“What’s your secret to those legs?”
Over the years (well, decades if we’re being honest) I’ve been asked this question numerous times and the answer is consistently the same: “Lower Body Supersets”.
A great set of legs takes dedicated effort, consistency, and time, however, there are a few methods to the madness when it comes to creating a great set of legs. One of those methods is through incorporating supersets into one’s training program.
A superset is simply performing an exercise immediately after another with minimal rest between. There are a variety of methods to use when implementing supersets, but when it comes to the lower body there are a few “go-to’s” I tend to gravitate towards depending on the intention of the series.
This article highlights a few of those strategies and some of my favorite exercises when implementing supersets.
Lower Body Superset One
Front Squat and Reverse Lunge
One way of creating a superset is to target opposing muscle groups, otherwise known as antagonist muscles. In the case of this superset, the front squat will elicit more quadricep whereas the reverse lunge targets the posterior chain (i.e. glutes and hamstrings). When doing antagonist based superset, I like to use the recommended rep scheme for which my training focus is. For example, performing 6 to 8 front squats followed by 6 to 8 reverse lunges on each side would teeter the “functional strength” realm. Increasing the reps to 10-12 (and subsequently lowering the weight) would then bring me more in the hypertrophy zone. I personally don’t like this combo for anything more than 12 reps as there are better options out there for these rep schemes.
Lower Body Superset Two
Eccentric Focused Hip Thrust and RDL
Supersetting hip thrusts and RDL’s on their own is hard enough, but taking it a step further and focusing on the eccentric portion of each lift brings this lower body superset to a whole new level. Slowing down the eccentric portion of the lift (or lowering phase) not only allows for increased time under tension, but it encourages one to make the mind-muscle connection throughout the series. When the lifter can fully engage the muscles being targeted (i.e. hamstrings and glutes in the case of this superset) they are able to use control, not momentum, to perform each lift. When implementing an eccentric-focused superset like this, I tend to stay in the 5-8 rep range for each using a variety of tempos with an extended eccentric phase. Some of my favorite tempos include 3-2-X-0 or 5-2-X-0.
Lower Body Superset Three
Heel Elevated Squat and Short Step Walking Lunge
Using protagonist, or the same, muscle groups when it comes to lower body supersets is another great way to build lean muscle in the lower body. One of my favorite supersets for this method is the heel elevated squat with a short step walking lunge. Talk about quad burner, these two exercises are perfect during a hypertrophy phase where the emphasis is to implement as much volume as possible. When performing protagonist series, I prefer to implement what I call the 1:2 method. The 1:2 method means the first exercise is assigned a rep range anywhere from 6-12 reps and the second exercise is doubled that amount. In this particular case, I really like the 8:16 method (8 squats to 16 walking lunges/each side).
Like any training program, there are million strategies one can use to work towards the goal at hand. The key is finding the strategy that best works for you! Give these lower body supersets a try if you’re looking to switch up your tired routine or need to challenge yourself to a whole new level!