Bent-Over Rows 4 X 8 Reps
Bench Press: The bench press is a good example of a compound exercise that works out your pectoralis, anterior deltoids, triceps and latissimus dorsi (back). It’s that last part that we’re most focused on in this set, so make sure and squeeze the muscles in your back during every rep to get the most out of the work. Hands should be a little bit more than shoulder length apart as you grip the bar and make sure to breath!
Bent-Over Rows: These exercises are great compound movement to enhance your back muscles like the lats, rhomboids, traps, and rear delts, as well as others including the biceps. Couple that with a good bench press, which works on the above-mentioned muscles, and your back will be looking great in no time.
Note here that both of these movements are considered compound movements, but back to back compound movements is not that only type of super workout that you can do. Another good example of one type of superset workout to circle back and focus on, known as an agonist set.
Agonist workouts are a good way to mix it up during super workouts and another useful strategy to stave off exhaustion. These sets combine one isolated movement with one compound movement. You could of course also have a workout that doubles up on isolated movements, though that might be super painful and require you to limit the weight significantly.
Leg super workouts are a great twofer. By working the lower half of your body, you’re also helping to improve your cardio health by forcing your heart the pump blood to and from your lower half quicker.
Typically, the legs respond well to super workouts that exercise quads and hamstrings. As always, make sure and stretch thoroughly after doing this or any other high-intensity super workouts to set your body up for a successful post-workout recovery.
- Barbell Olympic Squat (“Full Squat”) 4 X 8 Reps each
- Deadlifts 4 X 8 Reps each
Barbell Olympic Squat: Start in a standing position with the barbell resting on your traps. The important thing to remember with this exercise is to keep your chest held upright, with your head up and facing forward. With your torso fully straight the weight will maintain in your quads for the maximum effect. Do a deep squat and make sure that your quads touch your calves. Once they do you can reverse the motion to complete the exercise.
Deadlifts: Starting from the floor, lift the barbell up slowly to your waist, then back down to the floor. Before beginning this exercise, remember that it is imperative that your back remain straight throughout the whole movement. The weight should rest solely in your hamstrings, not in your lower back. Deadlifts are a good exercise to consult a trainer about because you can seriously injure yourself if you do them wrong.
The Olympic Squats will blast your quads with a good workout, then the deadlifts will focus on your hamstrings. Doing these exercises back to back is a good way to pump up muscle mass in your legs all at once. Don’t forget to take 90 seconds to rest after each set of deadlifts is done.
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Super workouts are an advanced technique, so you shouldn’t attempt them unless you’ve been lifting for a while. If you’re new to lifting seriously in the gym, you should start out with techniques that are less stressful on your body, like pyramid workouts or drop sets and graduate up to super workouts.
In addition to superset workouts, there are a few things your can do before and after your workout to promote quicker muscle recovery. A solid nutrition regimen with protein supplements can ensure a quicker recovery time.
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