Fitness Blog – Why Compound Supersets?


Firstly may I state again that I prefer that most of my clients do circuits, but it is their body and they need to have a say in the type of program they want to do. If they want a more body building-type program then I push them to do  the Compound Supersets System. Secondly, if you or your clients live within a ‘sea of pain’, I suggest it is the type of program you are doing and that I challenge you to do circuits for six weeks and most of that pain I’ll disappear!

Most people get confused with Compound Supersets as compared with the Body Building Supersets. In this second type of Superset, you do two exercises consecutively (without rest between) working the same muscle group. Each exercise may work the same muscle group, but in different speed or angle or in a different way (the first exercise working the muscle group in a general way, the second in an isolated fashion).

With a Compound Superset, you work opposing muscle groups, again with no rest between the exercises and you work all muscles of a segment of the body in a more general way. So examples of this to define what I mean would be that you would do a pushing movement followed by a pulling movement; or the front of the torso followed by the back of the torso; or the front of the thigh followed by the back of the thigh (or the opposite way around). Examples of the types of exercises you may use would be a Bench Press followed by a Bent Over Row (a classic example); or a Chin Up followed by an Arnie Dumbbell Press; or a Pistol Squat followed by a Hip/Thigh Extension exercise. These exercises work the muscle groups in a general way, rather than isolating specific muscle groups (which is near impossible anyway?)

The advantage of working the body in this fashion is that you exercise more muscle groups at once. Of course this is more natural way but it also cuts down the time it takes to exercise, which increases the intensity of the workout. This is because there needs to be more energy expenditure per unit of time. Therefore there is more crossover of energy systems used for many sports?

You need to rest between each Compound Superset, you can use more resistance with each exercise as compared with circuits but not as much resistance as you would working through individual exercises. So the Compound Superset system is an intermediary system between these two other systems. What system you use would depend upon what you want from the program?

Now, remember my challenge if you do have a lot of particularly joint pain – because this type of pain is your body telling you that it doesn’t like what you are doing to it. So reassess what you want from the program. Your choice?

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