combining sets of different exercises

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ernstlenzer
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combining sets of different exercises

Post by ernstlenzer » Tue Feb 15, 2011 2:07 pm

I wonder if it's OK to combine sets of different exercises. For example I do bench presses with 2 minute breaks in between. It seems pointless to just sit there, so I normally do for example pull ups during the break, because it uses different muscles.

Is combining sets like that a bad idea for some reason, or is it OK as long as the exercises target different muscles?


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stuward
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Post by stuward » Tue Feb 15, 2011 2:19 pm

That's called supersetting. It's a viable way to make your workout more efficient.

ernstlenzer
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Post by ernstlenzer » Tue Feb 15, 2011 2:30 pm

Ah thanks, that word gives a lot of search results. Seems to be a pretty good idea according to most opinions.

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Post by wilburburns » Tue Feb 15, 2011 3:23 pm

What are your Goals? I don't think I've seen you post those yet.

Supersetting certain lifts and movements is good, but may not provide the best benefit for your overall goal.

Cliff

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Post by Oscar_Actuary » Tue Feb 15, 2011 5:21 pm

I want to get stronger, basic strength building, and lose fat - I'm obese and weak.
I am gradually incorporating accessory lifts between major lift sets. To keep heart going and hit that bicepkt or calf or lateral delts, etc...

/hijack


For who would it not be good ?


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Post by ernstlenzer » Tue Feb 15, 2011 6:40 pm

@wilburburns:

Yeah I didn't post much yet, opened my first thread yesterday. I used to ask the trainer in the gym everything, but it seems more and more to me like it doesn't take much qualification to become a trainer.

My goal is (lean) mass gain, when I started I weighed 55kg and that just doesn't look very nice on a guy. Now I'm up to 65kg and like it much better, but I just keep going and see how far I can get.

You say supersetting may not provide the best benefit for my goal. How do you think can supersetting be hindering someone's goal? If you mix two exercises that target different muscles I don't see how it could harm, the muscles should still be able to recover the same way as you don't need them for the other exercise.

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Post by Immortal » Tue Feb 15, 2011 8:03 pm

thats a very good way to workout. Perfect back, biceps, chest, and triceps workout in 2 minutes when you combine bench press with pull ups. Good job man, keep up the work

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Post by hoosegow » Tue Feb 15, 2011 8:08 pm

ernstlenzer wrote:@wilburburns:

You say supersetting may not provide the best benefit for my goal. How do you think can supersetting be hindering someone's goal? If you mix two exercises that target different muscles I don't see how it could harm, the muscles should still be able to recover the same way as you don't need them for the other exercise.
Some of these smarter guys will be able to explain it better, but it comes down to energy availability. You need time to recover, not just the muscles, but the available energy/oxygen. For what you are talking about, I wouldn't sweat it.

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Post by GTO » Tue Feb 15, 2011 9:10 pm

Speaking just for myself, I wouldn't super-set any of the big 4 lifts, Bench overhead press, squat, or deads. I use way to much energy on those, and 2 minutes to recover between bench presses seems short to me. I take my time on those.

Any accessory lift I think its fine, I usually time 90 seconds between lifts.

I think if I tried to super-set squats with anything else, I would throw up, pass out and choke on my own vomit.

I just thought I'd throw in my 2 cents.

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Re: combining sets of different exercises

Post by Ironman » Wed Feb 16, 2011 3:51 am

ernstlenzer wrote:I wonder if it's OK to combine sets of different exercises. For example I do bench presses with 2 minute breaks in between. It seems pointless to just sit there, so I normally do for example pull ups during the break, because it uses different muscles.

Is combining sets like that a bad idea for some reason, or is it OK as long as the exercises target different muscles?
Sure that works great. There are different things to keep in mind though. You still need to rest between sets. You can rest less, but you still have to do it.

This doesn't work well for high intensity failure training. This is a much better option for stopping short of failure and working on doing more volume.

Antagonistic (opposing muscles) are good to pair up, like bench and rows maybe. A big lift and a small one are good too, like squats and calf raises. You can even mix upper and lower body. Like squat and bench press. Just remember, don't mix deadlift variations with rowing because you are using some of the same muscles.

So maybe you mix bench and rows, then you mix inclines and chin ups, then squat and calf raise, and finally deadlift and a few upper body isolation sets. That's a real solid way to use that technique in a full body workout.


Keep in mind this sort of thing is completely beyond the comprehension of most people at the gym. So keep an eye on your stuff. Some people will start stripping your weight off without a second thought. It's the same perils as going to the water fountain.

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Post by wilburburns » Wed Feb 16, 2011 8:10 am

Hoose basically answerred as I would.

Supersetting your main lifts is not a great way to workout if you were going for pure strength gains. As was stated, you need time to recover between sets and that's what the rest is for.

Given your goal of increasing lean mass, it can be fine and Ironman gave some great examples of how to mix it up.

With my current routine, it's basically like this.
Main HEAVY lift -IE Bench Press
Accessory work -lighter Higher Rep BP, Some Form of Row or Pullup

I may Superset the Accessory work, but never the main lift.

I see a couple of advantages for increasing metabolism and fat burning with supersetting as it keeps your heart rate up a bit longer and if done on specific intervals, becomes it's own HIIT workout.

The other advantage is as you have mentioned, you can shorten your time in the gym.

Cliff

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Post by Jungledoc » Wed Feb 16, 2011 9:30 am

You can do them is several ways:

You can do unrelated lifts just to save time (some people call this "intersetting" rather than "supersetting"), e.g., pull-ups/calf raises.

You can do antagonistic lifts, e.g. pull-ups/push-ups.

You can hit the same muscles more than one way (body-builders seem to do this a lot), e.g., skull crushers/triceps push-downs.

You can do what is called "pre-fatiguing"--do an isolation lift that hits a muscle that is also hit by a compound lift, to try to "wear it out" faster, so that is is (supposedly) affected more by the compound lift. "Post-fatiguing" is the same idea, except doing the isolation lift after the compound. Bench press/skull crushers (or the other way around) would be an example. I don't really see the value of this, but maybe others do.

I've also seen the term "tri-setting" for three lifts done in rotation. That might be a simple circuit, though.

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Post by stuward » Wed Feb 16, 2011 9:37 am

Tri-setting is sometimes call giant sets. Fred Hatfield uses that term. Typically, he'll recommend Back Squats > Leg Press > body weight squats. Then repeat. That would be done once a month.

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Post by Oscar_Actuary » Wed Feb 16, 2011 3:45 pm

doc,

Maybe if you were tricep dominate on BP, you could benefit from pre-fatguing the tricep and the chest would then be called on to do more work, for the bench press?

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Post by robertscott » Wed Feb 16, 2011 6:22 pm

Oscar_Actuary wrote:doc,

Maybe if you were tricep dominate on BP, you could benefit from pre-fatguing the tricep and the chest would then be called on to do more work, for the bench press?
doesn't really work like that as I understand it, if you pre-fatigue the tri's then they actually get worked more. For the example you described you would be better doing flyes.


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