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Supersets Add Intensity and Save Time During Workouts

Superset Your Workouts to Save Time, but Add Intensity

After missing a session with my trainer last week, I poked his brain on how to maximize my workouts when I'm short on time. One word: supersets. While unfamiliar with the term, I had already experienced the concept of supersets in our training sessions. During supersets, you pair up two different sets of exercises, one right after the other, without resting in between sets. By doing so, you save time, add intensity, and help build muscle while also getting your heart rate up — hello, cardio!

Related: The Weight-Lifting Technique That Will Change Your Body

Supersets are beneficial for cutting down time spent in the gym, but they're also a way to maximize what you're doing while there. If you don't have time for separate cardio and strength sessions, supersets come in handy. Because you move quickly through strength-training exercises, your heart responds with an elevated rate as it pumps oxygen to your muscles. Supersets can also aid in overloading muscle groups that need more targeting.

Depending on your goal, supersets can be used to work opposing or the same muscle groups. Work opposing muscle groups (like the legs and then the arms) to save on rest time; one muscle group gets to rest while the other muscle group works. And to increase the intensity of your workout, focus on the same muscles, but with different exercises. You can also do cardio supersets, which pairs a set of strength-training moves with a short burst of intense cardio. The last time I worked with my trainer, I did a cardio superset that involved sets of push-ups, squats, and lunges intermixed with two minutes on the elliptical at 90 RPM.

Interested? Here are a few supersets to try during your next workout:

  • Opposing muscle group superset idea: bicep curls followed by triceps kickbacks.
  • Same muscle group superset idea: wall sits followed by squats.
  • And the one I love to hate: push-ups followed by hip lifts.
Join The Conversation
PurelyTwins PurelyTwins 6 years
Great tips. I like to do HIIT workouts to save time and increase my workouts intensity!
booglass booglass 6 years
I LOVE super sets. They are a great way to change things up and push your body.
kclulu kclulu 6 years
I frequently do super and triple sets at the gym. Typically I had been using the technique on just weight lifting, but more recently I have been incorporating supersets with cardio and plyometrics and that really gets the heart pounding and sweat pouring. The fact that they save time is a big bonus too!
Baby-Girl Baby-Girl 9 years
I do this sometimes, but I didn't know the term for it. Thanks :)
sageflower sageflower 9 years
I do this all the time so it's faster and I don't have to do any cardio, it's fantastic as it keeps your heart rate up and burning more energy - the key is as ElectroPopTart said, is to alternate between different muscle groups so the other ones get a rest in between.
catander catander 9 years
My muscles are burning just thinking about this!
ElectroPopTart ElectroPopTart 9 years
It's also beneficial for fat burn and time efficiency if you do super sets by alternating between upper and lower body. For example, you can do bicep curls first for one set and then right after go into doing lunges for one set. You can do triceps for one set then move right on to one set of swats. It gets your heart POUNDING and your other muscle relaxes while you work the alternative.
nancita nancita 9 years
Funny, I do this as a timer saver (or I do my post-running leg stretches between arm weights) but I didn't know it had a name!
urban-chic-101 urban-chic-101 9 years
My trainer makes me do this. It does work, but oh does it burn...
aimeeb aimeeb 9 years
Great tip!
Lovely_1 Lovely_1 9 years
I do supersets all the time because I like how it cuts down on the amount of time I spend at the gym :)
VicVicVictooriaa VicVicVictooriaa 9 years
i think i would fall over if i did squats after wallsits haha
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