What Are Supersets in Bodybuilding?

This Approach Turns Up the Heat on Your Routine

Black man lifting weights in gym
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Supersets power up your routine in record time. They require more intensity and a faster pace, both of which get you to your goal of building more muscle mass. And you spend less time achieving this as a bonus. A superset is a combination of one exercise performed right after the other with no rest in between them. There are two ways to implement a superset.

Using 2 Exercises for the Same Muscle Group

The first way is to do two exercises for the same muscle group at once, called agonist supersetting.

For example, doing cable curls immediately followed by dumbbell curls is an example of a biceps superset. The drawback to this technique is that you will not be as strong as you usually are on the second exercise. However, this is a great technique to pre-exhaust a muscle and really isolate it.

Using 2 Exercises for Antagonistic Muscle Groups or Different Muscles

The second and best way to superset is by pairing exercises of opposing muscle groups, such as back and chest, thighs and hamstrings, biceps and triceps. This is called antagonist supersetting. This strategy is effective, bodybuilding.com says, because when one muscle contracts the other relaxes. This can also be done with different muscle groups, such as shoulders and calves, upper abs and lower abs. When pairing antagonistic exercises, there is no drop of strength whatsoever once your cardiovascular system is well-conditioned, and this saves you time.

Which Muscles Get the Biggest Gain

Supersets of biceps and triceps produce the biggest benefit, says bodybuilding.com, with the chest and back muscles running a close second. Leg muscles and abdominals also get pumped up with this strategy. But bodybuilding.com advises that you should try different kinds of supersets with each muscle group to see where you get the most gain for your pain.


Building Muscle in the Kitchen

Yes, the gym is not the only place that's important for bodybuilding. Eating 1 gram of protein daily for every pound of your weight helps to build muscle. Good protein sources include lean beef, pork, chicken and milk. Round out a balanced but healthy diet with complex carbohydrates like pasta, rice and whole grains, along with healthy fats and nuts.