There is a special place in my heart for antagonistic supersets as they’re the first workout “hack” that I ever learned.
In fact, I’ve been doing antagonistic supersets before I even knew what they were.
When I first bought a weight bench for my apartment when I graduated college it just didn’t make sense to me to do three consecutive sets of bench pressing followed by three consecutive sets of bicep work.
It just felt like I was spending most of my time standing around waiting for my muscles to recover so I could do another set.
But if I followed a set of bench pressing with a set that targeted my biceps I could go quickly since I was targeting different muscle groups.
I didn’t have to spend as much time standing around that way.
Little did I know that what I was doing had many more benefits to it than just saving me time and that there were much more efficient ways for me to go about doing it that could maximize my gains.
In this article I’m going to explain exactly what antagonistic supersets are and how they can help you to improve your fitness while also saving you time.
What Are Antagonistic Supersets?
Before I explain I think it’s better to talk about the standard way of lifting weights.
Usually when you hear people talk about lifting weights they are talking about doing one set of a particular exercise then waiting anywhere from 2 to 5 minutes before repeating that same exercise.
After they’ve targeted that particular muscle group enough they then move on to doing the same thing with a different exercise.
They then repeat this process until they’ve finished their whole routine.
Antagonistic supersets, however, have you mixing different exercises together.
These two exercises also have to focus on not only different muscle groups but also opposing muscle groups or movements.
By opposing I mean mixing an exercise that targets your chest with an exercise that targets your back.
An example of this would be doing one set of rows followed by one set of bench pressing followed by another set of rows followed by another set of bench pressing…
And on and on until you’ve done the number of desired sets for each exercise.
Another example would be following a pulling exercise, such as pull-ups, with a pushing exercise, such as the shoulder press.
You just want to make sure that the exercises you’re mixing together focus on different muscle groups and ideally are opposing each other for maximum benefit.
3 Benefits Of Antagonistic Supersets:
1) They Increase Cardiovascular Endurance Without Sacrificing Muscle And Strength Gains
One of the biggest benefits to doing supersets is that you’re increasing your cardiovascular workload while you’re lifting.
Not only are you getting the same benefits of a regular weight lifting routine but you’re also gaining better cardiovascular health at the same time.
The reason for this is that instead of letting your heart rate fall back down during the few minutes you’re putting between sets you’re jumping right into the next heavy lift after less than half a minute.
When you exercise in this manner your heart rate stays elevated for longer and stays at a higher rate throughout your workout.
This not only helps you to burn more calories but also to stay in better over-all health.
2) They Save You Time
The reason that I first started doing antagonistic supersets is still one of the best.
They save you a huge amount of time!
In fact, you can basically cut the amount of time in half that you would usually need to perform a full resistance training routine.
By just bundling all of your exercises into antagonistic supersets you can both get a better workout and get it done in even less time that it would usually take you.
Who wouldn’t want to do that?
3) They Increase Blood Flow To The Opposing Muscle Group
Now, that may sound a little strange at first but just hear me out.
When you finish doing a set of pushing exercises you’ve just drastically increased the quantity of blood flowing into that area of the body.
And not just the muscles in your chest, triceps, and shoulders but into the opposing muscles in your back as well.
The reason that this is a good thing is that it means those muscles in your back are just primed to go!
By immediately following your bench press with some pull ups for your back you’re increasing your body’s ability to do more work and perform better when doing that exercise.
The same goes in reverse if you do it the other way around.
If you do a set of pull-ups that focus on your back and biceps then your body is now primed to do some major pushing in the opposite direction.
By exercising in this manner you are allowing your muscles to operate at peak efficiency and therefore get more work done.
Maybe that’s why “the Governator” loved them so much…
Antagonistic supersets are one of the best ways I know to save time, increase cardiovascular health, and pump your muscles even harder when doing your resistance training.
As long as you are being careful to pair exercises which don’t target the same muscle groups you can see some incredible benefits from supersets.
Go ahead and pair up some exercises today and see how it feels!
Until next time; stay strong, healthy, and happy!