The 8 Best Supersets (YOU’RE NOT DOING!!)


What’s up, guys? Jeff Cavaliere, ATHLEANX.com. Today I’ve got my 8 best supersets that
you’re likely not doing. I’m going to show you exactly why I hand
selected each of these 8. But it always helps to start with a good definition
of what a superset really is. There is some confusion there. There are two criteria to be called a superset. Number one: You have to have two exercises. Number two: you need to not rest in between
those two exercises. Now, if you took a single exercise – let’s
say a dumbbell incline bench-press – and you did two sets in a row, but all you did
was drop the weight in between sets; that would be a drop set. A true superset requires that you go to a
different exercise. When it comes to what happens beyond that,
some people think it always has to be opposing muscle groups. That’s just not correct. Supersets can be done with lots of different
exercise combinations, the same muscle group, complimentary muscle groups, or yes, the popular
opposing muscle group. But let’s star there. When we talk about opposing muscle groups
there’s nothing more classic than biceps and triceps. Of course, I actually have one hand-picked
favorite and it’s this combination. It’s the dumbbell incline tricep extension,
right into the dumbbell spider curl. The reason why I like this one above all others
is because we’re getting the all-important stretch on the triceps in the hand selected
exercise. So, we can get that done, and immediately,
without even having to change weight – because usually these two exercises tend to be weighted
very, very closely – you go right into the inverted incline position on the bench, and
you start repping out in this spider curl. The spider curl provides a nice benefit for
us too because it’s challenging us most in the contracted position of the biceps,
which is not something we really experience all that often with traditional curls. If you’re not used to doing this exercise
you’re going to get a good stimulus from it for that one reason. If you certainly haven’t tried this one
combination this way you definitely will. Next, we can shift more toward complementary
muscle groups. Not in the exact same, but muscles that like
to work together. Here we’re going to hit the back. This is one of my all-time favorite supersets. It involves two exercises that a lot of times
we forget to do. We probably have seen them, but we don’t
realize how important they are. It’s the straight-arm pushdown, right into
a face pull. With the straight-arm pushdown we are working
our back in one of the most crucial movement patterns that we can use when training our
back because it translates over into other exercises. Especially the big exercises, like the deadlift. You need to have straight arm, scapular strength,
not just to do this, but even some more advanced bodyweight exercises like levers. So, if we do this here, and then immediately
change the position of our hands, and go right into a face pull we can shift the work to
the back, but more to the upper back. As I’ve mentioned in previous videos here
we can hit the rear delt as well. There is simply no better combo for the most
unappreciated exercises, and one of the more underappreciated areas of our body. Now we move onto more of the same muscle superset
with a little bit of complementary action going on. That is one of my favorite here for chest. Now we all know the classic bench-press into
pushups. But there’s something that allows us to
hit the muscles in a little different way with a single dumbbell. What you do here is, the UCV raise that’s
I’ve shown plenty of times on our channel, which actually works a little bit of the tie
in between the front delt, and the upper chest. We’re angling our arm up, but then across
our body. You can see the upper chest activated and
working here. But then we can take that and make sure we’re
still getting that all-important adduction component of the chest, which is lacking when
we go from bench-press to pushup. That is why I love this, above all others. We do what has been dubbed here as the “Cavaliere
Crossover”. I showed this a long time back, years ago. You take that single dumbbell and what’s
ironic about this superset is I can usually reach for the dumbbell immediately below the
one that I’m working on when the weights are actually put back correctly. So here I’ve gone from 20lbs to 70lbs. What I do is lift and drag the dumbbell up,
and across my body. Really trying to work on adduction from the
bottom, up. You can see that my entire chest is activated. Yes, it feels like it’s going to explode
at this point, but that is the premise behind supersets; to take it too failure and then
beyond failure using these two exercises. The beauty of supersets is that we don’t
always have to select them based on the muscles we’re working, but more so on a purpose. Here you can take two shoulder exercises with
the purpose being to use the first one to pre-exhaust you for the second one. The first part of this one is the shoulder
L-raise. I like the L-raise because we’re getting
both the benefits of a front raise and side raise for both the front and the middle delt. But what’s great is, the same weight, which
would normally not be challenging all for you on a dumbbell press, by the time you’ve
reached failure on this first portion of the superset in the L-raise becomes challenging
for that second half. So, you’ve effectively pre-exhausted that
muscle which now allows you to lift these dumbbells straight up overhead as soon as
you’ve done your last rep, and continue to rep out using the second half, which is
just a dumbbell press overhead. Again, this gives you a chance to pre-exhaust
a muscle group with an exercise that makes the second exercise – which normally wouldn’t
be so tough – a lot harder. Therefore, it gives you a stimulus that you’re
not used to. Continuing on, using a purpose behind the
superset, we can take advantage of mechanical differences in exercises that allow us to
take a muscle to failure and then train it beyond, using a mechanical superset. You take the first exercise – in this case,
a pancake pushup – which places the tricep at a greater mechanical disadvantage. Therefore, it’s a harder exercise that you
can take all the way to failure. But instead of stopping there you can adapt
and change the position of your body to allow for a little bit more help for those triceps
at that critical time, when they’re most fatigued, to get even more reps, and more
work done. Here we’re shifting over to the dive-bomber
pushup. This should be slightly easier, allowing you
to continue that set for another half until failure. Technically the supersets consist of two exercises,
as I’ve said. But you can turn into a little bit more of
a giant set, which would still be a superset, where you would rest no more and go right
into a third variation here, which is the diamond cutter pushup. This should be, again, slightly easier. You’re taking it down through these three
exercises and it makes it for a more challenging exercise combo for you. However, if you want to stick to the true
definition of a superset with two components of it, the more advanced would stick to the
pancake and dive bomber. Whereas the less advanced would start with
the dive bomber and go into the diamond cutters. Rolling on now, we have something called a
categorical drop set. Meaning, the type, or category of the exercise,
and what it means to the overall effect of the superset. We can go with a classic closed-chain, open-chain
superset. What that means is, a closed-chain exercise
is whenever the moving limbs are in contact with the ground. So, if I was doing a squat and my feet were
in contact with the ground, that would be a closed-chain exercise, versus a leg extension
where my legs are free to move in space, not in contact with the ground. We can apply the same here with our upper
body, and this is one of my favorite ways to train this combo, because I feel like it’s
the safest way to train this combo. Here we use an iron-cross dumbbell pushup. As you can see I’ve got the dumbbells in
contact with the ground, my hands via the dumbbells are in contact with the ground,
which therefore makes it a closed-chain exercise. I can get a little bit of that effect that
we’re actually going to cement here with the follow-up. That is an open-chain floor fly. You guys know that this is the only version
of this exercise that I like. I feel like it’s the one that provides the
best resistance to accomplish the exercise without sacrificing the health of our shoulder. We have the floor as our safety net. We have the bottom safety position of our
elbows up, against the floor. But we’re doing an open-chain exercise because
our arms are not in contact with the floor anymore, but floating in free space. The fact is, these open-chain/closed-chain
combos provide a hell of a challenge. This one, in particular, happens to be my
favorite. This next superset is one that showcases how
you don’t really have to train the same muscle group even remotely to have an effective
superset. It could be what the purpose of the superset
is that makes it so valuable. Here we’re talking about a squat and a scap
pull. You might be thinking “What is the relationship
here?” Well, here we’re talking about a loaded,
and a de-loaded position for your body. When we get under the squat bar we know that
we have a bit of load directed down on our spine. We have spinal compression. So, we do a set of squats realizing that’s
still one of the best damn exercises we could possibly do for our body. But one of the great variables that we have
in our arsenal is in between sets, instead of just standing around – especially when
it comes to squats – but usually you have a pullup bar right behind us. If you turn around, grab onto that pullup
bar, and hang, or in this case do something – which is a small scapular pull – the
scap pull will contract/relax technique to reinforce the decompression that happens when
we actually just let go. If you just let your legs hang here you can
feel the spine elongate. You can feel a little bit of that decompression,
which helps us, and makes us feel ready to attack the next set of squats. This load/de-load, or compression/decompression
combo is a great way to use supersets for a purpose that you may not have realized in
the first place. Finally, we can use supersets to enhance the
effects of a secondary exercise by preceding it with an exercise that excites the nervous
system. We call this post-activation potentiation. It’s a type of training that allows us to
use explosive exercise – not done to fatigue, but done to excite that nervous system – to
them be applied to that secondary, more powerful exercise. Especially when you need that power the most. Here we have a depth jump into a deadlift. The depth jump is when we stand on the bench
nearby, close to the bar that we’re going to deadlift, and we utilize two key factors
on this exercise. One: you’re looking for that neurological
excitation here of the legs. Realizing that we want to go down into that
stretch reflex, and then explode out of it, and try to be as high, and explosive as we
can in our jump. The second thing, as you’ll see me working
on here, is trying to allow the legs to load up by hinging at the hips. Drop into my squat by reinforcing the mechanics
I’m going to use in the deadlift itself. When I do that and come back and approach
the bar, you can see that I am much more explosive. Obviously, I’m not using a heavy, heavy
weight here for demonstration purposes, but I would be. In this case I would have an excited nervous
system that allows me to realize more power when I lift that bar off the ground. Which is exactly what we’re looking for
here, especially in these bigger exercises. There you have it, guys. My 8 favorite supersets, all chosen for a
different reason. The fact is, when done at the right time,
for the right purpose supersets can be incredibly effective for helping you take your training
to the next level. If you’re looking to take your training
to the next level and you want me to help you do that head to the link below this video
and allow me to help you choose the program of mine that is best suited to your goals,
and I’ll get you there. The fact of the matter is, we’re always
going to put the science back in strength, and I’m going to tell it to you the way
it is, giving you the ‘no BS’ approach to making sure you get there, using the right
principles, at the right time. In the meantime, if you’ve found this video
helpful leave your comments and thumbs up below. Let me know what you want me to cover, what
other videos I could make for you that will be helpful and I’ll do my best to do that
for you in the days and weeks ahead. All right, guys. See you soon.

100 thoughts on “The 8 Best Supersets (YOU’RE NOT DOING!!)

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  2. I actually totally do the squat/scap pull superset already. Makes me feel like I know what I'm doing for once.

  3. Super sets are really the way to go when you're on a time limit at the gym, I've been able to finish chestback in just barely 1 hour it's amazing

  4. "when the weights are actually put back correctly". mini rant? BWAAHAAAH.
    fabulous suggestions jeff. he dont miss a beat!

  5. Jeff breakdown the benefits of supersetting a calisthenics with a weightlifting exercise like for example weighted barbell squat with burpees (my favorite exercise) I workout like this all the time now because of how jarring it feels but absolutely love it what does it do my body

  6. Hi Jeff, can you give your opinion for the ten of ten (German), I do it with a 5 sets of a finisher exercise. Thank you for the great job you do.

  7. I'm excited to try some of these. like always, a great video with great info. Thank you Jeff for helping people with your knowledge and passion for fitness and health.

  8. BEYOND failure? How do you find success beyond failure? Failure is failure — failure is when your muscles are done. Can't keep going if you really are hitting failure.

  9. I did 5/10/15/20 standing dumbell pullovers last night, I completely unlocked my biceps and they practically double in size.

  10. Machine training is unatural noisy boring I hate gyms. Can you show some outdoor work for health not just bodybuilding.

  11. do PUMA, NIKE and ADIDAS sponsor your videos? if not, why don't you custom make athlean-x shoes and training pants? you have a custom made shirts after all…..I don't think it's that expensive. those giants get free add. from you, just saying!..I don't know about the other but me? you're my role model jeff. what you wear is a big deal for me, I try to emulate you! yap! a FAN boy I am..

  12. I want to get fit
    Jeff – just follow my supersets
    Yup
    – do a tricep extension and a spider curl
    Yup
    – name your property to my name and subscribe to athleanxdotcom

    Yuuuuuupppppppppp…

  13. You can also pair a bilateral pulling exercise with a unilateral pushing exercise i.e BB curl into left arm DB bench. Next superset BB curl into right arm DB bench. Credit – Eric Cressey

  14. Thank you very much jeff for all the effort, i usually watch your videos with a pen to take notes, but often i cant, so it would be awesome and really helpful, if you can when you upload a video about exercises and techniques , you just add the exercises one by one in the description so we can screenshot them once we finish the video
    Again thank you for everything you’re help

  15. I would like a different chest exercise instead of the second one you showed. Any suggestions for a great superset?

  16. I have noticed that body 'asks' for most of these one after another. I didnt know they have a name.. but i found out that jumps after and before the deadlifts are very good and hanging after the squats is a releave..

  17. The Cavaliere Crossover- bruh, you talk about a pump. This shyt right here gets me so blowed up. I dont do it during warm up but usually superset it with whatever chest lift i start with. Not only the pump it gives getting my chest full of blood, it really establishes the mind muscle connection. My chest workouts have increased exponentially and now i have a truly thick chest all the way to the top, when i still had a good chest, it was more sloped and just thick at the bottom. Chest is closer to my chin. Prob one of the top 3 best things I've learned from Jeff

  18. sir I want to work and learn with you I'm studying physiotherapy in india and in future I want to work under your guidance.. so please reply me sir if you can help me

  19. It says that the body is getting accustomed to the same exercise routine, so this way the supersets are coming in handy. But can we like avoid the supersets by doing same exercises but increasing the barbell weight, so the muscles feeling a heavyness in execution?

  20. Thank you for these great informative videos. What confuses me is where do you fit a different type of type of training in when you already have say a 3-day split, do you stop your normal routine, where do all these different methods fit together?

  21. Ive always been in love with supersets and wanted to know more about supersets and how to do it. I just would like a workout schedule with reps/ sets in every part of the body.

  22. Do not belong to a gym. Not my style! Is Their any free weight exercise I can do to simulate the Pull Down, or Face curl? I do have legg attachment to one of my benches!

  23. I want u to make a video to win arm wrestling plzzzz……..bcz i want to win from everyone in my college there fore, plz make a video related to it…..

  24. Jeff, will you please do a video for more supersets like that last superset you described as “post activation potentiation”? But for different muscle groups? Doing that jump before doing the deadlift has really helped me. I like to do more supersets like that with more of the big lifts. Thank you!

  25. For future reference:

    1:14 DB Incline Triceps extensions / 1:35 DB Spider Curls

    2:06 Y-Cable Straight Arm Pushdown / 2:39 Y-Cable Face Pull

    3:17 DB UCV Raises / 3:44 DB Cavaliere Xover

    4:38 DB Shoulder L Raise / 4:58 DB Shoulder Press

    5:38 Pancake Pushups / 5:58 Cobra Pushups / 6:14 Diamond Cutter Pushups

    7:16 DB Iron Cross Pushups / 7:36 DB Floor Fly

    8:23 BB Squat / 8:42 Hanging Scap Pulls

    9:51 Depth Jump / 10:25 BB Deadlift

  26. I have very unbalanced arm strength. I can comfortably curl 25p but can only do about 5p tricep extension with my right arm (I'm left handed so left is stronger) whats the best way to balance my arm strength

  27. Excellent supersets squeezing out whole body from head to toe. Quite result oriented.
    One question is how many reps and sets to be performed?
    PLEASE REPLY

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