For a lot of gymgoers, one of the most important and necessary goals is getting stronger. Many take their first step toward achieving this objective by wrapping their hands around a barbell and lifting heavy weight — around or above 85% of your one-rep max — for low reps, and higher. Oftentimes they’ll add accessory training methods to the workout routine.
Every goal you shoot for in the gym needs strength as a base because the bigger your work capacity becomes, better conditioning, fat loss, and muscle-building potential soon follows. But when it comes to setting up your accessory training methods to supplement your strength training, this can be set up in a variety of ways.
Here we’ll look at the three most popular accessory training methods: supersets, tri-sets, and timed sets/circuit training. We will explain what they are and how to best use these accessory training methods to suit your current goals.
A superset is one set of an exercise is performed directly after a set of different exercises with minimal rest in between them. And they’re ideal for building muscle, fat loss and for those who have a limited amount of time to train.
There are a few types of supersets but the main ones you should be using are competing and non-competing supersets. For example:
A competing superset is when both exercises work a similar body part. This helps bring up a lagging body part like the hamstrings.
- 1A Romanian deadlift
- 1B Kettlebell swing
Non-competing supersets, pairs a lower-body exercise with an upper-body exercise. This is better for fat loss and gives you better recovery between sets. For example,:
- 1A Goblet squat
- 1B Dumbbell bench press
Trisets are pairing and performing three exercises back-to-back to back with minimal rest between each exercise. These are great for fat loss, hypertrophy, and when you haven’t a lot of time to train. Plus, having all the equipment handy will cut down on your transition time between exercises.
Trisets can be used to bring up a lagging body part. Here’s an example for shoulders:
- 1A Seated dumbbell shoulder press
- 1B Lateral raise
- 1C Stability reverse flye
Including a mobility drill after two strength exercises as an active recovery and to improve the movement of one of the strength exercises is an option. For example, hip mobility exercise for the squat:
- 1A Dumbbell front squat
- 1B Unilateral floor press
- 1C Half-kneeling hip flexor stretch
When pushed for time you can combine strength and cardio exercises to get the best of both worlds such as this example:
- 1A Lower-body exercise
- 1B Upper-body exercise
- 1C Cardiovascular exercise: 30- 60 seconds
Timed sets involve performing an exercise for a certain amount of time or completing the programmed reps in a certain amount of time before moving on to the next one. These are okay for building muscle, but they are great for fat loss and cardiovascular conditioning without the treadmill. Pairing three to five exercises in an upper body/lower body alternating circuit fashion works great for timed sets.
There are two different types of timed sets you should be concerned with.
Every minute on the minute sets where you complete a certain amount of reps and then rest the remainder of the minute before moving on to the next exercise. For example
- 1A Sumo squat: 8 reps
- 1B Bentover row: 8 reps
- 1C Goblet reverse lunge: 8 reps on each leg
- 1D Dumbbell shoulder press: 8 reps
- 1E Band pull aparts: 8 reps
Or it is you versus the stopwatch in which you to do as many reps as possible with good form in a pre-determined timeframe. Using the circuit above using the following work/rest ratios:
Work / Rest interval guidelines
- Beginner: 20 sec. work/40 sec. rest.
- Intermediate: 30 sec. work/30 sec. rest.
- Advanced: 40 sec. work/20 sec rest.