Resistance exercise is the best way to gain muscle and improve your body composition, but did you know that it is also an effective way to lose more fat? Weightlifting and calisthenics are strenuous workouts that tax the muscles, forcing them to draw on large amounts of stored energy in the form of glycogen and fat. This increase in calorie utilization doesn’t just occur during the workout, though.
Rebuilding damaged muscles takes time, and your metabolism ramps up for about 48 hours following heavy weightlifting in response to the effort and resources required to achieve this. For these two reasons, a resistance workout is beneficial for weight loss when combined with a healthy, balanced diet.
But what if you could speed up the fat loss from your workout even further, and it would take no major change to its structure or your eating habits? This is where supersets can supercharge your program and help with body re-composition. Below, personal trainer, Ken Inoue, provides a detailed overview of supersets and their benefits.
What are Supersets?
You usually take a break between each set of a resistance workout. This rest period is necessary to allow the muscle group you’re training to recover enough to lift the weight properly again. Your heart rate will decrease during this break, and energy requirements also drop as a result.
A superset aims to avoid this drop in heart rate by performing two different exercises back-to-back with no rest period. When you switch from the first exercise to the second, you are still effectively giving the last muscle group time to rest while performing your next workout. The difference is that your heart remains active the entire time.
Maintaining a higher heart rate like this causes your body to continue burning calories to fuel your workout, adding a reliable source of cardio exercise to your weightlifting routine. It also shortens the time it takes to complete a whole activity since additional idle time is eliminated.
Supersets make your routine shorter, improve fat loss results, benefit the health of your heart, and carry all the same benefits for muscle growth as regular heavy lifting does. The only downside is that the higher exertion involved can make the technique a bit more challenging to handle for a complete beginner. However, it is not overly stressful if you are comfortable with your routine already.
How to Incorporate Supersets Into Your Workouts
Wondering how you can add supersets to your own routine and get the benefits for yourself? Luckily, it’s straightforward to do this. Any two exercises performed consecutively can be a superset, but there is one easy rule to follow: a superset should always utilize two different muscle groups.
This is because the muscles you have already worked need to rest before they can perform another set. You can exercise groups like your biceps and abs in a superset. Still, you can’t superset most back workouts with your biceps because the biceps already have a significant active role in those exercises.
However, sometimes you can superset an isolation movement like calf raises with a compound movement like squats if you lower the first exercise’s intensity. This can be a great way to reliably fatigue high-endurance muscles like the muscles in your lower legs because it acts to pre-fatigue the first group, but it should only be considered on a case-by-case basis as it’s not always the right choice. It’s a great way to boost muscle growth in stubborn areas, but only if it doesn’t hinder your second exercise performance.
As with any form of workout routine, observing how your body reacts and adjusting your approach is the best way to continue to see results. Supersets are a way to improve many of the benefits of weightlifting, but you won’t know how effective they are for your situation until you try them for yourself.
About Ken Inoue
Ken Inoue is a certified personal trainer from Torrance, California. Mr. Inoue helps his Los Angeles based clients improve their overall well-being by giving them the necessary tools to embrace an active and nutritious lifestyle. His training approach is unique to each individual, though he does place great emphasis on mastering the fundamentals of fitness training. He believes in a holistic strategy, incorporating strength training, cardiovascular, flexibility, and a well-balanced diet.
An avid learner, Mr. Inoue hopes to enrich his Torrance education and pursue a Bachelor of Science degree in Sports and Health Sciences so that he can help current and future clients reach greater levels of confidence in their exercise routines.
When Ken Inoue isn’t leading clients through custom fitness regimens, either at the gym (health protocols permitting) or virtually, he can be found experimenting with new nutritional recipes, expanding his mindfulness with a digital yoga session, and playing with his much-beloved dog.
Laila Azzahra is a professional writer and blogger that loves to write about technology, business, entertainment, science, and health.