Hi, welcome to McPump, can I help you?
Yes, I’d like a little more endurance, maybe some weight loss, and can I add an order of strength to that?
Of course. Would you like to Superset that?
Kick around a gym long enough, and you’ll still never learn everything. There are guys and gals in lab coats with advanced degrees that push the boundaries of the alphabet with their titles, and still, the human body and how it works is a mystery. Here we come, guys and gals who just like to come to the gym to feel good about ourselves, look a little better, and place our bets on living a life of more durable resilience. We don’t make groundbreaking discoveries in human anatomy, biology, and physiology. That’s for the lab coat pack, yeah?
Kick around a gym long enough and you start to notice things. You start to see patterns of what works and what doesn’t work. Kick around a gym long enough and you start to make groundbreaking discoveries . . . Wait, aren’t those for our lab coated friends whose degrees post an impressive word count in standard text documents?
Dummy me, for all the time I spend at the gym, for all the smarts I’m falsely accused of having, spent way too much time narrowly thinking Supersets. Sure, they’re great! You hit one muscle group with as much force as you an throw at it, then cheat on it with an opposing muscle group, giving the first one a rest before coming back to it. Rinse, repeat, rinse, repeat . . . okay, we all get it.
In a slight breach of etiquette, I was thinking of Supersets in terms of Opposing Muscle Group Supersets. Yes, these are in fact Supersets, but oh, there’s oh so much more to Supersets, as this boisterous grasshopper recently learned through dumb luck and a propensity for change.
What I “discovered” were Same Muscle Group Supersets. Sounds simple, doesn’t it? Sheez, if this guy is half as smart as we foolishly thought, why didn’t he make this groundbreaking “discovery” sooner? Maybe we should just call him Columbus . . . Sorry, I need to avoid history bashing on here.
Same Group Muscle Supersets are exactly what you think they are, but not quite. Let’s take Bicep Curls for example. We all know that one, yeah? Even though the biceps are two different muscles, we tend to think of them collectively, matrimoniously even, as the Bicep, aka the single top of the arm muscle. The one you instinctively flex when someone says, Let me see your muscles. Pick up a bar, preferably one with a little extra weight on it, stand, face the mirror, curl the arm towards you, repeat. There . . . wait . . . why isn’t my bicep growing? I hit it often enough, but it just kind of sits there, looking at me blankly like it did yesterday. What gives?
Maybe you don’t like the bar. Maybe you like dumbbells. You know, isolating the Bicep so that each arm has to work just as hard to get the weight to come to you you, rather than always relying on your stronger arm to do most of the work? This isn’t communism. That doesn’t quite work the way you want it to work. Really, truly, and genuinely, if you want your biceps to grow, there are a lot of different angles and options you need to consider. You don’t have to consider all of the options every single time, but mixing up your punch combinations keep your biceps on your toes and keep them interested in growth.
Most of you, if you’ve made it this far, are probably stuck in a monosyllabic loop, Duh! I’m no stranger to the variety of available exercises for biceps, but the notion of actually supersetting one muscle group did feel groundbreaking, breathtaking, and any other cataclysm of hyperbole you can throw at me.
It isn’t just biceps that benefit from isolated supersets of a particular muscle group. This method works for any muscle group you have at your disposal. Triceps, deltoids, legs . . . oooh, legs, you can spend unqualified amounts of time in the gym and never exhaust all the resources available for your legs, but you’re welcome to try.
The point, besides supersets are awesome, is that you don’t have to worry about groundbreaking discoveries, or the history of physiology, or the semantics of anatomy when you’re working out. You don’t even have to know everything about what you’re attempting to be successful at accomplishing. (It is, however, beneficial to at least have a working idea of what could hurt you, before running around the gym like a rowdy cowboy hoping to settle the wild west . . . ) Working out, exercising, lifting weights, pushing steel, pumping iron, whatever you call it, is a personal journey, and is meant to serve you. If you can harness this knowledge to help someone else, so much the better, but the need to rewrite the books is irrelevant. You just have to find what works best for you, and don’t be afraid to try something new . . . even if that something new is all over the internet and has been for some time, without your knowledge or permission.
Pop quiz: Name one famous physiologist.
Ha! Who cares. Go work out. Enjoy yourself. Just be smart about it, and keep trying to get smarter about your lifestyle.