What is a Superset?
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.
A big misconception in regards to supersets is that they are only good when you are looking to get extra definition or when you are in contest prep. However, many bodybuilders such as Dave Draper and Arnold Schwarzenegger have used them with great success for mass building purposes. The same is true of my own training.
Supersets are a fantastic way to get a lot of work done in a very short amount of time. While at first it may be hard for you to use the same amounts of weights that you usually use, your cardiovascular system will get used to the increased workload and then your strength will go back up.
In my opinion, the best type of supersets for mass gains are the ones performed with opposing muscle group exercises (such as chest and back, thighs and hamstrings, or biceps and triceps) as they allow you to use maximum weights once your body gets used to the increased cardiovascular demands.
Using Two Exercises for the Same Muscle Group:
The first way is to do two exercises for the same muscle group at once. 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 Two 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; or different muscle movements 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 is a great way to save time!
Using Supersets to Break Plateaus on Stubborn Bodyparts
Another great application for supersets is to use them for shocking of stubborn bodyparts. We all have a bodypart or two that just does not seem to respond to weight training as good as the others. For stubborn body parts like these, supersets of two exercises that target the same muscle group work really well.
For example, my quads are my stubborn body part. So many times I like to superset leg extensions followed by leg press. Other times I superset leg extensions followed by squats. While I will not be able to do as much weight on my basic exercise of choice, the muscle is really stimulated and I get much better results by using these type of supersets than when I use the heavier weights on single sets of leg press or squats.
Sample Bodybuilding Routine That Uses Supersets
1. Ensure that all sets are performed with impeccable technique and taken to failure; the point at which performing another repetition with good form becomes impossible.
2. Rest 60 seconds between sets.
3. There should be no rest between exercises listed as a superset. Only rest for 60 seconds after the second exercise of the superset is executed.
4. Perform this routine for a month, doing 3 days on and 1 day off. Alternatively, you can work out 5 days a week by doing your workouts on Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, Friday and Saturday. That leaves Thursdays and Sundays always off. If you have a good recuperation capability, then simply workout from Mon-Fri resting over the weekends.
5. Take some Super Charge! Xtreme right before each of these workouts
Workout (A): Chest, Back, Calves
Chest and Back:
Incline Bench Press 3 sets of 8-10 reps
Wide Grip Pull-Up to Front 3 sets of 8-10 reps
One Arm Rows 3 sets of 10-12 reps
Dumbbell Bench Press and Wide Grip Pull-ups to Front 3 sets of 10-12 reps
Incline Flyes 3 sets of 12-15 reps
Close Reverse Grip Pull-ups 3 sets of 12-15 reps
Standing Calf Raises 3 sets of 8-10 reps
Seated Calf Raises 3 sets of 15-25 reps
Workout (B): Thighs, Hamstrings, Abs
Thighs and Hamstrings:
Leg Extensions 3 sets of 10-12 reps
Squats 3 sets of 8-10 reps
Leg Press 3 sets of 12-15 reps
Seated Leg Curls 3 sets of 12-15 reps
Stiff Legged Dead-lifts 3 sets of 15-20 reps
Lunges 3 sets of 15-20 reps
Bicycle Crunches 3 sets of 15-25 reps
Crunches 3 sets of 15-25 reps
Workout (C): Shoulders, Biceps, Triceps
Upright Rows Superset 3 sets of 8-10 reps
Lateral Raises 3 sets of 12-15 reps
Dumbbell Shoulder Press 3 sets of 8-10 reps
Rear Delt Machine 3 sets of 12-15 reps
Biceps and Triceps:
Preacher Curls 3 sets of 8-10 reps
Triceps Pushdowns 3 sets of 8-10 reps
Lying E-Z Triceps Extensions 3 sets of 10-12 reps
Close Grip E-Z Bench Press (Use same weight as for triceps extensions) 3 sets to failure
Reverse E-Z Curls 3 sets of 10-12 reps
E-Z Curls (Use same weight as for reverse E-Z curls) 3 sets to failure