10 Supersets For Strength, Size and Stamina

06/10/2021 | Andrew Tracey

Andrew Tracey is a long time collaborator with Bulldog Gear. A coach, writer and current fitness editor of Men’s Health Magazine, he has been in and around the fitness industry for the past 16 years. Having enjoyed and endured a number of disciplines from endurance racing, to strongman, to Crossfit AT enjoys getting neck deep in the practice just as much as the theory.


Want to make your training more time efficient? Then you need to be supersetting.

 

Boiled down to the basics, a ‘superset’ is two movements performed back to back, cutting down on rest and getting you in and out of the gym in half the time.

 

But scratch below the surface and you’ll see that supersets offer more than just minutes saved, and that picking the right pairings for your goals can give you considerably more bang for your buck.

 

Here’s five of our favourite flavours, with two killer combos for each.

ANTAGONISTIC SUPERSETS

Our aim here is to work equal but opposite movement patterns. By performing similar but opposing movements back-to-back, we’re creating more rest time for each muscle group, allowing the recovering muscles to not only rest but in some cases stretch (as the opposing muscle group contracts), whilst continuing to pump blood into the adjacent area, ready to perform again.

 

We’re talking BIG movements here (we’ve got the accessory moves covered, later).

 

1. BENCH PRESS  x PULL-UPS

 

Not only is this one a time savvy way to hit your chest and back, it’s also kit efficient. In fact, any weights/ bodyweight combo wins in this department.

Try 5 rounds of 5 heavy bench press, immediately into 10 strict pull-ups, resting 60s between each superset.

 

2. FRONT SQUAT x ROMANIAN DEADLIFT

 

A squat biasing the quads with a deadlift variation that focusses on the hamstrings? A recipe for bigger legs. Get the loading right and this can be performed with a single barbell in one continuous set, setting your lungs on fire and testing you grit, whilst pumping up those pins.

Try 8 rounds, of 8 reps of each movement to kick off your next leg day.

PRE/POST EXHAUSTION SUPERSETS

Taking the opposite approach to antagonistic sets, here we’re going to focus on one muscle group, pairing a strength building compound movement with a high rep burnout of the supporting muscles, forcing your body to recruit more muscle fibres and push through fatigue.

 

3. PULL-UPS x BICEP CURL

 

Build a bigger back by exhausting the biceps and taking them out of the game. Caution: you may need bigger t-shirts if you throw this one into the mix regularly.

Try 5 rounds of 5 weighted pull-ups directly into 20 olympic bar curls.

 

4. BACK SQUATS x BODYWEIGHT SPLIT SQUAT JUMPS

 

Make no bones about it, this one is going to hurt. Hit your legs from all angles by combining a heavy barbell lift, with an explosive bodyweight burner.

Try working to a heavy triple back squat, chasing each set with 20 dynamic jumps

PERIPHERAL HEART ACTION SUPERSETS

The plan here is to take advantage of the ‘peripheral heart action’ effect. By switching between muscles of the upper and lower body, we force out heart to work double time, pumping blood back and forth. Not only does this ramp up our cardiovascular fitness, but by pairing movements that have little effect on one another, we strategically avoid fatigue allowing us to push harder.

 

5. PUSH PRESS x FRONT SQUAT

 

Another pairing that can work as one seamless set; if you’ve got the fortitude.

Try working to the heaviest set you can of 5 push press directly into 10 front squats.

 

6. HANDSTAND PRESS-UP x AIR SQUAT

 

A bodyweight only mash-up that can be performed anywhere. Keep the rest to a bare minimum and reap the rewards.

Try a quick fire 10 minute AMRAP of 5 strict handstand press-ups, straight into 15 air squats.

COMPLIMENTARY SUPERSETS

Complimentary supersets are similar to their antagonistic cousins, but here we’re going to pair up one big compound movement, with a more ‘auxiliary’ movement from the opposing muscle-groups. This enables us to get a high volume of work in, without systemically overloading ourselves, meaning we can focus on good, high quality reps.

 

7. BARBELL ROW x TRICEP EXTENSIONS

 

Keeping our pulling muscles fresh whilst drilling some volume into the triceps is the strategy here.

Try a 15 minute AMRAP of 5 rows with 10 extensions. You can then flip this in the next block using a big pressing movements and a curl variation. 

 

8. BENCH PRESS x BICEP CURLS

 

Does this one require any further explanation?

As above, set a timer for 15 minutes and work through sets of 5 and 10, respectively. 

COMPOUND AND CONDITION SUPERSETS

Combining a big multi-joint lift with a higher intensity pulse raiser, we’re not only upping the conditioning effect of our workout and boosting our fitness, but also coaxing our bodies to learn to lift under fatigue. Just keep the big movements relatively low skill.

 

9. PUSH PRESS x BURPEE OVER BAR

 

Push, push, push. This one is a brutal test of raw power and tenacity. Don’t pace the burpees, use them to spike your heart rate, then rest and recover before you get back to the bar.

Try 6 rounds of 6 push press, straight into 12 burpees, resting for 60s after your final burpee.

 

10. FRONT SQUAT x AIR BIKE

 

This one may scorch your lungs and leave you limping out of the gym, but you’re unlikely to find a combo that will build stronger, more durable legs.

Try 10 rounds of 10 squats, into a 10 calorie sprint, resting for 60-90s between rounds. Bring a bucket. 


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October 05, 2021 — AT

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