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The Gray Iron Fitness Newsletter, Issue #143 Supersetting for Success
August 01, 2014

August 1, 2014

In this newsletter . . .

Supersetting for

Shingles: Thank you for the notes of support and response to wife Patty’s report on my progress. I read every email you send and greatly appreciate them. And, normally, I answer all. But please bear with me this time, as I gradually return to normal. I am doing much better, but the recovery period is long. I’ve done a few light workouts and have resumed walks. Still, I have a ways to go. -LF

Supersetting for success

Unless you are training for the Olympic lifts or power lifting, supersetting exercises may be your best bet for getting the most out of time spent in the gym. Dedicated bodybuilders get that great pump they look for. And general fitness trainees can squeeze more actual lifting into their workout time.

Supersetting means taking two or more exercises and moving from one set of each exercise to the next without resting. Let’s say you are doing three sets of curls and three sets of triceps extensions. In a superset, you move from curls to extensions, back and forth, until you’ve completed three sets of each exercise. Normally, you then take a measured rest (somewhere between one and three minutes is common) before moving on to the next exercises.

Sometimes you hear people talking about Tri-Sets and Giant Sets. These are supersets too. A Tri-Set simply means doing three exercises back-to-back. A Giant Set is one with more than three exercises.

There are many ways to select exercises in a superset. Some people pick two or more exercises that work the same muscle group. For example, to work their chests they might do barbell bench presses, back-to-back with dumbbell flyes. Others may move from an upper body movement to lower body. Let’s say alternating one-arm rowing (for lats) with calf raises. The possible combinations are limited only by your imagination.

I use supersets a lot. And I prefer using a push/pull format; that is working antagonistic muscle groups, back-to-back. I find that is the most efficient format for getting the most out of a workout in the shortest time. What do I mean by that? Take, for example, a chest and back combination that supersets a dumbbell bench press with one arm rowing. The muscles used during the push phase of the superset (DB Bench Press: the pectorals, triceps, and frontal deltoids) are at rest during the pull phase (One-Arm Rowing: primarily lats and biceps).

One of the all-time great bodybuilders, Dave Draper (Mr. America, 1965; Mr. Universe, 1966; and Mr. World, 1970), discovered supersets early in his career and I think still favors them today. Not a bad endorsement.

If you haven’t tried a superset workout, I hope you’ll give it a try. I don’t think you’ll be disappointed.

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The Gray Iron Fitness Newsletter is a free publication sent twice monthly to subscribers. The purpose is to provide honest and realistic fitness information for people age 50 and above.

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Logan Franklin
The Gray Iron Fitness Newsletter

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