You may have heard of supersets before, but did you know there are at least a half a dozen different types, and one of them is the ultimate way to build more muscle in less time? This one weight training system is scientifically proven to build muscle and strength, it works for everyone, it’s engaging (fun, even when it’s hard), and it gets you finished with your workouts up to 50% faster… In today’s post I’ll explain 8 tips on using this killer technique and show you 33 different supersets to build or sculpt every muscle in your body…
The one type of superset that most experts agree is the ultimate method for maximizing muscle growth and strength is called…
The antagonist superset.
What is an antagonist superset? Very simply, you perform two exercises for opposing muscles, with little to no rest between the two exercises. Then after you finish the second exercise you take a normal rest interval (about a minute or two).
There are enough possibilities for antagonist supersets to keep you busy a long time. I’ve listed a bunch of the best below.
But first, here’s a short list of important instructions for your antagonist superset workouts.
Antagonist Superset Tips, Tricks, And Tactics
1. To do antagonist supersets, you have to be on a full body workout or on a split routine that has you working opposite muscles on the same day. If you’re on an upper – lower split, you’re all set to do antagonist supersets. If you’re on the 3-Day classic Muscle (3DCM) split, you’re also set for antagonist supersets.
2. There are three classic antagonist superset combinations (most popular): Chest with back, biceps with triceps and quads with hamstrings. (Supersetting bis and tris is a phenomenal technique that helps you gain arm muscle while simultaneously reducing your gym time.
3. Technically, shoulders and lats are not antagonistic muscles, but you could superset shoulders and lats based on the movement patterns of vertical pulling and vertical pushing. That would be like doing the lat pulldown (or pullup) supersetted to the overhead press.
4. Abs and lower back are also antagonist (opposite) muscles, so you could pair up an ab exercise with a low back exercise (Hyperextension paired with crunches, for example).
5. Not everyone does a lot of direct forearm training, but for those who do, the forearm flexors can be supersetted with the forearm extensors. That would be like doing wrist curls supersetted with reverse wrist curls.
6. Supersetting the front and back of your calves is even more rare, but serious bodybuilders with lagging calves who want to try something completely different could give it a shot: Pair up any calf raise (plantar flexion) with a reverse calf raise (dorsiflexion). This can most easily be done with a special device called a “D.A.R.D.” (dynamic axial resistance device), or it can also be done with a cable handle and a pulley system.
7. Most people forget about this one, but you can also superset flyes for chest with reverse flyes for rear deltoids – the two movements are exactly opposite / reciprocal. Normally chest and shoulders wouldn’t be considered an antagonist superset, but the rear deltoids are more like part of your back.
8. With antagonist supersets you take little or no rest between each pair of exercises, then after the two exercises in a row, you take a rest period before doing the superset pair again (important). Two minutes is standard, but one minute may be enough for small muscles like arms that aren’t so taxing. If you don’t take the rest break after each superset pair, you’ll get done even faster, but you won’t recover completely and your strength and performance will drop.
So now let me give you a bunch of examples. Make a note that the order of the exercises is reversible and in fact, it’s a not a bad idea to switch the order for variety from time to time or even every other workout.
Bicep – Tricep Supersets
Seated Dumbbell Curls
Lying two dumbbell tricep extensions
Incline dumbbell curls
Incline two dumbbell tricep extensions
Standing dumbbell curls
dumbbell tricep extension behind head
Barbell lying tricep extension
Rope hammer curls
Rope tricep pushdown
French Press (barbell extension behind head)
EZ barbell curl
Close grip bench press
Chest – Back supersets
Barbell Bench Press
Barbell Bent Over Rows
Smith Machine Bench Press
Smith Machine Bent Over Rows
Incline Barbell Press
45 degree bent over barbell row (aka “Yates row)
Dumbbell bench press
Two dumbbell bent over row
Seated chest press machine
Seated row machine
Hammer strength row machine
Hammer strength chest press
Wide grip (pec) dips
Pull ups or Chin ups
Seated cable row
Quad – Hamstring supersets
seated leg curl
Two dumbbell Romanian deadlift
One legged romanian deadlift
Low back extension (hyperextension)
Vertical push to vertical pull supersets (deltoids and lats)
Barbell overhead press
Dumbbell overhead press
Machine overhead press
Close grip lat pulldown
Arnold (dumbbell) press
Two dumbbell pullover
Chest and rear deltoid supersets
Pec deck flye
Reverse flye (on pec deck)
Incline bench dumbbell flyes
incline reverse flyes
Flat bench dumbbell flyes
Bent over dumbbell laterals (reverse flyes)
Incline cable flyes
Cable reverse flyes
I could go on and on with these lists, but this gives you some great ideas to keep you busy a while (that’s 33 supersets right there!)
Once you understand the principle of antagonist supersetting and you’ve seen a list of examples like this, you’ll be able to start brainstorming even more ideas on your own. Plus if you train in a gym with a lot of machines, you’ll have even more options (hopefully your gym isn’t crowded or at least you don’t train during rush hour, because waiting for machines can be a drag.
On the bright side, if you train in a crowded gym, you can use my “NEW BODY TURBO” superset method of choosing only exercise pairs you can do at the same station or with the same set of weights.
If you train at home, there’s no worries because you have plenty of options even if the only equipment you have is dumbbells. If you have a barbell set with a power rack chin up bar and or even a cable pulley system, that’s plenty to keep you busy with new superset workouts for a long time.
Let me know how the workouts go and post in the blog comments below or join our Inner Circle if you have any questions.
There are some great exercise combinations lists above, but this only scratches the surface of the superset training method, and you’ll be learning more as you keep following upcoming Burn the Fat Blog posts.
Check back here on Burn the Fat Blog every Thursday for the latest updates.
Train hard and expect success,
Tom Venuto, author of:
Burn The Fat Feed The Muscle
Burn the Fat, Feed the Muscle is the classic “bible of fat loss,” based on the tested, proven methods of bodybuilders and fitness models. The new edition is now available in audiobook here: https://amzn.to/2pCG7lX
NEW! TNB TURBO Training System: Ultra-time efficient “superset” training proven by science to build muscle in 50% of the time. To learn more CLICK HERE