“Supersets” — you may have heard the term before, but you may not necessarily understand what it means. Supersets are a style of training that bodybuilders use to help them get in top shape. But just because bodybuilders do them doesn’t mean you can’t. Supersets are great for burning unwanted fat and shedding pounds quickly, and in this article you’ll find out why.
First, let’s look at conventional training versus supersets. Conventional weight training is done using “straight sets.” A straight set consists of a series of nonstop repetitions, usually somewhere between 6 and 15, followed by a rest interval of one to three minutes. These are the sets you most likely perform during your current workouts.
(Related: 5 Fat-Burning Recipes)
A superset is a training technique in which you perform two exercises in a row with no rest in between exercises. After you have performed your two exercises (or sometimes even three or four exercises!), you will take a one- to three-minute rest. So, essentially, supersets are removing one of your rest periods for every two exercises. Supersets are an excellent technique for building muscles and getting lean.
However, if you’re looking to significantly increase strength, supersets may not be your best option. This is because when you perform two exercises in a row with no rest in between, this will reduce the amount of weight you can handle on the second exercise in each superset pair. Because supersets don’t allow you to use maximal weights, they are not always well-suited to building strength. However, supersets are always great for hypertrophy and burning fat.
Benefits of Supersets:
- Save Time: By eliminating rest intervals between sets you’ll be able to finish your workout much more quickly than with conventional training.
- Increase Intensity: Shortening the rest time between sets will overload your body, making it work harder. This intensity will increase metabolism as well as increase muscles endurance and size.
- Burn Fat: The decrease in rest time will also raise your heart rate. An increased heart rate results in burning more fat, and with your increased metabolism and increase in lean muscle, you will burn even more fat, especially in the hours after your workout.
These supersets can be performed for a full body workout or used in your current workout routine to increase the intensity.
Superset 1 – Legs
Squat: Stand with feet slightly wider than shoulder-width apart and knees and toes slightly turned out to the side. Place your dumbbells on your shoulders and keep your weight in your heels. Sit your hips back as if sitting into a chair and use the glutes and hamstring to press back up to standing. Complete 15 squats.
Sumo Squat: Step your feet much wider than shoulder-width apart, keeping your dumbbells up on your shoulders. Turn your knees and toes out to the side, rotating out from your hips. Keep your weight in your heels as you lower down, keeping your torso upright and your shoulders back. Your back should be completely straight as if sliding down a wall, and your knees should be tracking in line with your toes. Press through your heels and use your hamstrings and inner thighs to straighten your legs back to standing. Repeat 15 times.
Superset 2 – Chest
Chest Press: Start by laying on your back on a stability ball, resting your head and shoulders on the ball. (If you don’t have stability ball, you may also use a bench.) Bring your dumbbells directly over your shoulders. With control, lower the weights down and slightly out to the side until you have a 90-degree bend in your elbows. Press the weights back up over your chest and squeeze your chest muscles. Complete 15 repetitions.
Chest Fly: Staying put on your stability ball, rotate your arms so that your palms are facing each other. Slightly bend your elbows to make a round shape with your arms. With control, and without changing the shape of your arms, open your arms out to the side until you feel a slight stretch in your chest and front of your shoulders. Use your chest muscles to pull the weights back up to your starting position. Repeat 15 times.
Superset 3 – Legs
Split Squat: Position yourself about 2 feet away from a chair or bench (it will differ based on your height), and face away from it. Hold your dumbbells by your sides with palms facing in. Position your weight in your RIGHT foot as you reach your LEFT foot behind you to place your foot on the chair. Keeping the weight in your front foot, lower into a lunge position. You shouldn’t have any weight in the back leg, it should just be there for balance. Press through the front heel to straighten the leg to standing. Repeat for 15 repetitions without taking the back leg off the chair. Repeat on the other leg.
Front Lunge: Stand with feet hip-distance apart and holding your weights by your sides. Take a wide step forward with your RIGHT foot as you bend both knees to about 90 degrees. At the bottom of the lunge, the weight should be in your front foot. Press through your front heel to propel yourself back up and to take a step back to bring your feet back together. Repeat again with the RIGHT foot for 15 repetitions. Repeat on the LEFT side once you’re finished.
Superset 4 – Back
Bent Over Row: Start by standing with feet shoulder-width apart and holding your dumbbells with palms facing your hips. Keeping your back straight, hinge from your hips and lower your torso so that it is parallel to the floor. Your arms should be shoulder-width apart. Engaging your upper back muscles and leading with your elbows, pull the weights up into a wide row, with a 90-degree bend in the elbows. Make sure to squeeze your shoulder blades at the top, and use control as you lower the weights back down. Complete 15 rows.
Rear Delt Fly: Staying in your bent over position (or taking a short rest if your back needs a rest), rotate your arms so that your palms are facing in. Just as with your chest flies above, slightly bend your elbows to round the arms. Keeping the arms rounded, squeeze your shoulder blades together to raise the arms out to the sides, and control to lower the arms back down. Make sure to keep the neck and traps relaxed as you raise the arms. Repeat 15 times.
Superset 5 – Abs
Bicycle: Lay on your back on the mat and place your hands behind your head. Bring your knees up in a 90-degree bend with your knees directly over your hips. Using your abs, lift your chest and your head off the mat a few inches and rotate to the RIGHT, reaching your LEFT elbow to your RIGHT knee, and simultaneously reaching your LEFT leg out straight to hover off the mat. Come back into the center with your knees over your hips and repeat on the other side. Complete 20 repetitions total.
Plank: Staying on your stomach on the mat, tuck your toes under, placing the weight in the balls of your feet. Place your elbows directly under your shoulders, keeping your forearms parallel to each other. Brace through your abdominals and lift your hips up so that you’re in a straight line from the crown of your head to your feet. Be sure not to let your lower back arch and keep your abs tight the entire time. Hold for 30 seconds for beginners and work your way up to 60 seconds.
Try adding these supersets into your workouts to see an increase in fat burn and to increase intensity. You’ll love how quickly you can finish your workout with supersets and I know you’ll be adding more into your routine soon.
(Related: How to Work Out Less and Still Gain Muscle)