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Supersets: What They Are And How To Apply Them

By PT Manager Craig Danks

In this article I’m going to answer common questions about Supersets. What are Supersets and how do you apply them to your training program?


A superset is different from your standard set in two ways. A superset is executed with a short rest or most often no rest between sets. In a standard set you may rest up to 90 seconds between two standard sets. Secondly, a superset is performed with two different exercises, whereas a standard set has only one exercise. In simpler terms, a superset is a technique where you use two exercises in a row with next to no rest in between.

Applying Superset to your workout:

There are five categories that supersets fall under. The most common type of superset is the same muscle group superset. This is performed using 2 different exercises for the same muscle group. For example; dumbbell curls with barbell curls and preacher curls.

Below are your five categories of supersets:

  1. Pre-exhaustion: the most effective type of superset. A pre-exhaust superset is performing an isolation exercise first, followed by a compound movement.  The concept behind pre-exhaustion is to take a muscle beyond its normal point of exhaustion.
  2. Compound supersets: will increase muscle growth in a very short period of time as you are performing two compound exercises, one after another. This is tough on the nervous system. Because this is so brutal on the nervous system you will need extra recovery time after a workout. You may find this too difficult to execute as compound supersets are very exhausting and can get sloppy when tired, increasing your chances of getting injured.
  3. Isolation supersets: are my personal favorites. This is performing super sets with two isolation exercises, such as Rope triceps pull downs and triceps kickbacks. This becomes useful when you want to get ripped and defined. This method is a great way to get lean and toned. I wouldn’t use this method to put on mass.
  4. Opposing muscle group supersets: is a great method to use because while one muscle is working, the other is resting. This type of superset allows your muscle to rest for a short period, it will allow you to build strength, as well as size. For example quads and hamstrings is a very common set of muscles used in opposing muscle group supersets.
  5. Staggered sets supersets: This is when you combine a major muscle with a smaller, unrelated muscle. This technique will allow you to develop a weak body part by working the muscle harder each week. For example – perform a set of calf raises between your sets of bent over rows.

If you apply Superstes to your workouts I can guarantee that you will increase muscular growth.


If you’re in need of training advice or training programs contact Spectrum fitness today to book in a consultation with our highly knowledgeable Personal Trainers.

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