Superset your workouts to increase muscle size

If like me, you have reached a plateau when it comes to building muscle size, it might be time to mix it up a little bit.

I have spent the last 18 months doing standard sets of various weightlifting exercises. I have seen great results, especially within the first 12 months. However, the last 6 months have been slow and by slow, I mean I’ve seen no improvement in strength or muscle size. The only improvement I’ve had, is in the muscle definition and that is from adding different forms or cardio to my workouts and burning away the fat (my diet has played a massive role in this too).

After doing a ton of research, I decided to try supersetting my workouts. Supersets can be used to increase muscle endurance and muscle size, it really depends on how you use them. I found an interesting article on Fitbody HQ explaining the different sorts of supersets that you can do. Check it out: http://www.fitbodyhq.com/strength-training/get-bigger-muscle-with-supersets/

Although I’ve only been doing supersets for around a week, I can feel the benefits from them. After my workout, my muscles feel even more tired, like I’ve really pushed them to the max! I feel so much happier in general when I know I am getting the most from my workouts. It’s good for the soul.

With supersets, your muscles don’t get the rest that they usually would. You overload the muscles causing sarcoplasmic hypertrophy. This type of hypertrophy happens when your muscles become fatigued and the cells enlarge with an increased amount of glycogen to get extra energy to your muscles. That’s when your muscles begin increasing in size!

My Superset workouts…

I decided to have 4 or 5 different exercises in each of my supersets. It really is personal preference, some choose to superset 2 exercises, others 6.

I did 2 supersets in 1 workout session. I always start with shoulders and back because it’s always best to work the bigger muscles first.

When doing this shoulders & back superset, I did 8 to 10 reps of each exercise for 4 sets and then reps to complete failure on set 5 to really push myself.

Again, for my second superset, I did 4 sets and went all out to failure with set 5. For biceps and triceps I had to switch between 2 different weight dumbbells. 

Always choose a weight that you are comfortable with.

The following day I did my next two supersets, legs and abs. These were the ones I was unsure about. I included 5 exercises in each and I don’t know about you guys, but working legs tires me out way more than other body parts (larger muscles and all that). So, maybe reducing it to 4 exercises in future might be the way I’d go.

5 sets of 8 to 12 reps, swapping to lower weight dumbbells for the lunges.

Abs are a little bit different. The amount of reps per set are much higher for me. Leg raises, I did 15 reps and the others I did 30 reps. Plank was just for 30 seconds. On the 5th set go to failure!

I’ve realised that I like supersets so much that I’m even doing them at the gym with my boyfriend. At the gym, we are limited to just 2 or 3 exercises in each superset since it is so busy all the time. We each grab a machine, do our set, quickly switch to reduce rest time and then back again. It’s fun!

It might also be important to note, once you have completed the superset, rest for around 40 to 60 seconds before going again since you’ve been working so much harder than if you were doing standard sets.

If anyone has any supersetting tips, please comment! Despite training for a while, I’m always up for learning new ways to improve and I would love to hear what you all do to prevent the dredid plateau.

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4 Comments

  1. Hey, excellent post! I hope you don’t mind me commenting here? I often use supersets with my clients and my own training. as you know supersets are two exercises performed back to back (zero rest). I like to use them with apposing muscle groups (agonist / antagonist) etc.
    Just out of curiosity your superset 3 workout (legs) included 5 exercises, did you perform 2 supersets and single set training for the remaining muscle group?
    There are so many manipulations you could try should you reach a plateau again such as training systems single sets, supersets, Tr-sets, Giant sets, drop sets, clusters etc. You can also manipulate the tempo, range of movement and rest periods to bring about a response. I have many years experience as a strength coach and love all things strength related. Keep up the good work, and happy training

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks!
      I actually did the whole lot as one superset. It was tiring!!! I will probably split it into two supersets next time. It has definitely got me out of my plateau though.
      Always good to try different variations. I’m forever learning about new techniques.
      I’ve not heard of giant sets or clusters…I’ll be looking them up next, so thanks for commenting and giving me new ideas!!! πŸ˜€πŸ˜Š

      Like

      1. hey, no worries. If you performed them all as one set then you actually performed a giant set. A super set is 2 exercises back to back.
        single set = 1 exercise
        superset = 2 exercise (eg, bicep & tricep)
        Tri-set = 3 exercise
        Giant set = 4 or more exercises.

        Liked by 1 person

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