Supersets were developed to help get more training done in less time. There is way more to supersets than that. For example if you super set bench press with Rowing. Some of the same muscles are used in both movements such as shoulders , upper back and lats. By combining them in a superset ( 2 sets done with no rest between the 2, rest only after completing the 2 , then repeat) , you are working specific fibers harder or may require more fibers to be activated thereby increasing the stimulus for muscle growth.
Some very good examples of supersets are:
1) bench press and rowing(any form is fine…ie: t bar, cable, machine etc. remember to use a medium to wide grip and pull to the upper chest keeping elbows out.)
2) chin ups/pullups/lat pulldown with Overhead presses
3) Dips supersetted with upright row using trap bar. ( can use 2 dumbells held the same way, parallel to the body if a trap bar is not available) ( this is an exercise I developed….. never seen or heard of anyone ever doing it before) It really helps to activate maximum fibers in the shoulders and upper back…)
4) Back extensions with angled sit ups/ hanging leg raises
You will notice the exercise combinations I described are the exact opposites of each other……
Most of us started out believing that “full range of motion” was a requirement to adequately stimulate muscle growth. This is absolute BS! They were talking “joint movement”. Full range of motion for the joint is NOT a requirement for muscle stimulation. Now if you are talking “flexibility”…then YES…. but we are not. Muscles either contract or relax. There are specific ranges of motion and specific points within a particular exercise that elicit more muscle fibers for the muscle you are trying to develop. This is where you should spend most of your training. Notice I said “most of your training”. Of course if you are a powerlifter or Olympic lifter…you must do the required “lifts”. And notice I am talking about ultimate muscle growth and stimulation not conditioning. ‘Those that think about what they do will appreciate what I have just written. Those that just follow the “herd” will be up in arms against what I have written. LOL….
I will give you a specific example: when using the bench press to develop your pecs…just do the bottom portion of the movement ( the bottom 1/4 of the full movement puts the most stress on the pectorals and the front delts). Also doing isolation movements such as lateral raises can be much improved as to the muscle stimulation they provide by just doing the bottom portion of the move using heavier weights, only moving the dumbells 1/4 to half of the regular lateral raise exercise. There is much , much more ….but I hopefully have given you enough information to make you want to experiment and get better results.
The exercise I am about to describe puts the most “stretch” on the triceps muscles than any other . Simply set up as if you were going to do a cross bench pullover exercise, holding a dumbell the same way with palms flat up against the top plates. Then simply do a tricep extension making sure to get a full deep stretch as that is the key here. Of course you can do the full movement or do partials in the different ranges ( bottom 1/3…mid 1/3…top 1/3) I like to do a few sets of each method. Experiment with range of motion…. sets… and reps…. and of course rest time.
This exercise gives way more time under tension to the lateral head of the deltoid than anything you have ever tried. Take 2 dumbells and hold in a parallel position or use a parallel handle deadlift bar. Pull upward alongside the body under the armpit and hold for time. Try 2 minutes then 1 minute using an appropriate weight that makes it hard but not impossible to hold for the time. The stimulation to the lateral head of the delts will make you a believer…….
I have bulked up and dieted down so many times that I have literally gained and lost hundreds of pounds over the course of my time in training.
I just want to share my experience with loosing fat in hopes it may aid someone who may be experiencing similar issues and inspire them to stick with it.
First lets look at the below quote:
” I also learned that if you aren’t lean to start with (above 13 percent body fat) it’s hard to tell the visual difference if you increase that by 5-6 percent body fat. There’s a range of body fat that appears about the same. If you hover between 14-20 percent body fat you aren’t lean enough to be defined, nor are you fat enough to look like crap. You can very well add 10-15 pounds of fat and THINK you’re gaining muscle.” The above quote comes from Christian Thibaudeau (Canadian bodybuilder and coach)
That has been exactly my own experience….. I would start looking bigger , gaining weight and actually I was storing more fat all over my body ( I seem to add weight proportionately all over, more so to the upper body than the legs though). So it would seem that I was not gaining that much fat as my visual inspection showed not much increase in the “love handle” area or lower pecs where I genetically start to gain fat first, but it was going to other places such as the arms, and especially the back. When I would diet down, It was frustrating because I would not see much change in the areas that mattered most..my lower chest and love handle area…. this was due to the fact the fat goes off just as it goes on….. so I had to lose the fat from my arms, back, glutes, legs, before seeing much change in my “problem areas” .
You must be patient and accept that it takes time to lose fat. If you try to rush it by dieting too hard and by doing too much cardio you will lose muscle in addition to fat and also reduce your metabolic rate which will slow down your fat loss and leave you with less muscle and more fat than you would like at your lower bodyweight.
The old style T – Bar was and still is one of the best exercises one can do to develop overall body strength. It should be given the same credit as the squat and deadlift as it definitely uses much of the body’s musculature when doing the lift. Upper back, traps, spinal erectors, abs, hamstings, glutes are the main muscles used… Biceps, forearms, grip, quads and even calves are used.
When doing this lift you should not be bent at 90 degrees as is generally suggested for rowing moves. You should be more upright almost inline with the bar as it moves upward as the resistance is changed due to the set up as compared to a regular bar bell row exercise.
1) People with a higher percentage of body fat will lose more fat and retain more muscle with a significant calorie deficit.
2)People with a lower percent of body fat will lose more muscle and retain more fat with a significant calorie deficit.
What this means is in the later stages of your diet, you MUST increase calories, still below maintenance level in order to loose fat and NOT muscle. And you should zig zag your calorie intake. Some days taking in more than maintenance and other days less. If you continue on the same calorie deficit that lost you most of your fat in the beginning, you will end up having to reduce calories further causing a further reduction in your metabolic rate and loss of muscle…and not achieving the “look” you desire, just ending up skinny/fat. As an example: someone sees they are almost “there” but are loosing slowly or not at all at this point. So they increase their caloric deficit some more and maybe add more cardio…. They are loosing again, so they are happy.. However, they probably had only 5 pounds left of fat to loose, yet they end up loosing another 15, loosing muscle and loosing their “shape” and still a bit “flabby”. Bottom line… you MUST increase your calories as I mentioned above.
You must be patient and accept that it takes time to lose fat. As I mentioned above, if you try to rush it by dieting too hard and by doing too much cardio especially in the later stages when you are relatively lean, you will lose muscle in addition to fat and also reduce your metabolic rate which will slow down your fat loss and leave you with less muscle and more fat than you would like at your lower bodyweight.