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Super Sets

Patrick Dale explains how to develop pure strength, muscular endurance and lose fat

“Super Set” training consists of performing two or three exercises continuously, without rest in between exercises, until all exercises have been performed. The normal 'between exercises' rest is taken before the next set of exercises is commenced.  “Super Sets” can be as simple as two exercises linked together e.g. power clean & push press, or they can consist of five or more exercises.

If attempting to improve body composition or muscular endurance, high repetitions (15-20 total repetitions/super set) and short 30 to 90 seconds rest should be employed. If an increase in strength is the objective, much lower repetitions (3 to 6 total repetitions/super set) and longer rests of 2 to 3 minutes with a corresponding increase in total training volume should be engaged.

“Super” Sets can be performed in one of two ways, both being very effective.

  1. Using "super set one" below - perform one deadlift, then one stiff legged deadlift, then one power clean, then one front squat, then one push press - repeat this sequence five times without rest
  2. Using "super set two" below - perform five repetitions of dumbbell fly's, then five repetitions of dumbbell press and then five repetitions of dumbbell pullovers.

Examples of “Super Sets”

Super set one

This sequence works well with both light-medium resistance for multiple repetitions (e.g. 3-5 repetitions per exercise) and heavy weights (1-2 repetitions per exercise). Expect a serious cardiovascular response when performing this sequence with higher repetitions!

  1. Deadlift
  2. Stiff legged deadlift
  3. Power clean
  4. Front squat
  5. Push Press

Super set 1

Super set two

  1. Supine dumbbell fly
  2. Supine dumbbell press
  3. Dumbbell pullover with two dumbbells

Super set 2

Super set 2

Super set three

  1. Side lateral raise
  2. Dumbbell upright row
  3. Dumbbell curl into dumbbell press

Super set 3

Super set four

Start standing below a chin-up bar (1), squat down until your hands are on the floor (2), jump your legs back into a press-up position (3), perform a single press-up, jump your legs back in, stand up and jump up to the chin-up bar and perform a chin-up. Use the jump to assist completion of the chin-up as much as is necessary!

  1. Burpee
  2. Press up
  3. Chin up

Super set 4

Super set five

Utilizing nothing more than a pair of light to medium dumbbells, this complex can be extremely demanding and should challenge even the fittest athlete's conditioning.

  1. Squat with dumbbells (eccentric phase)
  2. Squat thrust (jump legs out)
  3. Press up
  4. Squat thrust (jump legs in)
  5. Squat with dumbbell (concentric phase)
  6. Curl & Press

Super set 5

Super set six

Perform 20 repetitions of each exercise (or whatever number of repetitions client can perform) with no pause between movements. Tempo should be “brisk” but still controlled.

1) Body weight squats to parallel (use step as a guide but avoid touching it…)
2) High step-ups (box at just below knee height to put lead knee at 90 degrees)
3) Lunges
4) Reverse lunges (not shown – just step back into a lunge, rather than forwards)
5) Squat jumps/split jumps (make sure you land on soft knees)



Super set training provides you with an excellent addition to regular training, which is fun to do, very productive and time efficient.

Article Reference

This article first appeared in:

  • DALE, P. (2007) Super Sets. Brian Mackenzie's Successful Coaching, (ISSN 1745-7513/ 44/ July-August), p. 8-10

Page Reference

If you quote information from this page in your work, then the reference for this page is:

  • DALE, P. (2007) Super Sets [WWW] Available from: [Accessed

About the Author

Patrick Dale has 15 years of fitness industry experience. He has a wide and varied sporting history, having participated at a high level in athletics, rugby, rock climbing, trampolining, triathlon, weightlifting and bodybuilding.

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