# Improving on Supersets

I’m supersetting heavy rows with fat-man pull-ups, and yesterday I noticed as I increased 5 pounds on the heavy rows, the total reps of fat-man pull-ups dropped a few reps. Consequently, I dropped a few reps on chins later in the workout.

My question is, am I still improving if I increase weight on a heavy lift early in the workout, but reps drop in some exercises that follow?

Any insight?

Yes. If you have three exercises and perform 7 reps of each for a total of 21 reps then add two reps to only the first exercise, you’ve now performed 23 reps.

As long as your other exercise weights stay the same you’re good.

It’d be hard to improve on all three at the same time. Not impossible but difficult and not required by any means.

[quote]derek wrote:
Yes. If you have three exercises and perform 7 reps of each for a total of 21 reps then add two reps to only the first exercise, you’ve now performed 23 reps.

As long as your other exercise weights stay the same you’re good.

It’d be hard to improve on all three at the same time. Not impossible but difficult and not required by any means.[/quote]

I didn’t necessarily mean total reps but instead, increasing weight on the first exercise and LOSING reps (with the same weight as the previous week) in a following exercise.

Exercise 1 weight x reps +
Exercise 2 weight x reps +
Exercise 3 weight x reps =
total volume

For example:

Rows: 100 lbs x 10 reps = 1000
FMP: 150 lbs x 5 reps = 750
Chins: 200 lbs x 5 reps = 1000
Total volume: 2750 pound-reps

Rows: 110 lbs x 10 reps = 1100
FMP: 150 lbs x 3 reps = 450
Chins: 200 lbs x 3 reps = 600
Total volume: 2050 pound-reps

So in this case, you’d be doing less total work. That doesn’t mean that this is true for you, though, since these numbers are totally made up.

Calculating the working load for the fat man pullups might be tricky; you might be able to get close using some trig.

Trig in bodybuilding?

Please don’t allow your training to get this complicated. It totally ruins all that bodybuilding means. When bodybuilding becomes too much of a science and too little of an art, it becomes stiff and boring, take it from someone who knows.

Just try to get more weight, more reps or a combo. Sometimes you will sometimes you wont, don’t obsess over any of it.

yes, your performing fewer reps but stress is higher because of the higher weights. your endurance might suffer a lil bit but stick with it until your volume gets back to what is was before, then increase weight again…etc.

oh and this is probably pretty applicable too: maybe you just had a bad workout. you can’t expect every workout to be top-notch ya know? different confounding variables could cause a workout to be subpar. i say stick with the weight increase though.

[quote]That One Guy wrote:
yes, your performing fewer reps but stress is higher because of the higher weights. your endurance might suffer a lil bit but stick with it until your volume gets back to what is was before, then increase weight again…etc.[/quote]

Thats what I was thinking. I’ll stick with the increase in weight until the later reps get back to normal. Thanks.

[quote]derek wrote:
Trig in bodybuilding?

Please don’t allow your training to get this complicated. It totally ruins all that bodybuilding means. When bodybuilding becomes too much of a science and too little of an art, it becomes stiff and boring, take it from someone who knows.

Just try to get more weight, more reps or a combo. Sometimes you will sometimes you wont, don’t obsess over any of it.[/quote]

Nah man, i calculate my volume. Admittedly, it isnt this complicated as that example, but it is a very good way to make sure you progress more than not.

In the way we increase weight and drop reps, our volume actually drops significantly, so it is necessary to add a set maybe when the reps are low for a couple of weeks after a weight increase…

If you dont calculate volume, you assume you are progressing weekly if you add weight or reps - but if you drop the reps (as you do) when you add the weight, the volume goes waaay down.
In reality, you do not, inreality you end up with the same volume of work (reps by weight) as always!! Just adding weight will NOT progress you if the reps drop. It is when the reps rise with the new weight that you get your progression, and most of the time, that progression is only making up the volume you dropped with the initial weight increase!! Its true, my log book does this if i dnt really push to keep the reps up with a new weight.

It is actually that complicated (i know you know this Derek…) but for someone like this - it neednt be. Is that what you mean, or do you genuinely think it shouldnt be that complicated?
I always did until i looked deeper, and found that the natural progression of things had serious flaws. The body will NOT progress (mine at least!) unless i push it seriously, deliberately and regularly.

I’m not picking a fight, but IME this is the case (obviously not for clients who either are not as serious/different goals - or have been training 6 years or less seriously - for them, that simple progression will work. I just mean eventually it does get that complicated)

You disagree?

Joe

[quote]rjay2510 wrote:
That One Guy wrote:
yes, your performing fewer reps but stress is higher because of the higher weights. your endurance might suffer a lil bit but stick with it until your volume gets back to what is was before, then increase weight again…etc.

Thats what I was thinking. I’ll stick with the increase in weight until the later reps get back to normal. Thanks. [/quote]

If the reps drop by 2 or so… no biggie, you’ll make them up an a workout. (Make sure you do!)
But if the reps are dropping by 6, 7 etc then i would add a rest/pause set to keep the work up more.

That is just me though!

Joe

[quote]thomas.galvin wrote:

Exercise 1 weight x reps +
Exercise 2 weight x reps +
Exercise 3 weight x reps =
total volume

For example:

Rows: 100 lbs x 10 reps = 1000
FMP: 150 lbs x 5 reps = 750
Chins: 200 lbs x 5 reps = 1000
Total volume: 2750 pound-reps

Rows: 110 lbs x 10 reps = 1100
FMP: 150 lbs x 3 reps = 450
Chins: 200 lbs x 3 reps = 600
Total volume: 2050 pound-reps

So in this case, you’d be doing less total work. That doesn’t mean that this is true for you, though, since these numbers are totally made up.

Calculating the working load for the fat man pullups might be tricky; you might be able to get close using some trig.[/quote]

I agree with Derek on the Trig though! Jesus, you serious?!
Trigonometry in the gym? noooo way! you are a maths teacher or something arent you, trying to prove WE WILL NEED IT IN REAL LIFE!!!

Joe

trying to prove WE WILL NEED IT IN REAL LIFE!!!

Joe[/quote]

too true.

[quote]Joe Joseph wrote:
I’m not picking a fight, but IME this is the case (obviously not for clients who either are not as serious/different goals - or have been training 6 years or less seriously - for them, that simple progression will work. I just mean eventually it does get that complicated)

You disagree?

Joe[/quote]

I know you’re not picking a fight, that’s cool to say though!

Yeah, I do disagree with a lot of the mathmatics and calculations. I think it has a much more specific application to powerlifting or O-lifting than bodybuilding.

Off the top of my head, I can’t think of any champion bodybuilder that needed to use trig or a calculator to get huge.

We all love Ronnie Coleman and agree on his greatness but does anyone think he sits down at the computer with a spreadsheet to figure out weather or not he’s progressing?

Use a scale for weekly bodyweight checks, a mirror for body composition checks and a notebook to see if you’re getting stronger and screw everything else.

If the supersetted routine you’re on makes your brain hurt and you feel the need for help in calculating your progression, perhaps a simpler routine is in order.

Here’s my checklist if it helps (no sarcasm intended).

1. Getting stronger?

2. Staying lean enough for your own taste/goals?

3. Gaining weight?

There’s the three factors you need to progress. Everything else is just a waste of brain power and will quickly suck the fun out of bodybuilding.

The OP’s avatar says it all. I never heard Arnold talking about percentages, trig or anything other that working for the “pump”. None of those guys did.

Dorian Yates, known to be one of the more insightful, intellegent and analytical bodybuilders of all time didn’t get into those types of things.

[quote]derek wrote:
Joe Joseph wrote:
I’m not picking a fight, but IME this is the case (obviously not for clients who either are not as serious/different goals - or have been training 6 years or less seriously - for them, that simple progression will work. I just mean eventually it does get that complicated)

You disagree?

Joe

I know you’re not picking a fight, that’s cool to say though!

Yeah, I do disagree with a lot of the mathmatics and calculations. I think it has a much more specific application to powerlifting or O-lifting than bodybuilding.

Off the top of my head, I can’t think of any champion bodybuilder that needed to use trig or a calculator to get huge.

We all love Ronnie Coleman and agree on his greatness but does anyone think he sits down at the computer with a spreadsheet to figure out weather or not he’s progressing?

Use a scale for weekly bodyweight checks, a mirror for body composition checks and a notebook to see if you’re getting stronger and screw everything else.

If the supersetted routine you’re on makes your brain hurt and you feel the need for help in calculating your progression, perhaps a simpler routine is in order.

Here’s my checklist if it helps (no sarcasm intended).

1. Getting stronger?

2. Staying lean enough for your own taste/goals?

3. Gaining weight?

There’s the three factors you need to progress. Everything else is just a waste of brain power and will quickly suck the fun out of bodybuilding.

The OP’s avatar says it all. I never heard Arnold talking about percentages, trig or anything other that working for the “pump”. None of those guys did.

Dorian Yates, known to be one of the more insightful, intellegent and analytical bodybuilders of all time didn’t get into those types of things.[/quote]

Absolutely agree in the three points. 100%. BUT… I think you would be surprised… maybe not the bodybuilders you mentioned (i CANNOT see coleman sitting at a computer full stop, can you?! Nor Arnold doing anything other than going “auuuustrian ooooaak”) but i am SURE there are successful pro and amateur BB’s who add their volume… i even got a couple links for you from… wait for it… THIS SITE!! AAAGARRrrargghh!! lol!

It is a really quick, and simple (for some of us) way to ENSURE progression is moving in the exact way you want. Do you write the actual minimum reps you need to achieve in your next workout? Well if you do, then doing these simple (addition, multiplication and division) sums will make sure that the reps you put in are above the total load lifted in the previous workout!
But to each his own, and i am not saying no results or lesser results are from your neanderthal ways;), just that doing this is covering ANOTHER angle ensuring the fastest possible progression.

Haha!

http://www.T-Nation.com/article/bodybuilding/4_guaranteed_tips&cr=

(read the volume bit Derek, you may just be converted!)

Joe

[quote]Joe Joseph wrote:

(read the volume bit Derek, you may just be converted!)

Joe[/quote]

I checked out the link, that’s really basic stuff, good to know especially when just getting your feet wet.

I cannot really be “converted” to anything because I’ve tried just about every training style along with several of my own over the past 23 years or so, I’ve been through it all.

I know what works for me but more importantly, I know what doesn’t. I’ve traveled from Arnold’s high volume approach to Mentzer/Jones to Westside to John Davies to Bill Starr’s 5x5. And speaking of the 5x5, you don’t get too much more precise than that schedule, I still have my spreadsheet on my computer complete with weights calculated on percentages of my 1RM all the way out to 9 weeks.

And of COURSE I pick a rep range and stick with it (until my 3 checks aren’t being hit). I have a style that I’ve found that works better than others and I keep within certain parameters 90% of the time.

I also know what food to eat MOST of the time.

We weren’t talking about simple checks to keep on track, we were talking “load x reps x sets” etc., etc. We were talking about the exact kind of calculations that will eventually steal the joy out from underneath your bodybuilding persuits.

Keeping a log, a daily record of what you’ve done in order to get another rep or another 5lbs on the bar isn’t what we are discussing here (IMO). I believe in THAT 100% and you can see that covered in my 3-point checklist.

Besides those three checks (kept in a logbook) what else do you need?

in that case. i agree. I do add my volume but that is all, as a double check if you like!

Nope, i agree! lol!

Joe