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Shock Your Muscles With Supersets

From AskMen.com

 

One of the biggest reasons you reach a plateau in your workout is that you are doing the same thing over and over again. Every time you put a new stress load on your body, your muscles get slightly damaged. Then, during the rest time after your workout, they rebuild and become even stronger, so they will be better equipped to handle that particular stress should it be encountered again.

When you perform the same routine day in and day out, your body gets used to the stress and no longer sees a reason to adapt and grow any stronger. This is when you stop noticing changes in your strength, quickness and size.

To overcome this problem, you need to constantly find new ways to shock your system and send it into a state of repair. A great way to do that is with supersets.

what are supersets?

Supersets are essentially two exercises performed back to back that target opposing muscle groups, namely one agonist and one antagonist muscle group. Examples of such muscles are the biceps and triceps, hamstrings and quads, and chest and back.

They are also different from normal sets as you don't rest between exercises, whereas you would normally take around 90 seconds rest between sets.

why should you do them?

Supersets are a great technique for plateau busting and for sparking your motivation to keep training. Often, when you force yourself to perform the same workouts over and over, you no longer have the burning desire to make it to every planned workout session. By changing your routine, you will find yourself excited again and actually looking forward to pushing your body past its limits.

Supersets are also a great technique for increasing muscle size, as they boost the release of anabolic hormones like testosterone, which is responsible for muscle growth. In addition, you will reduce the amount of time you spend in the gym, as you will be working two muscle groups within the same set.

Another great benefit for those who train at home or on the road is that you don't need really heavy weights; you can push your muscles to their limits with lighter weights, which means that you can still have a great workout with minimal equipment.

However, supersets aren't the best technique if you are exclusively looking to increase your strength. The reasoning behind this is simple: Since it is a higher-intensity workout, you will not be able to lift as much weight as you would if you were doing regular sets with longer rest periods, translating into a lesser pure strength gain.

How to incorporate supersets into your regular workout routine and a sample arm workout.

incorporating supersets

Since supersets are more demanding than regular workouts, you shouldn't perform them every time you go to the gym, or you will quickly find that you are overtraining.

Also, when performing supersets, it's a good idea to focus only on two opposing muscle groups, while maintaining your normal workout for the rest of your body. This will allow you to hit those particular muscles harder without overstressing all your muscles.

A good approach is to focus on a given muscle group for a period of 2 to 4 weeks before switching to a new group. After you've hit all the muscles you would like to with this technique, take a few weeks off and return to a straight set workout plan for another 2 to 4 weeks. This will allow all your muscles to fully recover from the supersets before you hit them again, working them into your routine as you did when you started.

During the workout itself, perform your 2 exercises back to back with no rest period, and after the whole set is completed, take a 60- to 90-second rest period.

Start off performing 2 to 3 sets of 8 to 10 reps for each exercise, and 2 different exercises for each muscle. As you advance, you can increase your sets to 3 to 4 total, and start performing 3 different exercises per muscle.

sample arm workout

Start with a 5- to 10-minute moderate cardiovascular warmup to get the blood moving to your muscles. Then, using a weight that is slightly lighter than what you would normally use if you were doing straight sets, perform the following supersets, taking about 90 seconds rest between each set.

1. Bicep curls with tricep kickbacks

For the bicep curls, keep your elbows close to your body and curl the weight up toward your shoulders. Remember to keep your body straight; don't use your momentum to raise the weight.

For the tricep kickbacks, bend over and try to keep your back flat. Extend your arms behind you, keeping your elbows close to your sides. Pause for a second at the top of the movement, then return to the starting position.

2. Hammer curls with overhead extensions

Perform the hammer curls just as you would bicep curls, only turn your wrists so that your palms are facing in.

For the overhead extensions, use either a dumbbell or a barbell and raise the weight over your head. After you have stabilized the weight above you, slowly bend at the elbows, and move the dumbbells or barbell behind your head and down toward your back. Make sure to keep your elbows pointed as straight up to the ceiling as possible to prevent stress on your joints. After going as low as you can, raise the weight back up over your head to complete the rep.

As you progress through this workout, try adding another exercise superset to further challenge your muscles.

superset it

As with any exercise, it's most important to ensure that you are maintaining proper form in order to derive the full benefits. Try not to be discouraged if you have to decrease your weight quite a bit from what you normally lift in order to maintain your form; your muscles are fatigued and this is to be expected.

Work at your own pace; although you may not be lifting as much as the guy next to you, once you have both put the weights down, your results will be much more impressive than his.

 


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