Wednesday, February 1, 2012

Super Sets and Tri Sets: The Basics of Using Them to Boost Your Workout by James Druman

Both super sets and tri sets are high intensity forms of strength training. These are not beginner workouts, but more intermediate to advanced work. If you think you are ready, they will really bring your workout up to the next level and provide a great tool to use when you are in a hurry and don't want to lose the intensity.

Hitting a plateau can be a really devastating when strength training. Your body just won't gain any size or strength no matter what you do. One way to elevate the intensity is by shocking your body with really intense work, and this is where super and tri sets shine—the added strain from these can cause your body to snap out of a plateau and start some serious gains again.

Super setting is basically a workout technique in which you perform two exercises one after the other with no rest in-between and generally very little rest in between the actual sets. Tri Sets are very similar, except a third exercise is done after the second. Tri Sets are very advanced and should not be attempted by beginners.

There are two general types of these workouts. You can either work the same muscle group during the super setting (ex. Bench Press followed by Cable Fly) or you can switch muscle groups (ex. Bench Press followed by Deadlifts). In addition, Tri Sets are more advanced and generally utilize the same muscle groups to perform all of the exercises.

Here are some example workout sequences if you think you're ready for this kind of workout. I personally like super sets that work the same muscle group, so with each exercise I'll give an alternative to change it to a tri set if you would like.

Chest - Dumbbell Flys / Dumbbell Press / Chest Dips (Add for Tri)

Back - Seated Cable Row / Wide Grip Pull Down or chin-ups / Underhand Pull Down (add for Tri)

Shoulders - Military Press /Upright Row / Lat Raises (add for Tri)

Legs - Squats / Deadlifts / Lunges (add for Tri)

Also, I really like to do compound movement exercises as I think they are the best. It is often not possible to do compound movements for super sets on your biceps and triceps, so if you have to add isolation exercises here please feel free.

If you're not familiar with them, compound movements take all the small muscle groups into account and work three or more of them at same time or in conjunction with each other. They really increase the quality of any workout and ensure that you are really building muscle. It is a very important concept to understand (but one that goes a little out of this article's scope) that to truly get a lean muscular body you must first get strong, and the only way to truly get strong is doing intense compound exercise movement.

Adding supersets and tri sets to the mix is a way to boost the intensity and rocket through any training plateaus that you may hit. Try them today, you won't be upset. But you may be a little sore!