Documents, Interesting Fitness Articles

What is a superset? – Are there Variations?

I would like to thank and for more information towards these subjects and the articles they provide.  For more information, I have provided hyerlinks to their websites for further information.  To sum things up, just keep reading.

I would also like to thank Marcus from for supporting my blogging and giving me a different but great understanding of supersets.

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Let’s begin with standard sets because they are what most people do during their weight lifting or exercise sessions.


3-4 sets of 10-12 reps – Bench Press w/ 1 minute rest between

There are several ways that this can be good but not great or even superb!  After a while your body doesn’t feel a burn or fatigue, because it isn’t stimulated by the basic sets or reps ratio amount anymore.  This is a big part of muscle building and retention of resistance training, but that same way of thinking can also prevents 90% of people from venturing into more challenging workouts (without a kick in the butt from a trainer of course!).  It also leads them towards natural plateaus and lack of “want” to come or continue doing exercise.  Lets admit it, we do exercise to look good and feel good! If I don’t look good and cannot perform, there is no point anymore! SO YOU HAVE TO CHANGE THINGS UP!

“This is where a BIG problem remains — relying exclusively on traditional, standard sets leaves an enormous amount of muscle growth AND fat-burning potential untapped.”

Sure you’ll stimulate muscle growth for a period of time when you first start out with standard sets and rep ratios, but the body will adapt over time and growth stagnates even if you change your exercises. Moreover, traditional sets aren’t that intense, outside of major anchor lifts like squats, and/or dead-lifts etc. Elite physical athletes are constructed through high intensity and challenge for change — standard sets generally can’t escalate to that level and evolve your muscle.

“Push FORWARD and tweak the way you train. Here are 5 powerful set variations that can toss a wrinkle into your routine, galvanize new results and burst frustrating plateaus, and crank up fat burn to full-blown incineration mode.”

That is why, there are different styles of building workouts to maximize potential; here are some…yet another way to Bust through a plateau!

  1. Super Sets – What is it?

Super sets are a series of two exercises performed in a row without rest.  When doing these for the first time, you may find your endurance/stamina to be a problem.  This is required learning for anyone who wants a killer physique. When you are “supersetting”, there are a variety of options, the most basic set variation and the launching pad for more advanced techniques is:

Complete 1 set of 1 exercise immediately followed by a 2nd set of a different exercise, without rest (and change weight or equipment, if necessary).  You can either superset within the same body part or train a different body part.

Example —

  • Dumbbell Chest Press, 12 reps
  • Dumbbell Flies, 12 reps


 2. Circuit Sets – What is it?

Also known as circuit training, circuit sets are a super set consisting of 3 or more different exercises back to back to back, without rest.

Like supersets, Circuit sets can hit one muscle group, or combine multiple exercises across muscle groups.

Example —

  • Dumbbell Chest Press, 50 lbs, 12 reps
  • Dumbbell Flies, 25 lbs, 12 reps
  • Push Ups, 20 reps


A different way of looking at circuit training sets can be found here

  1. Drop Sets

Drop sets are unique among athletes because they’re concerned purely with cosmetic improvements and not necessarily performance.  They are geared towards increasing muscle size (hypertrophy) without being conducive to strength, power, or speed increased gains.  In fact most athletes want the opposite of bulk!

Completing 2+ sets of the same exercise — without rest — decreasing the weight used in each subsequent set.

Weight on drop sets can decrease by as much as you want from set-to-set, depending on how many mini-sets you do.

Example —

  • Dumbbell Chest Press, 100 lbs, 12 reps
  • Dumbbell Chest Press, 70 lbs, 12 reps
  • Dumbbell Chest Press, 45 lbs, 12 reps
  • Dumbbell Chest Press, 25 lbs, 12 reps

A great link for drop sets can be found  here

  1. Strip Sets

Complete 3+ sets of the same exercise — without rest — increasing the weight used in each subsequent set. This conventionally works best on machines with a weight stack, but it can also work with dumbbells or barbells but  keep in mind that hoarding 10 sets of dumbbells might be a little issue.

After reading a little more about drop sets, athletes use strip sets more commonly because it has a tendency to increase speed and power rather than cosmetics.

Start strip sets with a moderate weight and continuously jump by 10-50% per set, depending on how many mini-sets you do within one strip set. I like to increase until failure at the end of my workout.

Example —

  • Calf Raises, 100 lbs, 15 reps
  • Calf Raises, 125 lbs, 15 reps
  • Calf Raises, 150 lbs, 15 reps
  • Calf Raises, 175 lbs, 15 reps
  • Calf Raises, 250 lbs, 10 reps (reached failure)
  1. Burnout Sets

Complete an exercise using a light weight (less than half the lbs in a normal set) until you literally can’t complete another rep.

Do burnout sets either as a standalone set or as the final set in a super set/circuit set; they’re most effective at the END of a workout.

Example —

  • Dumbbell Chest Press, 50 lbs, 12 reps
  • Dumbbell Chest Press, 20 lbs, 38 reps (to failure)

References: – Supersets – Drop Sets & Circuit Training Variations