What is a Superset?

by Zahara Chowdhury

Super sets put quite simply are 2 exercises paired and performed together, commonly used in weight training. They are a great way to exhaust one group of muscles or to train two complementing muscles or muscle groups. They are also time efficient as you do not rest between exercises (except for the few seconds when changing to the second exercise).

The main difference between a super set and different styles of weight training is that a super set comprises of only 2 exercises. You can train the same muscle group with 2 exercises, or you can pair 2 exercises that work opposite muscle groups. For example you may have 2 exercises working the quads (leg extension followed by barbell front squats) or you might choose to train triceps and biceps together (bicep curls followed by overhead dumbbell tricep extension).

What is the benefit of training the same muscle group twice?
The benefit of training the same muscle group is that you can exhaust and really ‘wake up’ the muscle with exercise one (hamstring curls) before performing exercise two (straight leg deadlifts). The idea is you are hitting the same muscle group in a shorter period of time, increasing the amount of tension and resistance the muscles are under, therefore fully recruiting and engaging them.

What is the benefit of training opposing muscle groups?
Training opposing muscle groups can allow one muscle group to recover while you train the other muscle group. This in effect means you will ensure each repetition and each set is performed to the best of your effort, without losing momentum. It is also very time efficient, because we all know how busy we are and how much we want to fit in every workout!

As you are combining 2 exercises with little rest in between, it is best to opt for medium-heavy resistance (around 70% of your max effort). However for the same muscle group, you may choose to go lighter for the first exercise and then really push yourself with a heavier resistance for your second exercise.

Between each set (after both exercises have been performed) rest for around 1-2 minutes before repeating the super set again. There is no harm in performing a superset amongst different formats for weight training. You can perform a superset, pyramid set and drop set all in the same workout if you want to, just head to the Tone and Sculpt app for more guidance and examples on workout formats to help you.