Technically speaking, acquiring muscle mass requires stressing your body to the point of triggering an acute inflammatory response that generates protein synthesis. Practically speaking, that’s what the superset does: pairing movements that target a specific area of the body and repeating them.
But technically speaking, the process of acquiring muscle mass also leaves you prone to injury, thanks to repetitive stress and extreme inflammation. “Dividing” your body into zones and overloading each zone—for leg day, or back day, and so on—is contrary to our physiology, which is designed to spread the load in order to minimize the chance of injury. Overload that’s isolated to specific parts of the body can lead to tendonitis and impingement syndromes that restrict your range of motion, so while the exterior looks great, the interior is beat up.
This workout incorporates joint-strengthening, mobility and recovery exercise movements to harness your physiological responses to stress in a way that’s productive instead of harmful.
To make this workout work for you, consider two other potential disruptors that are built into conventional wisdom about muscle-gain protocols. Caloric intake is necessary to build mass, but eating a lot of inflammatory foods can have a negative effect. And insufficient recovery can amplify the risk of injury. You can downgrade your disruptors to get more from the workout by choosing what to put in your body and building sufficient recovery time into your routine.
- Perform eight to 12 reps of each movement before moving on to the next in each pair.
- Perform each pair as a superset, three times, before moving on to the next superset pairing.
- Choose weight that’s heavy enough to create fatigue but not total exhaustion.