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This Simple Trick Is Your Key to Better Workouts, Say Experts

Want a more efficient routine? It's time to engage in the age-old bodybuilding tactic of supersets.
FACT CHECKED BY Faye Brennan
pull up

Everyone who is looking to get fitter and stronger–and even lose weight—wants to get the most out of their workouts. Maybe that means changing up your routine, finding fresh ways to boost your intensity, trying workouts that will generate even more fat burn, or simply scheduling your workout during the window of the day in which it will have the biggest impact. According to at least two top trainers we spoke to, there's at least one surefire way you can ensure that you're checking most of those boxes: You should alter your routine so that you're engaging in the age-old bodybuilding trick of performing supersets.

"Doing full-body workouts with supersets as opposed to the classic 'body-part split,' with 'leg days' and 'chest days,' can be very effective for rapid fat loss and body composition change, and it only needs to be performed three times-per-week," says Elliott Upton, a NASM-certified personal trainer at Ultimate Performance and the head of LiveUP Online Coaching. "Supersets training means rest time is reduced during a workout, training intensity is kept high, and you can burn significantly more calories doing it."

When you perform a superset in strength training, you move swiftly from one exercise to another without taking a break in between. A common superset tactic includes doing an exercise that works one muscle group, then immediately jumping to a move that works another muscle group. Another type of superset is to engage in two exercises that hit the same muscle group back-to-back. "Pairing exercises together means your workout should take less time to complete, so it's perfect for work lunch breaks," says Upton. "Many of our personal training clients are leading businesspeople and CEOs who don't have hours to train."

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Science has proven that supersets are effective. One study published in the European Journal of Applied Physiology found that supersets can indeed "enhance training efficiency and reduce training time." However, given the intensity of supersets, the researchers note that it would behoove you to add in some "additional recovery post-training to minimize the effects of fatigue."

Upton isn't the only trainer preaching the merits of the superset. James de Lacey, a Master of Sport & Exercise Science from New Zealand who has worked as a professional strength and conditioning coach for several top-level rugby teams across the world, advises you to utilize the ground when performing supersets, and usually by performing burpees. "By having to get down and up from the ground between every exercise, your heart rate increases further than if you performed all standing or all ground-based exercises," he says. "That's one of the reasons why the burpee is so difficult: You have to get down on the ground and get back up over and over again."

We asked Lacey for a great superset routine you can perform at home using only your body weight, which you'll find below. So read on, and consider giving it a go. And for more great workout advice, make sure you're up-to-speed on The Single Most Effective Way to Work Out Every Day, Say Psychologists.

1

Squats

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Stand with your arms extended forward; then squat. Pause and rise. Perform 10 reps.

For more great workouts you should try, be sure to read about the Crazy-Popular Walking Workout That's Taken TikTok By Storm!

2

Pushups

man step pushups
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Assume a pushup position, with hands just wider than your shoulders and your body forming a straight line down your back and to your heels. Tighten your core and lower down until your elbows are 90 degrees, then push back up. Perform 10 pushups.

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3

Pull-ups

pull up
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Grab a pullup bar with your hands situated just wider than your shoulders. Hang until your arms are at full extension. Pull yourself up so that your chin comes above the bar. Perform 5 pull-ups total.

4

Planks

Man planking
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Assume a plank position by resting on your forearms while keeping the rest of your body elevated and straight. Tighten your glutes and abs and hold this position for 30 seconds.

For more great exercise advice, don't miss The Real Number of Steps You Should Be Walking Every Day, Say Experts.

William Mayle
William Mayle is a UK-based writer who specializes in science, health, fitness, and other lifestyle topics. Read more
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