Monday, September 13, 2010


I started a new workout cycle today after taking a week off to recover. With each new cycle, I like to take an overview of my past workouts and make any necessary tweaks. I like to structure my exercises so that I can get the most effective, efficient and intense workout possible. One of my favorite techniques I incorporate into my workouts to attain that extra boost of intensity is the superset. (For those of you unfamiliar with supersets, they are essentially two exercises performed without any rest between sets.) One problem I have noticed with supersets deals with the nature of this technique itself. I find it difficult to perform the first set of the superset without unintentionally (sometimes intentionally...I know, I know) "saving" energy to perform the second set of the superset, degrading the effectiveness of the first exercise.

Over the years I have not been able to figure out a way to eliminate this problem, but rather suppress this problem. In my opinion, there are two ways to minimize this consequence of the superset:
  1. Be more disciplined during a workout
  2. Superset compatible exercises together to minimize this effect as much as possible
The first solution is not as practical as it requires me to operate on a higher level of mental discipline when I workout. On some days, I'm just not as energetic and thus will hinder the effectiveness of the workout. I always viewed this solution as the end result of working out for many, many years. In essence, this first solution should come naturally as I progress with my fitness routines.

The second solution is the more practical solution. The first exercise of the superset should target the desired muscle group with minimal help from other muscle groups. A lot of these exercises are isolation type exercises, i.e., the range of motion of the exercise only requires the rotation or pivoting about one joint. The second exercise should supplement the first exercise by using other muscles to help workout the target muscle even further. A lot of these exercises are compound type exercises, i.e., the range of motion of the exercise rotates or pivots about more than one joint. Generally, compound type exercises uses more than one muscle group.

To illustrate this, consider one of my all time favorite superset exercise combos: the pec dec fly and the decline barbell press. For the first set of my superset, I would normally perform approximately 6-10 reps for the pec dec fly. For the most part, this exercise targets my chest muscles effectively and I can feel a nice burn towards the end of the set. I would then push my chest muscles even further by immediately performing a set of decline barbell presses, which utilizes my fresh, unused triceps to help my chest muscles.

For now, this solution is sufficient for my workouts and has provided good results. Any thoughts?

No comments:

Post a Comment