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Supersets series EP 1 - Antagonistic muscle pairs

Supersets are when you perform one exercise immediately preceded by another exercise. Why and what exercises should you superset? Calf Raise with Dumbell Row? Torch Press with Leg press? there has got to be a reason for choosing certain exercises and understanding which ones to pair for their desired benefits more applicable to your training and goals.

There's at least 4 different kinds of supersets and each with their own reasons I can think off at the top of my head for pairing different types of exercises together and I don't want to overload you with all the possibilities so firstly let's look at supersetting Antagonistic muscle pairs.

Antagonistic muscle pairs are muscles that work in opposition to each other across a joint, for example in the bicep curl exercise the bicep muscles contract to create elbow flexion so they are the agonist muscles, while they contract the tricep must relax and stretch so it is the antagonist muscle. so Biceps and Triceps are one Antagonistic muscle pair for the elbow joint which you could superset by doing a dumbell curl, cable bicep curl and follow it up with a set of dumbbell kickbacks or tricep extensions to perform the Antagonistic pair superset.

Quadriceps contract to create knee extension at the knee joint and the antagonist muscle Hamstrings contract to create knee flexion at the knee joint so you can join two isolation exercises like Leg extension and Hamstring Curl to perform an antagonistic superset at the knee joint.

Antagonistic supersets can be really effective because you are able to do alot more work in a shorter time training one muscle group and then training another muscle group which is not fatigued from the first set, this way you are maximising the energy you are burning in a short amount of time as well as just getting the workout done and finished to get on with your busy day.

My favourite Antagonistic pairs are combining a push movement with a pull movement, in this video we have the dumbbell floor press matched with the bent over barbell row. In the barbell row we are contracting the Lats, Rhomboids, Posterior Deltoids and Biceps. the antagonist muscles which stretch and relax to allow the contraction of these muscles are Pecs, Anterior Deltoids and Triceps which when we do the floor press they are all the agonist muscles.

I like to use my Dumbbell hooks which suspend from a barbell to easily and safely get into position and finish the set, I can also grab the bar they are suspended on and begin to do bent over barbell rows, I did a Pendlay row variation in this video (the weight is resting on the ground when I start the row) as I increase the weight on the floor press I am increasing the weight for the barbell row as well. Depending on your strength you may be able to do more or less reps because there is the additional 20kg weight of the olympic bar being rower, or I could use a 10kg barbell if I was intending on matching rep for rep each set.

I am sure with this information you can start to make informed decisions on choosing exercises to do supersets and take advantage of the different benefits each superset method has in your own training!

There will be more videos in the future on this series of supersets, sign up to my website as a member for free blog content and notifications.

Take care and train smart.


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