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Agonist Supersets : What Are They & What Are Their Benefits?

Agonist Supersets

We have recently spoken about the benefits of antagonist supersets, but what about agonist supersets?

What are they and what benefits do they offer?

Let us look at agonist supersets in more detail to see whether you should consider them the next time you hit the gym. [toc]

What Are Agonist Supersets?

There are two types of supersets you can perform in the gym; either antagonist or agonist.

While antagonist supersets involve performing two exercises back to back using opposing muscles; for example the chest and back, or your biceps and triceps.

Agonist supersets are different as they involve performing two exercises that challenge the same muscle.

As both are supersets there is very little, or perhaps no rest between exercises.

Often agonist supersets will be used to pre-fatigue a muscle. Where an isolation exercise is performed before a compound lift. It is believed that doing this will improve muscle fibre recruitment and mind-muscle connection.

Essentially, if you perform the isolation exercise before the main compound lift, you will be able to “feel” the target muscle.

Examples of this method include performing cable flyes prior to a bench press, which improves the mind-muscle connection of your pectoral muscle rather than allowing your triceps and deltoids to take over the lift.

If you choose to use this method then it is best to perform them early in your workout rather than use them as a finisher.

Benefits of Agonist Supersets

The main benefit of agonist supersets is that you can perform an intense workout using very little time.

As you are performing exercises back to back you are not having such a long rest time between exercises and sets. This reduces the overall time spent in the gym.

Performing two exercises back to back on the same muscle will also give that muscle an intense workout [1]. This may also be an issue, however.

The following video will show you which exercises work best for agonist supersets:

Potential Drawback of Agonist Supersets

The biggest issues with supersets like this are that you will become fatigued much faster than traditional workouts. This could potentially lead to longer recovery times between workouts.

If you are performing two exercises on a single muscle you probably won’t be able to go as heavy as you would if you were performing a single exercise.

This means you will likely stick to isolation exercises, rather than compound exercises like the squat and deadlift that I would personally recommend for muscle growth.

Agonist supersets may be a better option for those who are looking to burn fat rather than build muscle. This is because of the intensity of the workouts and the lack of rest, which will keep your heart rate up, the ideal state for calorie burning.

In Conclusion

Supersets are a good way to get a good workout done in a much faster time. Making them perfect for those who lead busy lifestyles.

Our only concern is the strain it puts onto your body. But if your diet is on point and you are getting adequate rest between workouts then you shouldn’t encounter any serious issue.

I would recommend reading the following article to ensure you are eating the correct foods in the right amount for your goals.

Personally, I would stick to a more traditional workout regime that focusses on progressive overload if muscle building is your goal [2]. Research has found that longer rests between sets are more effective [3].

Progressive overload means that during each workout you should try to increase the amount of weight lifted, or the number of reps of sets performed.

It is proven that this increase in strength will also result in an increase in muscle size. Of course, this will all depend on what foods and what amounts of these foods you consume.

Have you tried agonist supersets while training? If you have then we would love to hear what you thought of them. Please leave a comment for us below.

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