Is It Good To Always Do Supersets?
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In this article I will be answering the question “is it good to always do supersets?”. Supersets are a useful tool in your training arsenal and can help to improve your work capacity and make your workouts more efficient.
However, should you always use supersets in every session and for every set? This is the topic that this article will aim to unpack.
Is It Good To Always Do Supersets?
Supersets are a great tool for improving the efficiency of your workouts and are especially useful for people with busy schedules.
They also serve as a conditioning tool and will certainly improve your work capacity as you use them more often. The big downside to supersets is as pertains to strength.
For strength purposes you need to give yourself a longer rest between sets. Therefore, supersets are not really optimal in terms of maximising your strength.
If you train at a commercial gym and are hogging multiple pieces of equipment to perform your supersets in every session, this would be inconsiderate to other gym members and a source of much annoyance.
All things considered, you can make use of supersets in each workout session. However, I would advise against supersetting every single set that you do. This would be overkill and it is unnecessary to do this.
Benefits Of Antagonist Supersets
Antagonist supersets are simply supersets that work opposing muscle groups. So it could be a seated chest press followed by a seated row for example. This would work the opposing muscle groups of the chest and the back.
On the contrary, agonist supersets are where you perform supersets that work the same muscle group. This could be a barbell bench press followed by a dumbbell bench press.
One of the benefits of antagonist supersets is that your strength on the opposing movement isn’t affected by the previous set. Whereas with agonist supersets there will be more cumulative fatigue by the time you get onto the second exercise for the same muscle group.
In addition, antagonist supersets are great for ensuring that your physique remains well balanced. It will help to reduce muscle imbalances and preserve overall joint integrity. In addition, you will get the normal benefits that come with supersets.
The video below by Alphadestiny on antagonist supersets is good and it breaks down some of the benefits in detail.
Time Saving Benefits
One of the biggest benefits of supersets is the time that it saves you in your workout. As you benefit from less rest between sets with the superset, the overall duration of your workout will be shorter as a result.
For busy people or people who don’t want to live in the gym, this is a huge benefit. You will also benefit from reduced cortisol by reducing the duration of your workouts.
Improving the efficiency of your workouts will allow you to allocate more time to other pursuits – be it family, work or other interests. Often bodybuilders like to perform shorter workouts more often. They will make use of supersets in their workout routines a lot of the time.
Pre Exhaust And Post Exhaust Supersets
Post exhaust supersets are the opposite. In the case of the pre exhaust, you could do a set of high rep leg extensions followed by a set of barbell squats. You will be more fatigued for the squats in this scenario.
In the post exhaust scenario of performing squats first, you will be more fresh for this exercise. Personally, I prefer post exhaust supersets. To me it makes more sense to perform the compound exercise first and the isolation exercises later.
This way you can give a lot more effort to the compound movements. The isolation exercises are simply there to round off the physique and pump blood into the muscles.
Supersets Improve Conditioning
However, they tend to have great conditioning. By utilising supersets in your training regularly you can also take advantage of these benefits. Taking extended rest periods will not do a whole lot to improve your conditioning.
This is also a reason why you will see many combat athletes make use of this training tool. It directly benefits them when they are in the ring as short repeated bouts of intense effort is exactly what is required of them.
Are Supersets Good For Strength?
A topic of controversy is whether supersets are indeed good for gaining strength. For me I would say that they can be good for strength purposes, but they are not optimal.
One way you could utilise supersets for strength training purposes is to keep the reps lower in each set at around 5-8. In addition, you should focus more on antagonist supersets – this way you can reduce cumulative fatigue in a certain muscle group.
However, supersets are not optimal for strength purposes. You really do need to make use of longer rest periods when you are strength training. This is so that you can give your all out effort for the max effort sets.
Annoying Other Gym Members
One of the big disadvantages of always doing supersets is that you will be hogging multiple pieces of equipment at the same time and this can be the source of great annoyance in a commercial gym.
I have come across instances where I have approached someone at the gym to ask if they are using a piece of equipment. Often they will respond “I’m doing a superset!”.
In some cases this may not even be true. It is just incredibly annoying in commercial gym settings.
Is it good to always do supersets? I would say that it is beneficial to incorporate supersets into each workout for the time efficiency and work capacity benefits.
However, you shouldn’t overuse supersets and utilise every set as a superset. It is very inconvenient in a commercial gym setting for other members. In addition, if your focus is primarily around maximising strength it is not optimal.
Antagonist supersets in particular are incredibly useful and making use of them will ensure that you have less muscle imbalances on the whole.
If you have any comments on this topic please leave them below. As always, stay safe and enjoy your training!
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