Supersets: Basic Chest and Lat routine for muscle mass gain
What is superset training?
Supersetting consists of performing two or more exercises in a row, without taking a break to rest, training the same muscle or muscles from different groups.
We can distinguish agonist supersets, in which you perform two or more exercises for the same muscle group (e.g.: barbell bench press + incline dumbbell press); and antagonist supersets, in which you perform two or more exercises for different muscle groups (e.g.: cable rope tricep extension + dumbbell bicep curl).
Benefits of superset training
Scientific studies show that supersetting is an excellent way of increasing training intensity for athletes and practitioners. This intensity also leads to a significant increase of muscle mass, being a more effective method than traditional muscle isolation training.
Studies also show that this method is great for fat loss due to two factors: during the workout, physical strain is higher comparatively with traditional training, driving the body to exhaustion because of the higher intensity; on the other hand, studies show that metabolism continues at a faster rate compared to traditional training, thus causing a higher and longer-lasting post-exercise calorie expenditure.
Besides providing physiological benefits, it is also a good way to save… time. The same exercises, which would take about 50 to 60 minutes to perform following the traditional method, only take half the time — 30 minutes — if performed in supersets.
Example of a Chest/Lat routine using supersets
In each superset, perform 4 sets of 6-12 repetitions of each exercise, without resting between exercises, but only after doing both. You should rest 30 to 90 seconds between sets, and 60 to 120 seconds between super sets. Repetitions should be performed with a tempo of 1 second concentric and 3-4 seconds eccentric.
Workout routine (Chest/Lats)
- Superset #1 – Barbell bench press + pull-ups
- Superset #2 – Incline dumbbell press + supinated close-grip lat pulldown
- Superset #3 – Incline dumbbell flyes + bent-over barbell row
- Superset #4 – Machine chest press + dumbbell bench pullover
Master in Physical Education and Sports Science, with a specialisation in physical exercise and health. Weight training instructor in gyms in Matosinhos and Ermesinde, Portugal, he helps his clients with proper training plans, nutritional plans and advice on food supplementation.
Kelleher AR, Hackney KJ, Fairchild TJ, Keslacy S, Ploutz-Snyder LL. The metabolic costs of reciprocal supersets vs traditional resistance exercise in young recreationally active adults. J Strength Cond Res. 2010;24:1043–1051
Robbins, D. & Young, W. & Behm, D. et. al., The Effect of an Upper-Body Agonist-Antagonist Resistance Training Protocol on Volume Load and Efficiency, The Journal of Strength & Conditioning Research Vol. 24(10), págs. 2632-2640, Outubro 2010.