The Agonist and Antagonist Superset
The difference between agonist and antagonist muscles is that they work in the opposite direction to complete an action. The agonist and antagonist supersets mean you do 2 sets of 2 opposing body parts back to back with no rest. For example, you do 8 reps of dumbbell chest press which works on your chest and then go straight to 8 reps of dumbbell deadlift which works on your back. This is an example of agonist and antagonist supersets. The back muscle is the opposite of the chest muscle. Another example is doing 8 reps of a biceps exercise and then go straight to 8 reps of a triceps exercise. Basically, it is when one group of muscle contracts, the other group relaxes and vice versa.
What is the different between doing regular sets and agonist-antagonist supersets?
When doing regular sets, you work on the same group of muscle for many sets, and you take rest between each set. The agonist-antagonist supersets allow you to work on 2 opposite groups of muscle which allow you to build more muscle with less gym time. Doing the regular sets won’t allow you to go heavy if you don’t rest enough. The agonist-antagonist supersets allow each muscle group rest longer because each group rests between 2 supersets plus when you work on the opposite group. Rather than working on the same body part, you do 2 sets for the opposing body parts. The agonist-antagonist supersets build more muscle because when you work on 2 opposing groups of muscle, you will have more pump (hypermia) which is good for permanently growing new muscle. The pump is when the blood goes into the muscle when you are working out. The blood carries lactic acid away from the muscle as well as carries protein into the muscle. During a pump, the muscle gets up to 4 times the amount of blood it would get normally. The agonist-antagonist supersets help increase the blood flow into the working muscles during the workouts. This will ultimately increase more muscle gain. As muscles develop during weight training and repeated exercise, the hypermia (pump) also increases more tiny blood vessels to furnish muscles with more oxygen and nutrition during workouts. This further enhances active hypermia and muscle growth.
The agonist-antagonist supersets create greater pump because they not only drive blood into one muscle group but also into the opposing muscle group eventually you would have better blood flow into both muscle groups. This will increase the efficiency of developing strength and power of the muscle.
Every workout routine should be changed after a certain amount of time because after a while, the body gets used to the workout routine and you won’t gain much muscle from it. Also, somebody parts grow faster than others, so changing new workout routine will definitely be useful. That’s why the agonist-antagonist supersets are recommended.
Benefits of agonist-antagonist supersets:
- More muscles are working at the same time
- Save time
- Faster muscle recovery than regular sets
- Increase strength and muscle gain.
Some tips for agonist-antagonist supersets:
- Choose the similar pair of exercises that engage the same movement but in opposite direction.
- Do 2 exercises as one superset, 8 reps per exercise, 3-5 supersets and no rest between 2 exercises.
- Change the routine and order of exercise after few weeks.
Examples of agonist-antagonist exercises:
- Biceps Curl vs. Triceps Extension (Biceps vs. Triceps)
- Barbell Bench Press vs. Barbell Deadlift or Barbell Bent Row (Chest vs. Back)
- Dumbbell Press vs. Dumbbell Deadlift (Chest vs Back)
- Shoulder Press vs. Pull ups (Shoulders vs. Lat)
- Leg Extension vs. Leg curls (Quadriceps vs. Hamstrings)
- Back Extension vs. Crunches (Lower Back vs. Abs)
- And so on…
Have a go on the agonist-antagonist supersets and see how different you will look and feel.