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  • Writer's pictureAmanda Charpentier

The Importance of Supersets

Supersets are an imperative part of any good fitness program! Supersets are incredibly versatile and can be used to help achieve a variety of different fitness goals.

What is a Superset?

A superset can be defined as two different exercises back to back with little or no rest. There is some wiggle room in this definition however. If you are doing compound lifts or high intensity work, you may have an elongated rest period to ensure you're fully recuperated for the next set.

There are a various ways you may see a superset programmed. Some of the most common ways are:

  • Agonist and Antagonist: this means you recruit opposing muscle groups. A common example is doing a push movement (bench press, push, ups, etc) superset with a pull movement (rows, pull-ups, etc).

  • Contrast/PAP training: this is a combo of a heavy compound lift and an explosive based movement. An example would be doing a heavy back squat followed by a box jump or overspeed jump.

  • Upper and Lower: this is exactly how it sounds, you do an upper body exercises followed by a lower body. This is ideal if you are trying to squeeze in a full body workout in a short amount of time.

  • Pre-Exhaustion: creates excessive fatigue in one particular muscle group. This is for intermediate to advanced lifters. This involves doing an isolation exercise before a compound lift. For example bicep curls followed by chin ups.

  • Strength and Mobility/Stability: This could be barbell bench presses with thoracic extensions or a back squat followed by a plank. There is room to adjust this type of superset to suit your individual needs/weak points.

Would I Benefit From Supersets?

The great thing about supersets, is that nearly every type of gym-goer can benefit from it. If you are a bodybuilder, the time under tension can help you achieve the muscular hypertrophy you're craving, if you're a powerlifter utilizing supersets in your warm up can create a great neural response to help you with your big lifts, if you're athlete it can aid in acute power output, and even for a recreation fitness person this can help you save time and achieve a metabolic benefit.

Thanks for reading,

-Coach Amanda

D, T. (2019). Factors modulating post-activation potentiation and its effect on performance of subsequent explosive activities. – PubMed – NCBI . Retrieved 15 August 2019, from

Stull, K. (n.d.). Supersets for legs and back - exercises to burn calories. NASM.

Weakley, J., Till, K., Read, D., Roe, G., Darrall-Jones, J., Phibbs, P., & Jones, B. (2017). The effects of traditional, superset, and tri-set resistance training structures on perceived intensity and physiological responses. European Journal Of Applied Physiology, 117(9), 1877-1889. doi: 10.1007/s00421-017-3680-3


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