“Finding time” is the biggest battle you face when it comes to your workouts.
This leads to the question of how can you do more quality work in less time.
Compound supersets, also dubbed agonist supersets, are the answer.
This type of superset is simple when you perform it as a primary muscle exercise with an assisting muscle exercise.
You could nail the one-two punch of chin ups (primary exercise) and biceps curls (agonist/assisting muscle).
Or, if you’re struggling to build your chest, you could knock out a set of barbell bench presses and cable crossovers or fly movement.
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With compound supersets, you’ll create the “anabolic-trigger” of high-tension compound exercises like the dumbbell row and barbell bench press, respectively.
When you follow it up with an exercise to attack the agonist/assisting exercise you’re fatiguing the support structures and triggering metabolic stress, aka the pump, another primary component of the muscle-building formula.
Because of the (good) metabolic and muscular damage that’ll result from these supersets, you will need longer rest periods during the workout and longer recovery periods between training sessions for the same muscle group
This is perfect if you’re a busy guy who can only manage 2-3 gym sessions a week.
Still, one question remains.
Will supersets impair your strength gains?
The answer is…it depends.
If your goal is purely strength or strength and size you’re best off keeping your main exercise for the day by itself.
Combining two exercises that hit the same muscle groups will hinder performance from set to set. But if you want to “blitz” the remainder of your lifts after the compound set, you’re good to go.
Here’s an example:
1. Back Squat 5×5,4,3,2,1 rest 2 minutes
2a. Smith Machine Hack Squat 5×10, rest 0
2b. Leg extension 5×15, rest 60 seconds
If your goal is purely aesthetic, meaning fat loss or muscle building oriented, the above is an option.
Let’s say (gasp) you’re trying to build a big, veiny, triumphant set of biceps and you join the gym bro’s in an arms workout every Friday.
Here’s an example:
1a. Close Grip Bench Press 4×8, rest 0
1b. Cable Triceps Pushdown w/rope attachment 4×12, rest 90 seconds
2a. Close Grip Chin Up 4×8, rest 0
2b. Incline Dumbbell Biceps Curls 4×12, rest 90 seconds
This would be a brief yet brutal workout using compound supersets.
Remember, at the end of the day, finding a training program you’ll stick to consistently is more important than finding the “perfect” plan you can’t stick to when life gets in the way.
Compound supersets combine the physiological trigger needed to build lean muscle with the time-sensitive set-up you need to train hard, consistently, and get on with your life.
If you’re on the hunt for time-efficient training and a simple way to get more bang for your buck, add agonist supersets to your training.
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