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More Results, Less Time

Posted by Joel Marion on July 14, 2009

After hitting snooze about five times yesterday morning (nothing like starting the day off with 45 minutes of procrastination), I quickly realized that a trip to the gym prior to my 10 a.m. appointment simply wasn’t going to happen.

No worries, though, I gots my trusty Powerblocks® here at the house and very rarely do my workouts run longer than a half hour anyway.

You see, I’m able to get killer workouts done in just 30 minutes for a number of reasons, one of which is a technique called antagonistic supersets.

Let’s break down the term.

Supersets refer to the practice of performing two exercises back to back with little or no rest.

Antagonists are muscle groups that perform opposite actions.

For example, the biceps flex the arm and the triceps extend the arm, thus they are antagonists. Other antagonistic muscle groups include chest and back, hams and quads, etc.

That said, antagonistic supersetting would then be the practice of performing exercises that involve opposing muscle groups in back to back fashion.

Utilizing this technique yields three immediate benefits:

1. Immediate decrease in the length of each workout (saves time)
2. Immediate increase in the density of each workout (equivalent work done in less time), leading to increased work capacity, fitness, and overall results
3. Immediate increases in strength

The first two benefits are pretty self explanatory, but what about the third? How do antagonistic supersets lead to an immediate increase in strength?

Let me ask you this:  have you ever driven with the parking brake on? Kinda slows you down, huh?

That’s essentially what happens every time you perform any set during any resistance training workout, and it’s because of a little known phenomenon called antagonistic co-contraction.

Take for example a set of bicep curls. When the working muscle contracts (in this case the biceps), the opposing muscle or “antagonist” also contracts simultaneously (in this case the triceps), causing a decrease in the amount of force the biceps is able to generate.

In other words, the contraction of the opposing muscle acts as a “brake” and has a negative effect on strength levels.

Here is where the theory of antagonistic supersetting comes into play. After a set of bicep curls, the biceps are temporarily fatigued and are unable to contract at their full potential. It is during this time (when the biceps are fatigued) that you would perform a triceps exercise because the “brakes” are off so to speak.

Essentially, this allows you to maximize your strength potential by taking away the limiting factor of antagonistic co-contraction. Pretty cool, huh?

Want to know how to best “split” and “pair” your workouts to best take advantage of your antagonists?

Want to know TWO other ways to save time while increasing the effectiveness of your workouts?

Or how about an extremely effective time-efficient workout regimen that will yield the same benefits of 4 workouts per week, while only requiring two!?

Well, that’s what I’ve got lined up for you over the next few of posts. At least 50 comments and I’ll be back tomorrow with more!

Talk to you in the comments section!



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