Weight Train with Supersets for Bigger Results in Less Time
It’s a new year and new fitness goals abound, many of which involve getting more done with what little spare time we have in a day – spare time that seems to dwindle year over year.
The key to getting more done in the same amount of time is often about finding ways to get better results in less time. While I seriously doubt your boss would let you leave one hour early if you managed to get eight hours of work done in seven, one place you can strive for greater efficiency and results is at the gym.
Enter the superset.
Most exercises, like a barbell row for example, are performed in single sets, which means that you complete one set of barbell rows and then rest until repeating the same exercise again.
With supersets you choose two exercises and complete them in back-to-back sets before taking a rest. While supersets will help to build muscle and strength similar to conventional weight-training, they also up the intensity of the workout for increased endurance and calorie burning.
And best of all, they save you lots of time because there are fewer rest periods, and you can complete two major muscle groups on a single gym visit.
The problem with most superset programs I find online is they typically pair two exercises that are completely impractical when it comes to sharing equipment in a busy gym. For example, how am I supposed to complete a set of chin-ups, then run across the gym and complete a set of bench presses?
The good news is there are many options for superset programs that use either a single gym apparatus per superset, or none at all. In fact, I’ve created one for you!
The following is a practical superset program you can complete at any gym without having to hog all the machines and run from one end of the gym to the other. The program is split into three separate workouts; complete each workout at least once per week.
Monday: Chest and Back
Wednesday: Legs and Abs
Friday: Shoulders, Traps, Arms, and Full Body
Sunday: Repeat (or Rest)
For each workout, complete 4 supersets of 16 reps (8 reps per exercise) for the first exercise listed, and then 3 supersets of 16 reps for the remaining four exercises (8 reps per exercise).
Use enough weight that you struggle to complete the last few reps of the last superset of each exercise (but always maintain proper form throughout!). For ab exercises, choose higher reps (e.g., 40 mountain climbers) or a time limit for planks (e.g., 30 second plank).
WORKOUT 1: CHEST AND BACK
- Weight-assisted pull-up and standard push-up
- Overhand cable row and wide grip push-up (or the easier incline push-up)
- Dumbbell press and dumbbell pullover
- Incline dumbbell flye and single-arm dumbbell row
- Single arm standing cable pull and Pallof press
WORKOUT 2: LEGS AND ABS
- Goblet squat and mountain climber
- Dead lift and side plank (both sides)
- Standing dumbbell lunge (8 per leg) and plank
- Barbell glute bridge on bench and v crunch on bench
- Leg press and calf raise (on leg press machine)
WORKOUT 3: SHOULDERS, TRAPS, ARMS, AND FULL BODY
- Dead Curl Press (this is a single exercise comprised of three movements)
- Farmer’s walk and car drivers
- Shoulder press and bicep curl
- Rear delt raise and bench dip
- Dumbbell side lateral raise and hammer curl
With any fitness regime, it’s important to progress. To progress through this program, you should:
1) Increase the weight each week, and/or
2) decrease the rest periods each week.
Take a notepad and record the weight you use each week and the rest period (use a timer) so that the following week you can increase the weight and/or decrease the rest period.
Get your year off to a super start with supersets. Happy lifting, and let us know how it goes in the comments section below!