You are here

The Smart Superset Workout Program

Get double the impact with the superset approach in this classic two-day body building routine.

The classic bodybuilding superset—two exercises done back-to-back for the same muscle group, with no rest in between—is one of the most commonly used techniques in any gym. Unfortunately, it’s probably the most misused, too. This month, learn to pair up exercises properly so you build muscle and shred fat without compromising your workout. Best of all, you’ll see results in as little as four weeks.

HOW IT WORKS:

Supersetting two exercises for the same body part is flat-out exhausting. Imagine doing a barbell bench press and then dips right afterward. You might feel pumped up and strong after the first round, but midway through the second, your intensity will drop off, and you won’t be able to use the same weights or get the same number of reps.

That’s the danger of supersetting: burning out too fast, thereby reducing the overall quality of your workout.

Related: Supersize Your Workouts With Supersets >>>

Still, there’s value in working a muscle one way, then hitting it another way before it can fully recover; in fact, it’s a favorite technique of bodybuilders who want to add size fast. The trick is to combine a more challenging compound move with an easier isolation lift. If you do dumbbell bench presses then flyes, for example, your strength won’t be as compromised on the flyes because you have to go lighter anyway: Isolation lifts are meant to be done light and less explosively. This also means you won’t be too smoked to give the bench presses your all when you return to them on the next round.

Use supersets the smart way and you’ll not only send your muscles the message to grow, you’ll give them the means to do it.

DIRECTIONS:

Alternate the workouts (Day I and Day II) for three total sessions per week. So you’ll do Day I twice in Week 1 and Day II twice in Week 2. Exercises marked “A” and “B” are done without rest in between (superset). Afterward, rest 90 seconds, and repeat for the prescribed number of sets. Complete all sets for one group before going on to the next. Exercise 4 on both days is done as straight sets. Choose loads to start with that allow you two reps more than the target number, and note that you still may need to decrease the load on subsequent sets.

For a visual reference of each exercise, check out our gallery of all the exercises in The Smart Superset Workout Program.

DAY I: Chest, Thighs, Back

1A. Dumbbell Bench Press

Sets: 3
Reps: 8
Rest: 0 sec.
Lie back on a bench with a dumbbell in each hand at shoulder level. Press the weights over your chest, squeezing your pecs at the top.

1B. Dumbbell Flye

Sets: 3
Reps: 10-12
Rest: 120 sec.
Lie on a flat bench holding a dumbbell in each hand over your chest. Spread your arms apart and lower the dumbbells out to your sides until you feel a stretch in your pecs. Squeeze your pecs as you bring the weights together.

2A. Goblet Squat

Sets: 3
Reps: 8
Rest: 0 sec.
Hold a kettlebell (or a dumbbell by one of its ends) with both hands under your chin. Stand with feet at shoulder width and screw your feet into the floor so your toes turn out about 30 degrees. Squat, pushing your knees out so your elbows can move in between them. Go as low as you can without losing the arch in your lower back and come back up.

2B. Leg Extension

Sets: 3
Reps: 10-12
Rest: 120 sec.
Sit on a leg-extension machine and line your knees up with its axis of rotation. Hook your feet under the ankle pad and extend your knees. Hold at the top for a second.

3A. Chest-Supported Row

Sets: 3
Reps: 10
Rest: 0 sec.
Set an adjustable bench to a 45-degree angle and lie on it chest-down with a weight in each hand. Row the weights back to your hips, squeezing your shoulder blades together at the top.

3B. Pullover

Sets: 3
Reps: 10-12
Rest: 120 sec.
Lie back on a bench holding a dumbbell with both hands over your chest. Brace your abs and pull your rib cage down. Extend your arms behind your head until you feel a stretch in your lats, and then pull the weight back over your face.

4. Plank

Sets: 2
Reps: Hold as long as possible
Rest: 45 sec.
Get into pushup position and bend your elbows 90 degrees so that your forearms rest flat on the floor. Hold your body in a straight line with abs braced.

Related: When Should I Use Supersets Versus Straight Sets? >>>

DAY II: Hamstrings, Shoulders, Arms

1A. Dumbbell RDL

Sets: 3
Reps: 8
Rest: 0 sec.
Hold dumbbells in front of your thighs. Keeping your lower back in its natural arch, push your hips back and lower your torso until you feel a stretch in your hamstrings. Return to the starting position.

1B. Leg Curl

Sets: 3
Reps: 10-12
Rest: 120 sec.
Lie down on a leg curl machine and line your knees up with its axis of rotation. Hook your feet under the ankle pad and curl your heels up. Avoid extending your lower back.

2A. Dumbbell Overhead Press

Sets: 3
Reps: 8
Rest: 0 sec.
Stand with feet shoulder-width apart and hold a dumbbell in each hand at shoulder level. Brace your core and press the weights straight overhead.

2B. Lateral Raise

Sets: 3
Reps: 10-12
Rest: 120 sec.
Hold a dumbbell in each hand and raise your arms out 90 degrees to your sides.

3A. EZ-Bar Curl

Sets: 3
Reps: 8
Rest: 0 sec.
Hold an EZ-curl bar with hands at shoulder width. Keeping your upper arms against your sides, curl the bar and squeeze your biceps at the top.

3B. Pronated Kickback 

Sets: 3
Reps: 12-15
Rest: 120 sec.
Hold a dumbbell in each hand and bend your hips back so your torso is parallel to the floor. Keep your lower back flat and tuck your elbows to your sides. Extend your elbows with palms facing the ceiling. Squeeze your triceps at the top, holding for a second.

4. Side Plank

Sets: 2
Reps: Hold as long as possible (each side)
Rest: 45 sec.
Lie on your side, supporting your weight with your forearm and the blade of your foot. Bridge your hips up into the air and brace your abs, holding your body in a straight line.

For a visual reference of each exercise, check out our gallery of all the exercises in The Smart Superset Workout Program.

Related: Build Muscle Even Faster With These 6 Supersets >>>

Topics: 

Want more Men's Fitness?

Sign Up for our newsletters now.

You might also like