I could really use some help with supersets. In my certification I learned to superset a strength exercise with a stabilization exercise that works the same muscles. I see lots of options online where people superset 2 different exercises to keep things fun for the client and to accomplish more work in a shorter time due to not needing a long rest period, etc. Can someone clarify supersetting for general fitness? Or is supersetting only used in hypertrophy type of training? For example: would combining a dumbbell pec fly into a triceps kickback be considered a superset or is that just considered combining two exercises into one movement?
Hello Melissa Sigler,
When I design superset work, I do a set of opposing muscle group sets back to back with free weights to work the stabilizers.
Doing two moves in one set is combining exercises in a set. Yes, that can be fun and mix things up.
It depends on what the client wants to achieve that will determine program design.
To answer your bent over dumbbell pec fly with the bent over dumbbell triceps kickback question, that is a combination exercise. Its two different exercises rolled into one. Just as you mentioned, I often use these to keep the session moving, add in a new fun element and to change things up. I would not consider that a superset.
I often superset an upper body with a lower body exercise. There is no rest inbetween exercises except for the time it takes to move to and get ready to perform the next exercise. However, the upper body can rest and recover while the lower body is working and vis versa.
People are often confused by the term ‘supersets’.
The NSCA looks at the issue in the following manner:
1) A superset is when two exercises (that work opposite muscles) are done back to back. An example is when a bench press is done after a barbell row.
2) A compound set is when two exercises (that work the same muscles) are done back to back. An example is when a leg curl follows a Romanian deadlift.
Supersets (based on the above definition) allow people to do more exercises in a given session.
Compound sets (based on the above definition) force the muscle to do more work in a given time slot.
1 or 2 can be used. The personal trainer should be able to determine which one is best for each client.
I hope this helps with the issue of supersets!