“Finding time” is the biggest battle you face when it comes to your workouts. This leads to the question of how can you do more quality work in less time. Compound supersets, also dubbed agonist supersets, are the answer.
Before going any further, grab a copy of your chiseled muscle cheatsheet. This step-by-step guide gives you everything you need to know to add 10-15 pounds of pure muscle.
Agonist supersets are supersets where two exercises are performed back to back. An agonist superset uses exercises that train a primary and secondary muscle group together to create more metabolic stress and a bigger muscle-building stimulus.
An antagonist superset hits opposing muscle groups together, like a bench press and a row. Antagonists supersets can allow you to lift heavier and build more strength.
Both types of supersets have value, but for the purpose of this article, we’re focused on agonist supersets.
You could nail the one-two punch of chin-ups (primary exercise) and biceps curls (agonist/assisting muscle).
Or, if you’re struggling to build your chest, you could knock out a set of barbell bench presses and cable crossovers or fly movement.
With compound supersets, you’ll create the “anabolic-trigger” of high-tension compound exercises like the dumbbell row and barbell bench press, respectively.
When you follow it up with an exercise to attack the agonist/assisting exercise you’re fatiguing the support structures and triggering metabolic stress, aka the pump, another primary component of the muscle-building formula.
Because of the (good) metabolic and muscular damage that’ll result from these supersets, you will need longer rest periods during the workout and longer recovery periods between training sessions for the same muscle group.
This is perfect if you’re a busy guy who can only manage 2-3 gym sessions a week.
Still, one question remains.
What are examples of supersets?
The answer is…it depends.
If your goal is purely strength or strength and size you’re best off keeping your main exercise for the day by itself.
Combining two exercises that hit the same muscle groups will hinder performance from set to set. But if you want to “blitz” the remainder of your lifts after the compound set, you’re good to go.
Here’s an example:
1. Back Squat 5×5,4,3,2,1 rest 2 minutes
2a. Smith Machine Hack Squat 5×10, rest 0
2b. Leg extension 5×15, rest 60 seconds
If your goal is purely aesthetic, meaning fat loss or muscle building oriented, the above is an option.
Let’s say (gasp) you’re trying to build a big, veiny, triumphant set of biceps and you join the gym bro’s in an arms workout every Friday.
Here’s an example:
1a. Close Grip Bench Press 4×8, rest 0