Can supersets increase gains by 30%

Physiology

What are supersets?  

Why do they work?  

How do I do them?  

Superset is a term for completing one exercise directly after the other without rest, this can be done with any exercise on the same body part to a completely different area of the body. We are looking at the antagonist superset and its benefits in this article. It will obviously save you time on your rest breaks and increase the intensity of a workout, it might even give you a bit of a cardiovascular benefit if done right.  

Antagonistic supersets are the king in terms of both hypertrophy and strength training for two core reasons oxygenation of tissue and constant neurological engagement. Supersets have been clearly shown in peer-reviewed studies to have an average of 30% increase in strength gains over 6-8 week periods of training. But why is this? As I mentioned just above the first reason is oxygen by working a proximal area you will keep oxygenated blood flowing to that area which will be in desperate need of it. Not only will the oxygen now flood this area bringing with it fresh energy and resources to help heal the damaged tissue but the body will release double the amount of healing proteins as it will see this one area of the body in great need of repair. If that wasn’t enough the neurological stimulus to the area is also double causing not only a greater awareness of the brain but an increase in the speed the body will learn to recruit muscle fibres.  

Overall supersets will be a fantastic way to optimise your workout for time and results but if do keep your fatigue management in mind when planning supersets into your programmes.

Personal training

This is a simple example program for upper body supersets, the final video is actually a pull-up but a wide grip cable pull-down would be an identcal movement with a cable machine (like the one in video 3).

christian

thomson

Health and Wellness Consultant

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