Saturday, May 12, 2007

How to Superset Your Workout for a Super Fab Body

Superset for Building Muscle, Losing Fat and a Super Fab Body

In a previous article, I have introduced "superset" as an effective weight training system. (I didn't invent the "superset" concept or system.)

Superset is referred to a weight training system or routine that you perform two exercises back to back with no or very little rest. You rest only after you complete the two exercises.

You can superset the same muscle group, opposing muscle groups or unrelated muscle groups.

I'm a big fan of doing supersets, tri-sets, giant sets or circuit strength training for many reasons described in my last article.

Most people are not pro bodybuilders nor capable of doing 5-day split routine. Supersetting is one of the most effective weight training systems or routines to work on more muscles in a shorter weight training session.

In some cases, supersets could be effective but inefficient to your body. That may not be a bad news!

Exercise inefficiency causes more stress on your neuro-muscular system. You break down more muscle tissues! With proper nutrition and recovery to repair the damaged tissues, you'll get stronger, build more muscle, and burn more fat.

Superset workout provide a strong stimulus to the metabolic rate and has a greater fat burning effect.


Practical Effective Superset Workout

In the following, I'll provide a few practical effective superset workout routines that you can try in a commercial gym, where "hugging" two stations or machines all for youself at the same time for supersetting workout could be a problem.
  1. Superset barbell squat with dumbbell deadlift. Bring a pair of dumbbells to the squat rack or by the Smith-machine. Do a set of barbell squat followed immediately by doing a set of dumbbell deadlift. Standard back squat works all major leg muscles with a little more emphasis on the quadriceps. Deadlift is a hip-dominated lower body exercise that works all major muscles (except your chest), particularly more directly on your hamstrings and glutes. It also takes a lot of core strength and stability. This superset not only allows you to perform more leg workout, but also provides a more balanced training on your front and back sides of your legs. In addition, you only take up one work station (squat rack or Smith-machine).
  2. Superset lat pull-down with standing dumbbell shoulder press. Again bring a pair of dumbbells to the lat pull-down station. Do a set of lat pull-down followed immediately with standing dumbbell shoulder press. You really only take up the lat pull-down station. The lat pull-down exercise primarily works your back muscles: latissimus dorsi ("lats") and trapezius. It also takes biceps and forearms to pull the bar down. Shoulder press works all three sides of your deltoid muscles (anterior, medial and posterior) to push the weight upward. These two exercises have opposite joint actions (scapular adduction vs. abduction) and opposite directions of movement (vertical pull vs. vertical push). Both muscle groups are most often abused and injured in daily activities or sports. Strengthening these two muscle groups at the same time will help you handle more weights, improve your posture and prevent injuries. You can replace lat pull-down with pull-up or chin-up exercise.
  3. Superset dumbbell bent-over row with dumbbell bench press. You can use the same or two different weights depending on your strength and weakness, training goal and emphasis. Most people do more chest exercises than strengthening their back. You probably heard about people hurting their back all the times. It's rare to hear about someone pull his pec muscle. So do a set of dumbbell bent-over row in front of the bench. Then sit down and lie back on the bench. Do a set of bench press. You'll need a bench and you work on your back and chest muscles in a superset. Bent-over row works the same back muscles as in lat pull-down. Bench press works primarily your chest (pectoral muscles), triceps and front shoulder muscles.
  4. Superset barbell bent-over row with barbell deadlift. Get an Olympic bar, find your spot and load up the weight plates. Do a set of bent-over row for your back followed by a set of deadlift for your hamstrings and glutes, or vice versa. This superset exercise will also challenge your biceps and forearms and strengthen your gripping power.
  5. Superset dumbbell squat with dumbbell shoulder press. Apparently you need to use the weight suitable for shoulder press for both exercises. Clean the dumbbells onto top of your shoulders. Start squatting down while holding the dumbbells. As you start pushing your legs back up close to standup position, press the dumbbells upward. Lower the dumbbells slowly down to the top of your shoulders. Then start squatting down again. It may not seem a lot of load on your legs. Do a few sets. You'll know this superset is really challenging to your whole body, your core and your anaerobic energy system. If you do these exercises in a faster pace, it's called "thruster."
  6. Superset dip with dumbbell biceps curl. Grab a pair of dumbbells to the station with parallel-bar handles. The station could be the captain's chair or Roman chair where you perform abdominal training. Do a set of dips (with bodyweight or with additional external weight) to work on your chest and triceps. Then immediately do a set of dumbbell curls to work on your biceps.
These supersetting training systems may not be on your training book. You've probably never thought about doing your weight training like these before.

You only rest after you complete the two exercises together. You perform higher training volume (or work capacity) in a shorter period of time. That's true intensity!

You may also need to lower the weights compared to what you would do with straight-set training system for the respective exercise.

Give it a try. Incorporate supersets into your workout routine and your whole periodization program.

There are just so many different ways of changing up your weight training routine and move beyond your training plateau!

In my next article, I'll give you a few superset workout routines based on bodyweight circuit and total-body training.

Copyright 2007 www.careyforfitness.com by C. Carey Yang.
All rights reserved.
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