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Ask The Trainer:"The benefits of Supersets and Drop sets?"

May 21, 2019

Christian Agudelo, ACSM - CPT

The benefits of supersets are that they save time by reducing the rest interval between two exercises.

Shortening the rest period between sets will increase intensity by performing more work in less time. Supersets also allow you to increase the intensity of your workout by overloading a muscle.

The reason why drop sets work is that in any given set you are only recruiting a certain amount of muscle fibers. By then stripping the weight down and going lighter you recruit different muscle fibers, which should help the muscles achieve growth that couldn't be achieved by sticking with the same weight.

Earvin Bahena, NSCA - CSCS

Varying exercise sets and intensity are great for getting through the workout plateau some get after working out for a while. Super sets and drop sets are some ways in which you challenge yourself while working out. A super set is a combination of two exercises that are performed in a back to back manner with no rest in between. You can use this method to either train the same muscle groups for continuous sets or hit two opposing muscles. Examples include Lat Pulldowns and Bent Over Rows or Deadlifts and Squats.

A drop set is a technique used when you are unable to do more reps at a certain weight and therefor you drop the weight to continue to do more reps until you hit failure. The idea behind this is you continue to get reps and muscle growth without compromising your form.

Spencer O'Neil, NASM- CPT

Supersets can be used in a couple different ways to continuously increase the intensity of the workout. One way to use supersets is to do two exercises for the same muscle group back to back to amplify the intensity and to really get those muscles burning. Another way to implement supersets is to do back to back exercises using opposing muscles groups. A great example of this is doing a push/pull complex. I like doing various chests presses coupled with a pull down or row to kill two birds with one stone. Dropsets are another great way to finish workouts because of the continual work of the muscle fibers required. Because you are continuously doing the same exercise and only dropping weight after failure it keeps the intensity high. This overload of the target muscle groups is a great way to force the burn and finish them off. Dropsets aren’t ideal for every exercise. I prefer using cables when doing drop sets because it is easier to strip the weight and keep a good flow to the exercise.

Nikki Davis, ACE

Supersets provide you the benefit of choosing exercises that strengthen opposing muscles, so that more work can be done in a shorter duration. It minimizes fatigue from setting in as quickly because rest is provided to one muscle group such as in the quads after a set of squats while immediately performing an RDL for the hamstrings or a Lat pulldown for the back. In addition, because rest is sneaked in while performing an opposing exercise, the time period of rest after performing those two exercises is generally shortened anywhere from 30-90 seconds.

Dropsets are useful for recruiting all fibers of a particular muscle being exercised, and is typically utilized to create greater hypertrophy or muscular growth. It should be completed during your last set of an exercise because it is very fatiguing and it is done by reducing the weight and completing the greatest number of reputations until failure. It is not recommended for individuals new to exercise because the quantity and weight of repetitions may cause DOMS delayed onset muscular soreness.


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