Introduction to Super-Setting

Are you bored with the same old monotonous workout which you’ve been completing day in, day out, week in, week out since you can remember? Does your workout consist of completing the required repetitions and sets of an exercise before moving onto the next? Research suggests that training routines should be altered every 4-6 weeks in order to continue placing demands on the body whilst preventing training plateaus. Applying super-setting principles to your training may be just what you’re looking for.

The term ‘super-setting’ basically means completing two exercises, one after the other, with no rest intervals in between. These exercises can relate to the same muscle group or alternate muscle groups. Sounds simple doesn’t it? The principles behind it definitely are, however its resultant effects on the chosen muscle groups are anything but.

From a scientific viewpoint, super-setting has two main functions. Firstly, the completion of two exercises in quick succession enhances the production of lactic acid within the body. This causes a boost in the natural levels of growth hormone which are secreted in response to increased levels of lactic acid. Growth hormone is responsible for both fat loss and muscle growth.

Secondly, through the utilisation of varied superset combinations, which will be discussed in part 2 of this article, muscle fibre activation can be greatly assisted. This means you can create your own individualised superset program with specific exercise combinations to create enhanced workout intensity on a specific muscle, which will ultimately result in accelerated development.

Benefits of Super-Setting

If you’re still not convinced by this training method then here are a few more of the established benefits of super-setting:

  • Your workout time is reduced because you are eliminating some of the rest periods that you would have encountered using standard training methods. Consequently, the efficiency and intensity of your workout is enhanced.
  • Super-setting provides a method of overloading your muscles without necessary lifting heavy weights. This is especially true when incorporating techniques that target the same muscle group.
  • Super-setting can be incorporated into all exercises and is relatively straight forward to set-up within a gym environment. Last but definitely not least, super-setting can provide a new challenge for you to overcome both mentally and physically.

The superset training method is an advanced technique and as a result should be treated with caution and not utilised by those starting out at the gym. It functions principally around intensity related exercises and therefore should not be performed everyday but instead incorporated into your training week. Each individual will respond differently to its effects and as a result recovery periods will vary, however, research recommends only completing one superset session for a particular muscle group in any given week. Make sure you read part 2 of this article which will break down the numerous super-setting techniques available.