Advantages of Supersets for Muscular Gain
To save time during your workouts, and stimulate the production of growth hormone, supersets are the perfect method!
Supersets consist of two exercises performed one right after the other, without rest in between. The extra time made available by this method can be used to fit more exercises in one workout, making it more effective in less time. This is a precious advantage to reach your objectives faster.
This training method is said to stimulate a greater production of the hormones involved in mass gain (growth hormone, testosterone). According to studies, taking shorter pauses between each exercise significantly increases hormonal production. Scientists also believe that supersets cause more muscular fatigue and muscular damage, which makes the body work harder to repair muscles and make them grow bigger.
Another role played by supersets is to add variety to your training routine. Your body will be subjected to a new kind of stress that will force it to improve. By breaking the monotony of a traditional workout, you will also keep your motivation until you reach your objectives.
Beginning a program that uses supersets
For your first experience with supersets, I recommend that you use the agonist-antagonist method. It consists of performing two exercises that use opposite muscles, without rest in between. A good example would be bench press for the pectorals, followed with chin ups for the back. It is not necessary to perform supersets for all the exercises of a single workout. To begin, I recommend that you do it only for the upper body (pectorals-back, and/or biceps-triceps).
Many other methods are also possible, mainly agonist-agonist, pre-fatigue, and post-fatigue. However, these methods require some experience in training. Consult a personal trainer to help you choose the right methods depending on your objectives and abilities.
By Mathieu Rousseau
1 Schoenfeld, B. (2011). The use of specialized training techniques to maximize muscle hypertrophy. Strength and Conditioning Journal, 33(4), 60-65.
2 Robbins DW, Young WB, Behm DG. The effect of an upper-body agonist-antagonist resistance training protocol on volume load and efficiency. J Strength Cond Res. 24(10):2632-40, 2010.
3 Kraemer WJ, Ratamess NA. Hormonal responses and adaptations to resistance exercise and training. Sports Med. 35(4):339-61, 2005.