Is It Better to Work the Same Muscles or Opposing Super Sets?

The biceps curl can be super set with hammer curls to overload your biceps.

The biceps curl can be super set with hammer curls to overload your biceps.

Instead of completing one weight training exercise and then moving onto the next one, super setting your workouts means you jump back and forth between two exercises. If you’re looking to build muscle tone or are short on time, super setting allows you to thoroughly exhaust your muscles and knock out your workout quicker. Whether the pair of exercises you super set work the same muscles or opposing muscles depends on whether you'd like to build muscle size or strength.

Same Muscles

When you’re interested in building muscle size, your weight training workout should be designed to thoroughly exhaust and overload your muscles. Muscle building workouts focus on a particular group of muscles. Complete three to five sets of about 12 repetitions and rest just 30 to 90 seconds in between sets. Super setting pairs of exercises that target the same muscle groups is an effective way for exhausting your muscles and stimulating growth. For example, if you target your chest, perform a set of chest presses and then move into a set of pushups. Go back and forth between the two until three to five sets are completed of each exercise.

Same Muscle Pairings

Super setting exercises that hit the same muscles will cause your workouts to take too long if you focus on all of the major muscle groups. Therefore, focus on just a small number of muscles per workout. For example, you could do chest, shoulders and triceps on one day, and your back, biceps and legs on another day. Quality chest pairings include chest press and pushups or bench press and chest flyes. Super set your shoulders with shoulder press and lateral raise, or dips and front raise. Overload your triceps by pairing up lying triceps extension and overhead triceps extension, or kickbacks and triceps pushdown. For your back, pair up lat pulldown and seated row, or pullups with bent over row. Your biceps can be super set by performing biceps curl and hammer curl. For your legs, pair up lunges with squats, step-ups with lateral lunges or deadlifts with hamstring curls.

Opposing Muscles

If you’re looking to build strength, super setting exercises that target opposite muscle groups is a great way to complete your workouts in a shorter amount of time. A strength program consists of a battery of exercises that target all of the major muscle groups. Complete three sets of six or fewer repetitions. Because you are using heavier weights, your muscles need three to five minutes of rest. By super setting opposite exercises of opposite muscles, you give your muscles the rest they need in between set while working the opposite muscle group.

Opposing Muscle Pairings

To combine exercises of opposing muscle groups, pair up the chest with back, the biceps with the triceps and the quadriceps with the hamstrings. Examples of chest and back pairings include chest press with lat pulldown, pushups with pullups, and chest flyes with seated rows. For your biceps and triceps, pair biceps curls with lying triceps extensions and hammer curls with overhead triceps extension. Quality quadriceps and hamstrings pairings include squats with deadlifts and leg extensions with leg curls.

 

About the Author

Kim Nunley has been screenwriting and working as an online health and fitness writer since 2005. She’s had multiple short screenplays produced and her feature scripts have placed at the Austin Film Festival. Prior to writing full-time, she worked as a strength coach, athletic coach and college instructor. She holds a master's degree in kinesiology from California State University, Fullerton.

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