Back to Back Supersets For Opposing Muscle Groups

Today we have another way to use a superset technique to ramp up your intensity and introduce variety into your training – “Back to back supersets”. No, that doesn’t mean that you train you back or lats twice; what this means is that you use superset to train opposing muscle groups at the same training session.

Pros: You would get the “thickness” effect since you would be training opposing muscle parts at the same time therefore they would develop together – which would also avoid imbalance between them. Other general benefits are indicated below.

thickness with back to back supersets

Cons: Training two major muscle groups in one day.

Now just an FYI, superset means performing another set of another exercise after doing a set of another. For example doing barbell bench press for 10 reps after doing dumbbell flyes for 10 reps (without rest) note: “flyes-press” combo is actually an example of the “pre exhaust” technique for chest.

What is good about back to back training, and any other method that involves supersets or giant sets (doing more than 2 exercises consecutively within one superset) is that it tends to shorten your time in the gym; which means that you would have more time left to do some other stuff (hopefully important things). Like for example when I was in college some of our classes are scheduled for like 3 hours apart therefore not only do I go to lunch by then but I actually made it a point to utilize that free time to lift and at least visit the gym. HIT techniques such as this one and drop sets (and of course the 30minutes killer workout) really do come in handy at these times since it really cuts the time from going in and out of the gym – therefore I had more time for recuperation, rest and to do some other stuff before the next class like reviewing some lectures and finishing some homework.

Another advantage of using supersets is its cardiovascular effect. Since supersets are performed without rest you would notice that it taxes your cardiovascular system big time. Supersets therefore must be used more often by people who are trying to lose weight since it uses up more calories than a regular workout.

Now how does the “Back to Back” superset work? Basically you would plan a workout wherein you would train two back to back or opposing muscle groups at the same set- read more about opposing muscle groups in this post.

So for example instead of doing chest and back at separate days, since they are opposing muscles you’d do them at the same time and not only that; you would also do their exercises in a superset so it would look like this:

Bench press – superset with – Bent over barbell rows 4 sets

Incline dumbbell press – superset with – wide grip cable pull downs 3 sets

Dumbbell flyes – superset with – Pull-overs 4 sets (perfect since pullovers are actually for the back but they are beneficial for the chest as well)

Note: try to be creative and actually design supersets that would utilize the same equipment for the superset, for example barbell curls and close-grip press for a biceps-triceps B2B superset. Check out the moves in our basic training regimen.  You should refer to those exercises but do them in this fashion wherein you would superset the opposing with every exercise.

Some convenient examples:

Bench press (any angle) – Bent over barbell rows

Squats/lunges – Good mornings

In some equipments; you can do both leg extensions and hamstring curls (or lying leg curls)

Bicep curls – Skull crushers

Cable to cable workouts (ex: Cable curls – cable kickbacks or cable overhead triceps extensions)

And basically any dumbbell to dumbbell supersets

One thing: shoulders don’t have a counterpart so just train them with biceps and triceps. These are the body parts that you can train in this manner: Chest-Back, Lower back-Abs, Biceps-Triceps, and Quadriceps-Hamstrings.

What’s on your mind: Has anyone of you ever used this method? If so what was your experience? What can you say about super set methods? Can you share with our dear readers any other great super set combos that you find effective? Eat your eggs, people!

A-Lifter- Don't forget to leave your comment/feedback below.  If this article was helpful, I am sure our book Real Talk Muscle will help you even more in your quest for muscle gain. Check it out you can read the first few chapters as well.
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9 thoughts on “Back to Back Supersets For Opposing Muscle Groups

    1. It is going to tax your cardiovascular system and will use up your glycogen levels. But eventually you’ll get use to it. you would only need to use this for about a month, then switch back to training back and chest in separate days

      1. Hey I love this post. So its bad to stick to a superset style of work out for the long run.
        I play a lot of soccer, I kinda feel that the bodybuilding split is detrimental to my sport but I love to lift. I was told to squat no more than 135. What are your thoughts thanks ..

        1. I am no soccer expert, but there are many lifting regimens that support athletes.

          Check out our “explosive movement” regimen – they are taylormade for athletes.

          This is the post on the difference between training for athletic performance and lifting for aesthetic muscle gains.

          By the way, I dont think squatting more that 135 will be too detrimental. Most athletes I see can squat more than 200 pounds and it seems to only make them better. Just remeber to do it with “explosive” motion in mind. You dont need very slow descent like what a bodybuilder would do.

          And keep in mind that “to become fast, you first need to become strong”.

          I mean, have you seen the guy who is 5 foot 5 and can do slam dunks on Youtube? He’s buff I am sure he squats a lot! And everyone can see that he is doing well in his sport. But off course I have 0 experience with football (if you mean soccer). I think you need more endurance there than speed, dont you?

          Anyways IMO if you love to lift, JUST LIFT!! Whatever poundage you like! Just dont tell your coach! 😉

          1. IRON THUMB!! ,
            Thanks for replying. I read the articles you have posted for me to read and I did learn from them, but I got different experiences when doing them. I feel that when I try to lift heavy I get to bulky and I’m not as able to run as fast as I can. I do 90% of my training at home since I invested in adjustable dumbbells. Each goes from 5lbs to 85lbs. I’m a college student and work at the same times thats why I had to invest in them. But I’ll stop ranting.

            I’ll change up my routine and do them more explosive like you said and no slow descending at all. I looking to do a modified 5×5 something like 8×10-12?? using compound lifts .. Dumbbell dead lift… bent over rows.. dumbbell squeeze press ( what are your thoughts on this exercise “dumbbell squeeze press”) military press. Football “soccer” does require the most endurance of all sports. I wished I remembered where I found this post stating ” the more muscle you have the harder it is to run”. Basically if you carry a ton of muscle your heart has to pump more to those muscles and might be detrimental for endurance athletes because. Also a endurance athletes hearts if I’m correct bigger than a strength athlete.

            Since we sparked a conversation I would like to know your take on macros and calories. I’m also like every other guy out there trying to get shredded and have abs. I use to follow that myth of 1gramProteinLBofbodyweight but I felt thats way to much. Currently I’m doing from what I have learned from all my college course of 1.2 to 1.7grams per kilo gram or .5to .8 per lb.

            Thanks for your reply and thanks for your time. You have really great posts! keep it going. Im going to donate ! Help me spread the word its Football not “soccer” LMFAO.

          2. HAHAHA yes football indeed!!

            About those Dumbbell exercises you mentioned – they aren’t bad, but as an athlete, I suggest you do more “functional” stuff like barbell lifts. Instead of dumbbell deadlifts, just do barbells; instead of dumbell shoulder press – just do the barbell versions (clean and press is the best for athletes). If you know someone who can coach you on olympic lifts, that would be the best.

            YEs taken, the more muscles you have the harder it is to run but it all boils down on “the way you train”

            Karate and martial arts have the same priciple in fighting “the way you train is the way you react” – thus if you train like a bodybuilder to build muscle, you can rest assured that you will not be that optimal for running.

            but if you train and lift weights as supplemental to sports performance it is inevitable to have muscle size gain as a response.

            Indeed it will be hard to run at first especially if you’re still new to your lifting regimen (expect soreness to kick in and affect his performance somewhat).

            That is why I highly recommend power lifting like 5X5 and weight training to be taken seriously in the “off season”. give it some time and you will adapt to your mass. Muscle mass is also not as heavy as you think so the reduction in running capacity would most likely be your CNS tiring out temporarily from weight training or simply the effect of post training soreness. I recommend minimal weight training “in season” therefore and focus on the “skill” part of the sport. Conditioning should be done “off season” to avoid hindering game performance. Make sure that you give yourself enough protein supplementation to maximize recovery. Turmeric has been shown by research as well to aid in recovery and muscle repair. you can find some turmeric capsules in some stores, its good.

            MACROS and CALORIES:

            To be honest I really don’t apply “counting” calories. But what I recommend if you want to be “shredded” ASAP. Apply the “meat and eggs” only diet; f you are gonna eat carbs, make sure they come in form of green leafy veggies. No bread, no pasta etc. Do this for at least a month.Take note: you should not avoid animal fat in this diet. Animal fat is vital.

            Hope that helps!! And Don’t worry, Im gonna keep them comming!!

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