What are supersets?
Supersets are two exercises performed in a row one after another without rest. In theory, any two exercises can be combined into a superset, but as always, bodybuilders empirically found the best option for combinations of muscle groups in the superset — antagonist muscles. Usually, these are biceps and triceps, pectoral and back muscles, four and two-headed muscles of femoris.
Muscle antagonists are two muscles of the same joint, which, when contracted, carry out traction in opposite directions, because the muscle can only pull the bone link during contraction, but not push it.
Science about superset
As it turned out, there is no scientific evidence on what dividends can be obtained by including supersets in your training plan. But remembering that two of the three factors contributing to hypertrophy are mechanical stress and metabolic stress, it can be assumed that increasing the training density will allow you to perform more repetitions per unit of time without a significant decrease in intensity, thereby increasing metabolic stress (acidification).
Moreover, the weight of the projectile or the number of repetitions in the set can even be increased separately compared to performing the exercises, which, incidentally, was written by A. Schwarzenegger, expressing his love for supersets.
Why is this happening? It turns out that muscle contraction (biceps) increases the production of effort by 7% with the subsequent contraction of the antagonist (triceps) due to the stored elastic energy of the muscular – tendon complex. And more mechanical stress can lead to increased muscle growth.
But an increase in the contraction power can be manifested ONLY during fast movements in explosive style in the concentric phase of the (positive) second exercise. That is, in order to show great power in curling the arms with a barbell, you need to extend your arms while doing the French bench press in an explosive style in the triceps biceps superset.
We DO NOT recommend using supersets on an ongoing basis and DO NOT include them in your training plan more than once or twice a month, as nobody canceled the dose-effect rule. However, with limited training time, the use of supersets looks reasonable.
In addition, you have a great chance to get to know first whether it is possible to gain muscle while losing fat.
What is more, we’ve prepared an answer on how long should you rest between sets.