Doing Supersets All the Time

Muscle Building

The Versatility Of Supersets

Q. If supersets are a good way to pack on mass and quality in leg training, can you use the superset with just about any body part and expect the same result?

A. The answer is no. I would only really superset three body parts on a regular basis: The legs, the back and the abs. I might occasionally superset biceps with triceps and do that kind of superset, but doing pure supersets with only biceps exercises or only triceps exercises would severely overtrain these areas. The chest is another possibility, but only as you are getting ready to get up on stage. Light weights and maximum amounts of reps are a great tool for defining and brining out every bit of sinew. People really misunderstand supersets, however, and assume that you cannot gain size from them. In fact, that's not true. Major muscle groups, as I mentioned (legs, back, etc.) really benefit from being pushed and nearly overtrained because they require large volume in order to change and respond. These one rep guys can really jump off a dock, as far as I'm concerned! It just isn't enough to make a difference in development. And most of the time, neither is 8 reps enough to make a change in any body part unless it's small. But I prefer supersets to, say, doing a large number of reps of the same exercise. In supersets, you may be doing 8 reps of one exercise and finishing off with 8 reps of another, totaling 16 reps, but you're getting more than one type of movement in during that exhaustion phase and that's what makes a superset so powerful. It's combining a multitude of movements into one phase - a phase that begins with full strength and ends with pure exhaustion - and forces the muscle group to adapt within that very same arc. That's much more beneficial than simply doing high rep sets using one type of movement. But it's not just the large muscle groups that benefit from doing supersets; it's also muscle groups that re-oxygenate rapidly, such as the abs and, to some extent, the calves. This is the only type of training that most people's abs will respond to and I encourage everyone to superset or giant set abs at least during one session per week.

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