Superset vs circuit: comparing both training styles

Superset vs circuit

In this post, we are going to discuss the difference between superset vs circuit training. 

Circuit training and supersets are both very effective tools to use, knowing when and how to use each if important. We will be comparing both. 

What’s the difference between superset vs circuit training?

Superset training is performing back-to-back exercises without rest, these exercises target muscles in opposing groups. Circuit training means going through each of your planned exercises in succession before resting and repeating it. 

That’s the barebones definition but if you want to know more keep reading to break down the benefits of each and how to do them. 

Superset benefits

1. Reduce workout time

Because supersetting combines two exercises before a rest period, your total workout session time can decrease substantially. 

If you have three 1 minute rest periods per exercise, you can save 3 minutes per supersetted exercise. That adds up quickly and is perfect for those short on time.

2. Increased intensity

If you are looking to hit a goal that requires you to ramp up the intensity, supersetting is a valuable option. 

If increasing the weight is unreasonable or undesirable at the moment, supersetting can be used instead. 

Doing two exercises that are in the same muscle group will have you benefit from effects somewhat similar to drop setting. 

Your body will have a substantially increased time under tension and that can lead to increased muscle growth and/or muscle endurance.

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They also have a wide adjustable range of resistance training equipment that can fit well in any routine including ones with supersets. 

Circuit training Benefits

1. Also time efficient

Just like supersets, circuit training saves time by reducing the amount of rest. Arguably to a greater amount. 

If you do 3 rounds of your circuit plan, you will only have 2 – 3 short rest periods.

You can easily get a full gym session done in 30 minutes this way.

How’s that for a time saver?

2. Cardiovascular health

One of the most well-known differences between a superset vs circuit training is that circuit training really gets your heart pumping as if you went on a jog. 

Circuits usually include more active exercises like plyometrics which can really feel like cardio one after the other. 

The benefits of cardio are well documented; improved heart health, weight loss, improved sleep, etc.

If that seems a bit too much, learn how you can use a light form of cardio in walking, to lose weight easier.

How to do a Superset

Incorporating a superset into your routine is quite simple.

Let’s say you are working on your upper muscle groups one day. 

You can then superset a chest exercise with one for your back as they are both in opposing muscle groups. 

An example of this can be a bench press followed by a row.

On a lower body day, this can be done as well, a quad exercise can be followed by a hamstring one. 

An example of this is a squat with a good morning right after.

How to do a circuit

Another key difference between a superset vs circuit is that circuits take more effort to create.

Circuit training typically does not involve heavy weights and is more geared towards individuals on a time crunch or who aim for general health improvement or increased endurance and cardio.

It’s important to choose exercises and variables such as reps and weight that can be reasonably done in quick succession. 

Having to adjust your equipment between exercises defeats the purpose of zero rest periods.

It is also unlikely you can use your normal weight for exercises without rest.

So as a starting point, you can choose exercises for your routine such as body weight, light compound lifts, agility, or power movements. 

Superset vs circuit training: which to choose

Ok if you got this far, you are probably trying to figure out which training style to choose. 

It all varies from person to person but generally speaking, supersets can be used for those looking to increase the intensity and build muscle.

Circuits are great to keep you healthy in general and increase your cardiovascular health.

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