Monday, October 25, 2010

You should do this! Upper/Lower body super sets

If you are looking to get more out of your workout then you should try this! If you want to cut your body fat and change your body composition then you should try this! If you are limited on the time you have in the gym then should try this!

There are numerous benefits of super setting a lower body exercise with a upper body exercise. One, you can go full blast on your upper body and then allow it to rest while your lower body works. This is an extremely effective method. Another benefit is the ability to burn more calories. You will be working the entire body from head to toe, and the more muscles fibers involved in a workout the more calories burned.

The basic set up is for you to pick one upper body exercise and one lower body exercise. I would choose one exercise to be slightly higher reps 10-15 and the other exercise to be slightly lower 8-10 reps. Make sure you hit every aspect of the upper body by working the chest, back, and arms. I would do 2 back exercises for every 1 chest exercise in the workout to improve your back. As far as your lower body exercises try and hit a quad dominant exercise ( a squat form) and a hamstring dominant ( deadlift ) and also some form of lateral work ( lateral step-up, band walks etc ) and that way you stay balanced. Below are some examples of super sets you can use:

Chest press- 8 reps
Split squat-12 reps

4 rounds without rest between sets

Lat pulldown-12 reps
Deadlift-8 reps
sets without rest between sets

Close grip press-8reps
Lateral step-ups-12 reps

3 sets without rest between sets

Row-10 reps
Glute bridges-15 reps

3 sets without rest between sets

Try changing your routine to this style for 6-8 weeks or so and see what changes occur.


  1. Hank,
    I do upper/lower supersets all the time. My staple workouts are
    1) overhead or snatch squats supersetted with pullups and
    2) full deadlifts supersetted with 2 chair pushups.
    I have been doing them no rest lactic acid superset style a la Nick Nilsson.

    My rationale for pairing the exercises thusly is that they are whole body antagonistic movements. push lower (overhead squats) with pull upper (pullups) and pull lower (deadlifts) with push upper (pushups).
    I do them on separate days. So, day 1 I'll do squats and pullups and then do another set of supersets with db curls and alternating jumping lunges after. Day 2 will usually be a rest day, and then day 3 will be a deadlift and pushup workout with a set of french press and heel raise supersets afterward. Day 4 is rest and then back to day 1.

    I stop the set of supersets after I fall through 2 rep floors. So, my rep counts for one of the exercises might go like this:
    17, 8, 7, 6, 5, 5, 5, 4, 4, 4, 4, 4, 3. The first floor was at the 5 rep count and the second floor was at the 4 rep count. I stop the set of supers when both exercises fall through 2 floors. A set of supers can last anywhere from 10 to 20 minutes.

    The upper/lower compound minimal rest supersets really crank up the oxygen debt and the gasping for air. I love these workouts.

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