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Why are Supersets Important for Your Workout

Supersets Produce Maximum Results

Simply Googling the word “superset” garners over 11,000,000 results. Why are they such a big deal and why do people care? It’s because they can take your workout and results to the next level. They sound hard though, right? Trust us, they aren’t terrible! Here’s what they are and why they are important.

What are the advantages of supersets?

By adding supersets to your workout you can increase effectiveness while decreasing the amount of time spent in the gym. Cool, right?

That’s why everyone is talking about them. For instance, here’s a snippet from a recent Women’s Health article: The biggest benefit of formatting your workout this way: You maximize your time spent sweating. “You can fit more exercises in a shorter amount of time, making your workout more efficient,” said Riley O’Donnell, NASM-certified personal trainer, and instructor at Fhitting Room in NYC.

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Or in a recent Mens’ Journal article: “Supersets are a good protocol for hypertrophy as they help create the biological and hormonal environment necessary for muscle building,” says Kelly. In other words, by using your rest periods to do more work, the two exercises in effect serve as active recovery for each other, providing that extra level of both pump and fatigue that trigger the physiological processes that encourage muscle growth, said Bruce Kelly, MS, CSCS, owner of Fitness Together in Media, PA.

Supersets can be harder than traditional sets, especially if you’re moving quickly between exercises, but that’s a good thing. It can cause muscle fatigue and exhaustion faster, but that also means your workout is over faster.

Performing supersets at a high intensity can ramp up your metabolism long after the workout is over, but it’s important to keep your heart rate and your oxygen consumption elevated. More on that later.

What are Supersets?

Essentially, supersetting your workout is where you pick 2-3 exercises and stack them. You perform one set of the first, then perform a set of the other over and over again, one after another until you reach your desired number of total sets.

A superset regime that works opposing muscle groups can allow you to do keep your heart rate and your oxygen consumption high. This is because you can continually move between exercises, performing the workout.

For example, if you want to do 3 sets of weight squats and 3 sets of shoulder presses:

  • Weighted Squats
  • Shoulder Press
  • Weight Squats
  • Shoulder Press
  • Weighted Squats
  • Shoulder press

Training opposing muscle groups allows you to give one muscle group a rest while performing the alternating exercises. When done at a high intensity, this can lead to Excess Post-Exercise Oxygen Consumption (EPOC) or the afterburn effect.

We’ve spoken about EPOC at length before because it’s a great way to blast calories and get results!

Quickly, EPOC is the number of calories or energy used to return your body to its normal state. This means you burn more calories!

As we’ve said before, the best part is that after high-intensity training, your metabolism can stay ramped up long after your workout is over. Research even indicates that your metabolism can be significantly higher 38 hours post-workout (Schuenke et al 2002)!

Performing a high-intensity superset regime for 20 – 30 minutes can increase your EPOC. This improves muscle tone and weight loss capabilities along the way!

Final Word

Take your workout from normal to high-intensity and increase the amount of calories burned along the way with supersets!

It will not only make your training regime quicker and more efficient, but it can help you get in great shape!


Schuenke MD, Mikat RP, McBride JM (2002) Effect of an acute period of resistance exercise on excess post-exercise oxygen consumption: Implications for body mass management. Eur J Appl Physiol 86: 411-417.

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