Arnold did them. So did other iconic bodybuilders, such as Frank Zane, and movie stars like Hugh Jackman. Supersets—two exercises performed back-to-back without rest in between—have long been a staple of stellar workout routines. Now a study in the Journal of Strength & Conditioning Research backs up the strategy, confirming that supersets are one of the most efficient ways to get serious gains because they allow you to work your muscles harder and lift more weight in less time.
The study focused on 15 men who did the same exercises—bench presses and seated rows—as both regular sets and supersets (no rest between exercises). Result: When they supersetted, they benched about 10% more and rowed 23% more weight.
To blast your own routine off the ground, Men’s Fitness training director Sean Hyson recommends supersets that use opposing muscle groups, like chest and back (bench press/cable row), shoulders and back (overhead press/pullup), and bi’s and tri’s (dumbbell curl/triceps pushdown), doing three sets of 8–12 reps.