The Essentials of Strength Training and Conditioning define “superset” as “the enactment of two exercises that initiate different muscle groups with no rest between the exercises.”

However, superset is a term that is commonly misunderstood by gym enthusiasts. The fallacy among the average person is that a superset is two exercises competed in a series.

It’s important to note the difference between the terms “compound” and “superset.” The two terms tend to be interchangeably used but shouldn’t be.

When an exercise incorporates at least two different muscle groups – back/chest muscles, hamstrings/quadriceps, etc. – it can be defined as a superset.

When two different exercises focus on the same muscle group and are repeated successively, it’s defined as a compound set.

For instance, when a person does a barbell biceps curl for 10 reps then does a dumbbell hammer curl for 10 reps, the exercises both focus on the biceps muscle.

Who Should and Should Not Consider Superset Workouts

A superset is a routine that many bodybuilders, athletes and gym enthusiasts will do to increase their muscle mass and endurance. It’s also popular with people who don’t have a lot of time for exercise.

If time is an issue, but you still want to increase muscle mass, supersets can give you the intense workout you want.

Since different muscle groups are being worked, there is no imbalance.

People who are just beginning a workout routine or returning from an injury are advised to avoid superset strength training exercises. Supersets are designed for experienced bodybuilders and exercisers.

When Is A Good Time To Do A Superset

There are three key reasons when a superset should be done:

If your goal is to build muscle, a superset should incorporate an eight to 12 rep range with reasonably heavy weights. If your goal is to increase endurance, a superset should involve light weights of 15 to 30 reps.

How many rounds of supersets should you do for each exercise? Results are usually seen when the superset includes three to four reps of the exercise.

People who really want to build their muscle mass should focus on a superset of at least six sets (up to seven).

Superset Examples: How To Do A Superset Exercise

Back/Chest Day

Many people fail to incorporate a back day when they exercise their arms and chest. However, back training can help with posture, reduce back pain and allow you to do pull-ups. Adding back exercises to a day isn’t difficult and should definitely follow a chest exercise. How would this work?

Superset 1 – 3 rounds of 10 reps

Superset 2 – 4 rounds of 12 reps
Dumbbell row
Dumbbell bench press

Superset 3 – 3 rounds of 12 reps
Machine lat pulldown
Dumbbell fly

Superset 4 – 3 rounds of 12 reps
Seated machine row
Seated machine chest press

Leg Day

Most people love to work out their legs but don’t realize that the legs have different muscle groups. As such, this tends to cause an imbalance with the hamstrings and quadriceps. Women tend to focus on the glutes (or butt) and quadriceps (thighs) but forgo the hamstrings (back leg muscles).

Doing this can cause low back pain, poor posture, and pelvis misaligned that can cause problems with the calf/hip and knee. A hamstring superset workout can include the following:

Superset 1 – 5 rounds of 10 reps
Dumbbell straight leg deadlift
Dumbbell sumo squat

Superset 2 – 4 rounds of 12 reps
Barbell good morning
Hip thrusts

Superset 3 – 3 rounds of 12 reps
Machine hamstring curl
Machine leg extension

Superset 4 – 3 rounds of 12 reps
Split squat
Single leg kettle ball deadlift

Supersets are tied deep with hypertrophy (or muscle-building), which is why anyone looking for maximum gains in a short time should incorporate them into their exercise routine.