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Preprint / Version 1

Less time, same gains

Comparison of superset vs traditional set training on muscular adaptations


  • Ryan Burke
  • Tom Hermann
  • Alec Pinero
  • Adam Mohan
  • Francesca Augustin
  • Max Sapuppo
  • Max Coleman
  • Patroklos Korakakis
  • Milo Wolf
  • Paul Swinton
  • Brad Schoenfeld Lehman College



paired set, agonist-antagonist, time efficient training, muscle hypertrophy, strength, perceived exertion


The purpose of this study was to compare the effects of superset versus traditional resistance training (RT) on muscular strength, hypertrophy, body composition, and endurance. Forty-three young, resistance-trained male and female participants were randomly assigned to either a superset RT group (SS) or a traditional RT group (TRAD). The RT protocol targeted the upper and lower body musculature using six exercises (lat pulldown, Smith machine bench press, seated leg curl, leg extension, dumbbell biceps curl, and cable triceps pushdown). All exercises were performed in the same session, twice weekly for eight consecutive weeks. Participants performed four sets of each exercise to muscular failure with loads equivalent to 8-12 RM under supervision of research assistants. Participants in TRAD completed all sets for one exercise prior to performing a different exercise with two minutes of rest between sets. Participants in SS performed a set for one exercise followed immediately by a set for another exercise then two minutes of rest, which was repeated for a total of four sets per superset. Potential group differences were assessed within a Bayesian framework, with Bayes factors () used to assess the strength of evidence. Consistent evidence was obtained that both groups generally experienced the same average increases in muscle thickness across all assessed muscle groups (= 0.54, range: 0.23 to 1.3) as well as the same average changes in strength (= 0.28, range: 0.14 to 0.41), power (= 0.22), local muscular endurance (= 0.59, range: 0.54 to 0.63), and body composition outcomes (= 0.19, range: 0.13 to 0.24). Despite similar estimates of between-group changes, SS completed sessions in 36% less time than TRAD. In conclusion, supersets  appear to be a time-efficient alternative for eliciting muscular adaptations in a resistance-trained population.


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