IN THE COURSE OF A traditional resistance training workout, you can spend much of your time standing around, resting and giving your muscles a chance to stop burning before going into your next set. This is especially true when training for muscle growth or strength, when a given muscle can require anywhere from 90 seconds to five minutes of rest before working again.
“There are only so many hours in a day,” says Jackie Vick, an assistant fitness manager and certified personal trainer at Gold’s Gym in Riverdale, Maryland. A lack of time is one major reason why people are not able to be consistent with their workout routines, she says.
That’s where paired supersets come in handy. By alternating between two strength training moves that work opposing muscle groups, supersets allow exercisers to give their muscles the rest they need – without all that standing around. As a result, the muscles are able to perform more fitness-boosting work in the same – or even less – time than they would otherwise.
For example, with a traditional strength training model, an exerciser might perform three sets of 10 reps of the bench press, then three sets of 10 reps of the row and rest two minutes between every set and exercise. However, with supersets, an exerciser would perform eight reps of the bench press, eight reps of the row and rest for a couple of minutes before repeating the superset for a total of three rounds.