Are you a gym enthusiast who sticks to your workout routine? If so, then you know how difficult it is to stay consistent. Most trainers will assign you to a certain number of workouts and do a few sets of each. As you improve, you may increase the number of sets.
However, being consistent can be difficult if you are not a gym rat.
Many people find it challenging to stick to a specific routine.
One day you might have all the time in the world and feel like doing more than usual.
Other days you may not have enough time to complete your regular sets.
So, what should you do if you don’t have enough time to complete your workouts according to your trainer’s instructions?
Should you skip the workout altogether?
Or should you increase the number of reps in a single set and do fewer sets?
One way that people try to go around this issue is to do supersets…
These allow you to complete a regular workout much faster without having to compromise on the number of sets or reps.
Before you decide to do this too, first look at the advantages and disadvantages of supersets and then decide for yourself.
What are Supersets?
A superset is a set of workouts that combine two or more standard sets.
For example, you might combine dumbbell curls with a set of squats.
There are two types of supersets.
The first type involves combining two sets that target the same muscle. This is commonly done by people who target different body parts each day.
For example, if you are working out your arms on a specific day, you will only do arm workouts. Within these workouts, you may do different variations of exercises.
For example, one set may include barbell curls, and the other may consist of dumbbell curls.
Both are exercises that predominantly target the arm. When you combine these two sets without any rest in between, then it is a superset.
The second type of superset may be similar to a cross-training workout.
For example, you may do a set of arm exercises like dumbbell curls and combine it with a set of leg workouts such as barbell curls.
However, instead of having a regular gap between these sets, you may combine them. This is also known as a superset.
Supersets are great for saving time and will help you complete more exercises much faster. Some people also claim that it can help enhance your strength. So, are you still wondering why supersets are bad?
Read on to find out as we’ll be covering both the advantages and disadvantages of supersets.
Advantages of Supersets
If you are ready and want to do a few supersets once in a while, there is no harm in that. Occasionally changing your routine for a workout or two is beneficial. However, once it becomes a habit, then you should be careful.
Here are some of the advantages of supersets:
- They help save time
When it comes to time, most people are ready to compromise their workouts. If your trainer assigned you to do a few reps of different exercises with some rest in between, then doing a superset can help if you don’t have much time.
Regardless of whether you are combining sets of the same area or are targeting different body parts, you’ll still save time.
If you are in a hurry (which you always are!), doing supersets may be the key to finishing your workouts much faster. For most people, this is the only thing that they look at.
- Supersets may help increase strength
Another possible advantage of doing supersets is that they may help improve your strength. For example, if you exert more effort with different workouts without any rest, your muscles should get stronger.
After all, the more pressure you exert on your muscles, the stronger they will become.
While many other variables work to improve strength, doing supersets can help improve your strength.
If you have the strength to do a superset, then why not do it anyway?
- Supersets can help you balance out your workouts
Suppose you are doing supersets by combining two sets that target different body parts.
In that case, you’ll be targeting your whole body. Having a more balanced workout routine will help you get in shape much faster. Your strength and resilience will also improve.
Imagine you are already tired from doing an arm set, and you immediately do a set of leg exercises. This requires more concentration and more physical exertion.
Disadvantages of Supersets
If supersets were good for you, your trainer would have recommended them. However, very few trainers will recommend doing supersets because of the adverse effects. They can damage your muscles, cause fatigue and cause more harm than good.
Here are some reasons why supersets are bad for you:
- They increase the chance of injury
There is a reason why most people rest between the sets, and that’s to give your muscles more time to recover and for the muscle glycogen levels to repair.
Doing a superset with sets from unrelated workouts has negatives, but doing it with related exercises is worse.
For example, if you combine bicep curls with tricep curls, you’ll exert unnecessary pressure on the arm muscles.
This can increase your chances of getting injured. When you give your body enough time to rest, it won’t exert too much pressure. This translates to less chance of injury.
- They are less effective
The notion that supersets are great for strength building is wrong. While they may help you develop muscles, they won’t have the desired effect as a regular workout session.
Giving your body ample time to rest between sessions allows the tissues and muscles to repair, giving you more gains.
If you think that supersets are a great way to gain muscle quickly, then think again. You might end up in a worse position than if you did fewer sets!
- Your technique may be affected
Have you ever noticed that as you get tired, your body starts compensating?
You may start using the wrong technique, and your otherwise perfect confidence may be reduced.
Doing supersets may only cause you to lose your good practice, resulting in less effective workouts.
For example, if you’ve done a set of squats and you try to do leg presses along with it, your legs will falter. You’ll start using the wrong technique, which may increase fatigue and the likelihood of injury.
- You’ll get more fatigued.
Fatigue is something that you want to avoid at all costs when working out. When fatigued, your muscles don’t work as effectively, leading to a loss of function. You may feel great one day, and then you’ll be out for the next week.
Studies have shown that people who do more reps are less likely to experience fatigue. People who do more reps and fewer sets will gain a similar amount of muscle mass but take longer to recover. The amount of muscle growth is equal in both cases.
Speeding things up often does more harm than good as your body needs time to recover between workouts.
Supersets often cause more fatigue and may even result in muscle loss! So, if you think that doing a superset is a great way to gain muscle fast, then think again!
Should you do supersets?
Ok, there are some advantages and disadvantages of supersets. This leads to the question: should beginners do supersets? Or should they even be done by pros?
They can be done, but only under certain circumstances. For example, you should never do a superset of workouts that target the same area. You can target different areas in a superset, and this would be more like cross-training.
You can do most of your workout in regular sets and then do a superset, in the end, to finish off. If you wonder how many supersets in an activity are enough, don’t go for more than 2.
Are supersets bad for muscle growth?
If you are wondering: “Are supersets good for bulking?” then the answer is no. In the short term, supersets may be beneficial for gaining muscle mass, but not in the long run. They will only cause fatigue, resulting in a loss of workout days.
Is it reasonable to do supersets?
If you want to tire yourself out, then yes. If you’re going to improve consistently, then avoid doing too many supersets.
Are supersets pointless?
Supersets are not pointless as they may help you save time. However, it would be best if you didn’t make it a habit as this is where it becomes harmful.
What are the pros and cons of supersets?
The pros of doing supersets include more time saving, improved workout capacity, and more balanced workouts. Cons include more fatigue, more chance of injury, and poor technique. In this regard, the cons outweigh the pros, so avoid doing supersets.
Are supersets good for weight loss?
Supersets can help you lose weight, but it’s not as good as cardio and other forms of exercise.