A superset is a training principal which involves the execution of two sets, back to back, which target antagonistic muscle groups. An example of a superset would be eight repetitions of barbell curls, directly followed (with no rest period) by eight repetitions of over head extensions. Supersets are commonly confused with compound sets, which is a similar training method, where a trainer performs two exercises, back to back, which target the same muscle group. Supersets are a great way to increase the intensity of your workouts by decreasing workout time, whilst increasing workload.
Listed below are some of the benefits of supersets.
Increased intensity. An increase in workload and a decrease in workout time results in an increase in intensity. Increasing intensity can lead to greater muscle growth, and be a great way of overcoming a training plateau.
More time efficient. Following on from the above point, performing supersets can drastically cut down on workout time, which makes them ideal if you only have a limited amount of time to train.
Increased strength. Training antagonistic muscle groups, such as when performing supersets, can result in greater strength when working out according to studies. Lifting greater weights further increases the intensity of the workout, and leads to enhanced muscle stimulus.
There is a countless number of exercises which can be incorporated into supersets, with both isolation and compound exercises suitable for inclusion. For example, a superset for the back and chest could include a bent over barbell row supersetted with the barbell bench press. A superset for the arms could be the barbell biceps curl supersetted with the close grip bench press. Furthermore, a superset for the legs could be the leg extension and leg curl. The list could go on and on. The great variety of choice is of great benefit to ensure the muscles can receive a regular change in stimulus to avoid stagnation.
Due to the high intensity of supersets it may be wise to not use them every session, to avoid a burn out. However, supersets can prove a useful tool for increasing the intensity of a workout to break through a training rut, and offer a change in stimulus to the target muscles.