The advantages of training antagonistic muscles with supersets: from body building to the new Selection 700 Line

To move, our body needs a complex system of levers, which operate in unison and ensure efficient and safe movements. The main movements of the skeletal segments are activated by the so-called agonist muscles, which shorten to generate a contraction and the consequent movement of the skeletal lever. These muscles work in synergy with the antagonist muscles, which complement the movement of the agonist muscles by operating in an opposing fashion.  For the execution of many movements, we can therefore speak of various pairs of muscles, defined as antagonistic muscles.
Stress one muscle to relax the other
Antagonistic muscles always work in synergy: when one of the muscles contracts, the other relaxes. The most common example of antagonistic muscles are the biceps and the triceps. As the agonist muscle contracts, the antagonist relaxes, helping to manage and regulate the movement of the former.

Training antagonistic muscles with supersets

So what are these antagonistic muscles?  The most important are:

  • Abductor / Adductor
  • Biceps / Triceps
  • Pectoral / Latissimus
  • Quadriceps / Hamstrings

Since the antagonistic muscles works in synergy, it is important that both muscles are equally trained. This can be done in succession, thus ending all the series dedicated to a muscle and then move on to the training of its antagonist, or in supersets', thus alternating agonist and antagonist muscles exercises.

Excessive pressure on the elbow joints may cause pain
An imbalance of strength in one of the two muscles of the pair can cause muscle imbalances that then affect both the quality of movement and the flexibility and stability of the joint.

The advantages of training antagonistic muscles with supersets

The benefits of training with supersets have gained considerable notoriety since the 1970s thanks to Arnold Schwarzenegger. However, the main reason for executing these ‘supersets’ is not due to the search for muscle balance of antagonistic muscles, but rather to the fact that it is a very effective technique for muscle growth.

Superset training is a high intensity technique and its fundamental benefits are:

  • It significantly stimulates intramuscular metabolic stress prompting muscle growth.
  • It increases the testosterone peak when compared to traditional training for the same volume.
  • It saves time by maintaining high volume of work while reducing or eliminating recovery time.

It is interesting to note that the supersets technique has raised scientific interest and has been studied in numerous scientific works. For example, a 2010 study by Dr Daniel Robbins demonstrated the time efficiency of superset training. In the experiment, 16 trained males performed two traction and thrust exercises; the control group in the traditional way and the experimental group with the supersets technique. The study showed that supersets, in the face of a reduction in duration, did not compromise the quality of training evaluated through electromyography.

A low 40 kg load
Similarly, there is also a theoretical basis that the alternation of antagonistic muscles exercises has a positive effect on muscle development. In a 2005 study conducted by Dr Dean Baker, 24 rugby players, divided into an experiment group and a control group, were invited to perform a power test on the flat bench. The experimental group alternated the main movement with a traction exercise for the antagonist muscles to those trained on the flat bench.  The results saw a significant increase of 4.7% in muscle power expressed by the experimental group and no change in the control group, highlighting the importance of training both muscles in the antagonistic pair in order to develop muscle power.
If you want to test power, go for a team of well trained rugby players
Also interesting is a 2010 study by Dr Kelleher on energy expenditure induced by superset training. A group of 5 people trained with supersets, while another 5 people maintained a traditional training regime. Oxygen consumption and lactic acid concentration in the blood were measured during the training session and 60 minutes after the end of the session. When expressed in relation to time, the energy expenditure throughout the workout was significantly higher during supersets than during traditional training. This demonstrates the effectiveness of supersets training when the goal is to burn energy in a limited period of time.

Training antagonistic muscles with the new Selection 700 Line and Dual equipment

The owner of a gym or fitness centre will surely be interested to know that the new Technogym Selection 700 Line presents features and advantages, not only in terms of training quality, but also in terms of space and design.

The training of antagonistic muscles in supersets is in fact a growing trend among gym users and it remains one of the most effective workouts for muscle development. Yet, if a gym user aims to perform a proper superset, the location of the machines inside the fitness centre could present an unexpected obstacle.

A user who wants to do a supersets workout will need various plate-loaded machines, often far from each other. In addition, it will be necessary to set these up before completing the set. Moving time and the need to use multiple machines frustrates the goal of supersets training. The scenario just described excludes other external events. For example, another user may be using one of the machines needed for the series.

To this end, the new Selection 700 Line, especially in its Dual products, offers a space-saving solution that allows the user to perform two different exercises on the same machine. In this way, it is possible to train the antagonistic muscles without compromising the biomechanics, and offering all the benefits of a real supersets workout.

The Dual products within the Selection 700 Line are:

  • The Dual Pectoral / Reverse Fly: this machine is aimed at the pectorals, posterior deltoids and scapular muscles, thanks to the double adjustment and perfect ergonomics.
  • The Dual Leg Extension / Seated Leg Curl: this machine allows training quadriceps and hamstrings optimally on a single equipment, simply by adjusting the initial position of the resistance pads.
  • The Dual Abductor / Adductor: with this machine, it is possible to quickly switch from abduction to adduction movements for the complete training of the internal and external thigh

With this solution, gyms owners and managers can halve the space needed for training, making the Selection 700 Dual Line the perfect solution for gyms with limited space and for users looking for specific training routines.

Based on these two principles - efficiency and space-saving measures - the latest Technogym circuit training device is Biocircuit, a complete circuit of interconnected machines. In Biocircuit, the machines guide the user from one location to another, as well as to pre-set themselves based on the biometric parameters the user has input.

This allows you to minimize the break times from one station to another and for 12 people to train simultaneously, each following its own weighted training program.

The real strength of Biocircuit in fact is the ability to customize the resistances, which allows the user to develop customized training programs based on the objectives that the user wants to pursue. Whether your goal is to begin physical activity for the first time, tone your body or prepare it for athletic performance, Biocircuit has a specific training program made for you.
If you are looking for total body training in a single machine, Skillrow is the rowing machine developed by Technogym that allows the development of endurance and muscle power, all complemented by an app that offers engaging, fun and above all effective training formats.
Skillrow, with its MULTIDRIVE Technology, allows you to train muscle power or endurance: simply by modulating the resistance, you can change your training from cardiovascular to power training.

In other words, with just one piece of equipment you can train not only your entire body, but also test your limits on multiple types of routines!

With Skillrow app, the user can choose between different types of workout aimed at improving physical or athletic performance. Finally, by interconnecting more Skillrows, it is possible to set up Races, internal competitions where users can challenge each other both individually or in teams.

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