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Wednesday August 15, 2018

Get Super Ripped with Super Sets

Written by Ivan Blazquez

Bodybuilder and Triathlete Ivan BlazquezIn a recent workout, I realized that super-sets are common to many, but the manner and context in which they are performed can be different, thereby leading to different results. I recently performed a super-set circuit that was based on how fast I could transition from one exercise to the next, rather than simply "getting to the next exercise." This special attention to detail will eventually lead to greater muscle detail and separation. The typical super-set approach in training involves performing one resistance exercise followed by another. Typically, these two exercises will work opposite sides or be considerer reciprocal or antagonistic muscle groups (9). However, in this article, the context of super-sets is simply performing a collection of exercises that are sequenced in pairs that induce a highly effective thermogenic metabolic response. In essence, this workout is like one big super-set, but of course some pairs are ordered based on reciprocal muscle groups.

Whatever a person's goal may be (preparing for a bodybuilding show, photo-shoot, wedding, beach season, spring break, etc.), this workout will help you bust through your plateau. However, it is important to remember that this is just one workout and will only provide a potent stimulus when you are not used to it. So the best way to incorporate it is to do it if you never have before or if it's been a while. Also, when you get adapted to it and lose the great pump or high, simply go back to another workout routine and come back to this workout at a later date. The important thing is that you now will have a new fat-scorching and muscle-building workout to add to your array of workout regimens! This workout can be performed as little as once every other week to two times a week on non-consecutive days.

Super-Set Bodyfat Shredder Workout:

10-min Warm-up: 5-min bike (80 RPM or above), then 5-min stair-mill (interval program - pick one speed high, one speed low) OR 5-min jogging (5-8 mph depending on fitness level).

Bodyweight Cross-Fit Circuit: Repeat circuit twice.  

*Burpees: 20 reps.

Push-ups: 30-50 reps.

Inverted Rows: 25-40 reps.

Ivan Blazquez hands on hips most muscular poseKettle swings: 20-30 swings using 15-20 lb kettlebell.

Exercise ball jacknife + pike: 20-30 reps. Simply perform a ball tuck rolling ball toward navel while tucking knees to navel. Then straighten legs and perform a pike. A pike is with straight legs, lift butt and hips to sky making in V-shape with body.

* I prefer to have my legs wide when I kick my feet back. When I kick them up I have them together. As a personal trainer, I also have my clients perform it this way. It reduces/dissipates the load on the lower back.

Resistance Training Metabolic-Enhancement Workout: It is very important to focus most on how quickly you start the ensuing exercise once your done the previous one! Be fast, but under control! All you will need is 20-40 lb dumbbells depending on your strength.

Circuit Description: For first exercise, with dumbbells held on shoulders, straddle bench and sit down until you are sitting on bench, then stand up. Once this exercise is done, immediately lay down on same bench and do chest press. After the chest press, go right into the 1-arm dumbbell row for each side. 3-5 sets non-stop! 3 sets is minimal and will provide great results. 4-5 sets will yield even better results! Whatever you chose, you will not lose!

1) DB Bench Squats: 3-5x15

2) DB Chest Press: 3-5x15

3) DB Row: 3-5x15

Workout Rationale:

Ivan Blazquez most muscular poseI find that this workout meets all the markers for serious fat-loss. First, we start with a progressive warm-up that will immediately tap into carbohydrate stores for energy and prepare the body effectively for what is to come (4). Then we will continue this onslaught with a high-intensity interval training (HIIT) bodyweight cross-fit circuit. This circuit will keep the pulse rate elevated, such that one will be burning calories at a higher rate the entire short duration of the circuit (15, 16), but also creating an after burn or excess-post-exercise oxygen consumption (EPOC) effect that will augment caloric expenditure even further by way of elevating resting metabolic rate (1, 3, 10, 11) and also making the ensuing super-set weight training more difficult to do. Then, we finish off the HIIT with a more gradual, but efficient dumbbell super-set circuit. Many people can sometimes get carried away with heavy load training, but the reality is, if the workout is challenging, the body will get stronger regardless of the weight being lifted (2, 6). More importantly, one will burn more calories with a higher volume workout using moderate loads versus a high-load workout with a lower volume (3, 7). Moreover, this workout is much safer and easier on the body as well, which is important not only for short-term training goals, but also for long-term health goals. I find that major muscle group exercises combined with little rest lead to a favorable hormonal milieu. Both growth hormone, testosterone and other anabolic factors will be elevated from this workout. Also, substrate oxidation will likely shift more towards fat for the rest of the day, since during the workout, glycogen was the main energy substrate (11, 12, 13, 14). This happens for two reasons: 1) The body places a higher priority on glycogen if we place a higher demand on it by the way in which we workout; 2) The body will have lower resting glycogen stores, so while the body shuttles consumed carbohydrates and proteins into our muscles, the body will burn more stored fat for energy to fuel these metabolic processes (11, 12, 13, 14). For those who want to ride out this wave, performing 10-15 minutes more of cardio at the end of this workout will certainly accelerate fat-loss even more. Research has shown that as little as 10-15 minutes of aerobic exercise after an anaerobic workout can lead to greater fat oxidation (5, 8). This workout is certainly not the be-all, but it can make a dramatic difference for those who are stuck in a rut or need a new challenging workout to boost progress!

Thanks for reading, This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Fitness Writer Ivan BlazquezCopyright:

The information provided in this article is for educational and informational purposes only and does not serve as a replacement to care provided by your own personal health care team or physician. The author does not render or provide medical advice, and no individual should make any medical decisions or change their health behavior based on information provided here. Reliance on any information provided by the author is solely at your own risk. The author accepts no responsibility for materials contained in the article and will not be liable for any direct, indirect, consequential, special, exemplary, or other damages arising from the use of information contained in this or other publications. Copyright Ivan Blazquez, 2011. No part of this publication may be reproduced or transmitted in any form without the prior written permission of the copyright holder and author of this publication.

Oliver, GD, Stone, AJ, Wyman, JW, Blazquez, IN. (2012). Muscle activation of the torso during the modified razor curl hamstring exercise, International Journal of Sports Physical Therapy, 7(1), 49-57.


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            2) Burd et al. (2010). Low-load high volume resistance exercise stimulates mucle protein synthesis more than high-load low volume resistance exercise in young men, PLoS one, 5(8), e12033.

            3) Da Silva et al. (2010). Effects of different strength training methods on postexercise energetic expenditure, Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research, 24(8), 2255-2260.

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            8) Kang et al. (2009). Effect of preceding resistance exercise on metabolism during subsequent aerobic session, European Journal of Applied Physiology, 107(1), 43-50.

            9) Kelleher et al. (2010). The metabolic costs of reciprocal supersets vs. traditional resistance exercise in young recreationally active adults, Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research, 24(4), 1042-1051.

            10) Kiens & Richter (1998). Utilization of skeletal muscle triglycerol during postexercise recovery in humans, American Journal of Physiology, 275(2 pt 1), E332-E337.


            11) Kimber et al. (2003). Skeletal muscle fat and carbohydrate metabolism during recovery from glycogen-depleting exercise in humans, The Journal of Physiology, 548, 919-927.

            12) Schoenfeld, B. (2011). Does cardio after an overnight fast maximize fat-loss? Strength and Conditioning Journal, 33(1), 23-25.


            13) Tesch et al. (1986). Muscle metabolism during intense, heavy-resistance exercise, European Journal of Applied Physiology and Occupational Physiology, 55(4), 362-366.

            14) Tesch et al. (1998). Skeletal muscle glycogen loss evoked by resistance exercise, Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research, 12(2), 67-73.

            15) Tremblay et al. (1994). Impact of exercise intensity on body fatness and skeletal muscle metabolism, Metabolism, 43(7), 814-818.

            16) Yoshioka et al. (2001). Impact of high intensity exercise on energy expenditure, lipid oxidation and body fatness, International Journal of Obesity, 25, 332-339.

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