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Tips of the week supersets

Tipps der Woche Supersätze

Do an exercise that relieves pressure on your spine immediately after an exercise that puts a lot of strain on it - you will become stronger and keep your spine healthy.

The spine can be easily compressed during heavy exercise. Heavy basic exercises such as squats, standing shoulder presses and deadlifts generate a lot of pressure on the spine. This can lead to limited blood flow through the spine, reduced electrical stimulus to the muscles and even set the stage for injuries such as herniated discs.

When choosing a superset, simply combining a pulling exercise with a pressing exercise is only half the battle, as both exercises - pulling and pressing - can both compress the spine. It is important to consciously relieve the spine with the second exercise of the superset without compromising the performance of either exercise.

From a health perspective, anything from the first list can be performed very effectively with anything from the second list as a superset to address spinal compression issues. This doesn't mean that the superset will be easy in any way, but your spine will thank you for it.

Compressing exercises

  • Squats (all variations)
  • Deadlift
  • Rowing bent over
  • Sit-Up
  • Loaded Carrie
  • Jumps

Decompressing exercises

  • Pull-ups
  • Dips on parallel bars
  • Hanging leg raises
  • Cable pullovers/pulldowns with outstretched arms
  • Reverse hypers
  • Leg curls

Avoid soy protein

For bodybuilders and strength athletes, soy protein is no better than water. Here's why

From TC Luoma


About 15 years ago, I broke the news to the body development world that some studies had shown that soy resulted in testicular shrinkage and lower testosterone levels. Despite this, some people still cling to the idea that soy is a good muscle-building protein.

They at least had a leg to stand on - even if it was a short and crippled one. Their reasoning was that soy protein is different from soy in that the isoflavones associated with reducing hormone levels and testicular shrinkage are removed during processing, so finished soy protein is free of these ingredients. This may or may not be true, as some reports suggest that some brands of soy protein do indeed contain isoflavones. But regardless of which camp you support, recent studies give us another reason to avoid soy.

Soy protein is no better than water

A study conducted at McMaster University came to the conclusion that when it comes to muscle protein synthesis - i.e. building muscle - soy is no better than water, at least when we're talking about older men. The scientists gave 30 older men 0 grams of protein, 20 grams of soy and 40 grams of soy at rest and after resistance training. They then compared the results with men who had been given 20 or 40 grams of whey protein instead.

While 40 grams of soy slightly increased protein synthesis, 20 grams of soy had the same effect as 0 grams of soy, while both 20 grams and 40 grams of whey protein significantly increased muscle protein synthesis. The scientists theorized that the whey worked so well (and the soy did not) because whey had a higher content of leucine, which is the amino acid primarily responsible for muscle building. At the same time, a higher percentage of the amino acids contained in soy, including leucine, were oxidized and were therefore no longer available for protein synthesis.

So if you want to build muscle, it's best to avoid soy protein.

Change your repetition ranges for mass and strength

There are better set and repetition schemes than 3x10, especially if your gains have stalled. Give the following a chance

By Christian Thibaudeau


Sure, three sets of 8 to 10 reps will work. And if you have good genetics, this can give you useful results. But don't you want more than "useful" results? There are other repetition ranges that will help you. And more importantly, changing the rep ranges you use every 4 to 6 weeks will lead to better progress in both mass and strength gains than sticking with the same type of stimulation month after month.

4 New repetition ranges you can try

  1. 4 to 6 reps at 80 to 87% of your max weight. This will stimulate a lot of body-wide growth and also help you achieve the strength to match. And as if that wasn't enough, you'll also look more solid and harder - even at rest.
  2. 1 to 3 with 90 to 100% of your maximum weight. This may not help you bulk up on its own, but it will make everything you do that day (after the heavy workout) more effective by increasing the recruitment of high threshold muscle fibers that are more receptive to growth. This zone will also help you get stronger faster than anything else. Don't do this for too long - 3 weeks is just about right. Your joints could become quite stressed if you are not used to heavy training.
  3. Rest/pause sets. These will require you to work extra hard and learn to deal with pain, but these sets will help you gain more mass than any other method you can use. Choose a weight that allows you to perform 6 reps with solid form. Do your 6 reps, pause for 5 to 10 seconds and then continue the set with the same weight and try to do 2 to 4 more reps. Then if you suddenly find that you've grown some balls, add another 5 to 10 seconds of rest and try to do another 2 to 4 reps.
  4. Clusters. No other method will increase your strength as quickly. Each cluster set consists of 4 to 6 total repetitions. Choose a weight with which you could normally perform 3 repetitions with good form. Perform one repetition at a time on this set. Perform one repetition, put the weight down, and pause for 10 to 12 seconds. Do another repetition, pause for 10 to 12 seconds and continue in this way until you reach the point where you can't do another repetition. If you can do more than 6 repetitions, increase the weight. Perform 3 of these clusters and you're well on your way to stimulating tons of strength gains. And because of the volume, you'll also build muscle mass.

Make Bulgarian split squats even harder

Use these exercises and you'll be able to move more weight for more reps on squats


By Bret Contreras

Single-leg exercises allow you to achieve a level of joint torque and muscle activation similar to what you can achieve with double-leg exercises, but with less stress on the spine. And if you're weak in single-leg exercises, any strength gains will transfer to bilateral training.

Here's one of the best single-leg exercises that will help you with squats. It will also improve your single-leg stability and mobility through a greater range of motion.

Bulgarian split squats performed with dumbbells with the front foot elevated(

- Place the front foot on a 5 to 10 centimeter high elevation, which can consist of planks, mats or an aerobic step.
- Hold a dumbbell in each hand. Place the other foot on a weight bench behind you. Most of the weight (about 80%) should be on the front foot, while the rest of your weight (20%) should be on the back foot.
- While keeping your torso as upright as possible, lower your body in a controlled manner until your knee lightly touches the floor.
- Then use your front leg to push yourself back up to the starting position. Keep your head, pelvis and spine in a neutral position throughout the movement.
- Do not allow the knee to move too far forward in front of the body or your toes to move from side to side. If you are prone to knee pain, move further back and keep your shin in a vertical position throughout the movement.

Avoid these mistakes:

  • Using too high a step for the front leg, which would alter the technique.
  • Losing control during part of the movement.
  • Not touching the floor with the knee and thereby reducing the range of motion.
  • Using a bench that is too high, which can cause pain in the hip or groin.
  • Standing on your toes.

Perform HIIT followed by cardio training at a consistent intensity

Intervals mobilize body fat. Follow with cardio at a consistent intensity to ensure the fat is burned.

By Clay Hyght, DC


HIIT, High-Intensity Interval Training, mobilizes and burns a lot of fat from your fat stores. It's super effective in that regard, but just because fat is mobilized and enters the bloodstream doesn't mean it's burned. That's right, you can mobilize a lot of fat through intervals and a lot of it can go back to where it came from.

Consistent intensity cardio isn't nearly as effective as HIIT when it comes to mobilizing fat from fat stores, but it's really effective when it comes to burning the triglycerides that are still in your bloodstream after high-intensity intervals. Cardio training at a consistent intensity performed after HIIT provides insurance that the fat that has been mobilized will be burned.

How you can put this strategy into practice

Perform at least 20 minutes of cardio training at a constant intensity after your intervals. The intervals can last between 10 and 20 minutes.

Here are a few examples: If you have 30 minutes available for your cardio workout, try 10 minutes of HIIT followed by 20 minutes of cardio at a steady intensity. If you have an hour available, try 20 minutes of HIIT followed by 40 minutes of cardio training at a constant intensity.

As for the type of cardio training, you can let your imagination run wild. Try 20 minutes of intervals on the stepper, immediately followed by 40 minutes of walking on the treadmill with a slight incline. If you're doing your cardio outside, you could try sprints immediately followed by walking or jogging.

Perform this 2 minute drill before each training session

Wake up your nervous system before exercise to recruit more muscle fibers

By Chad Waterbury


Your nervous system controls your muscles. The problem, however, is that many of us stagger into the gym either straight after work or in a semi-coma right after getting up in the morning. When you are half asleep, so is your nervous system. This significantly impairs your ability to generate maximum power with each exercise. A lazy nervous system keeps you from recruiting more muscle fibers.

Here is a simple way to solve this problem. Before you start your actual training session, get your nervous system going using the following exercises:

  • 1 minute of jumping rope
    • 15 seconds rest
  • Run at maximum speed for 10 seconds or perform squats using only your own body weight for 10 seconds.
    • 15 seconds rest
  • Hang from a pull-up bar for 15 seconds

This series of exercises should only take you 2 minutes. The first two exercises will wake up your nervous system and hanging will open up the intervertebral space of your spine to improve nerve conduction to your muscles. Do this before every training session and you will see results.

Take on the Texas push-up challenge

Think you're good at push-ups? Here's your chance to find out if that's true

By Chris Shugart


Here's how the whole thing works:

  1. Start in a standing position.
  2. Get into the push-up position and perform one repetition of push-ups.
  3. Stand up again quickly.
  4. Return to the push-up position and perform two push-ups.
  5. Stand up again quickly.
  6. Return to the push-up position and perform three push-ups.

Repeat this pattern until you have performed 10 push-ups in the last set. So you will end up doing a total of 55 push-ups, standing up between sets and trying not to pause.

The challenge

  • Goal 1: Just try to complete all sets. If you can do this, then congratulations, your performance is adequate.
  • Goal 2: Finish all sets in less than two minutes. Achieve this and you can brag - at least a little.
  • Goal 3: Now it gets personal. From this point on, try to beat your previous time. Or get some friends together and see who finishes first.

Tips and guidelines

Do all push-ups through the full range of motion - none of that partial repetition stuff. Most people run into a wall around set 7 or 8, so don't get cocky if the sixth set still feels easy. Pride comes before a fall. If you have to pause for more than a few seconds between sets, then you haven't made it. Try again at another time.

Take the Texas push-up challenge on non-training days or do them first thing on the day you train your chest muscles. In the latter case, you should shorten your chest workout slightly, as you will perform 55 intense push-ups at the beginning of your normal training session.


from Lee Boyce

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