Supersets of Pairing of Proper Exercises?

What most people think of when they hear supersets is taking any 2 exercises and doing them back to back with little to no rest in between.

While that is true there is another factor that must be considered.  Supersets consist of grouping 2 exercises that work the same muscle groups, or work the same movement pattern back to back.  For example: Seated Rows paired with Bent over Dumbell Rows.  Both exercises work similar muscles groups and can therefore be classified as a “Superset”.


Now what I really wanted to discuss today is the Pairing of Proper Exercises according to your body’s Joint by Joint Approach.  The Joint by Joint Approach is all about distinguishing the Body’s joints between Mobility Joints and Stability Joints.

The joints in the body alternate between Mobility and Stability like so (starting from the bottom):

Ankle: Mobility

Knee: Stability

Hip: Mobility (multi-planar)

Lumbar Spine: Stability

Thoracic Spine: Mobility

Scapula: Stability

Gleno-Humeral (Shoulder Girdle): Mobility


So since this is the way that your joints work, this is the way you would train them.  And if one of the mobility joints is dysfunctional or lacking mobility, then it can compromise then stable joint.  For example: Poor hip mobility causes low back pain, and poor ankle mobility causes knee pain.


Back to exercise pairing.  What I like to do for the stability joints is perform an exercise to work the joints stabilizers, and pair it with an exercise that reinforces the stabilizing pattern.

Perfect example:  I have a client who lacks both hip stability and mobility (hips can act as both), as well as lacking single leg strength (he has trouble standing after being on the floor).  So I have him paired up to do Half Kneeling Belly Presses paired with TRX Bottom Up Split Squats.  The Belly Presses work the hip/core stabilizers in the split squat pattern, then I have him perform the assisted pattern as a reinforcement tool.

Here is a video showing the Half Kneeling Belly Press.  See how he has to use his core/glutes to help keep his hips stable when he is working against the weight of the cable.


The next video is the exercise I paired him with the belly press, the TRX Bottom Up Split Squat.  I like to use the bottom up split squat when working with older clients because it starts the client in the proper split squat form, then ask them to stand up keeping the torso erect   The TRX is an additional assistance tool because it gives the client the ability to perform the exercise in the proper pattern with less of an external load (in this case their body weight).  


Its important to pair exercises like this in order to correct and reinforce proper movement patterns.  And having proper movement patterns will allow you to feel better and hopefully be pain free.



One thought on “Supersets of Pairing of Proper Exercises?

  1. Pingback: Is Your Programming where it should be? | Chris Tangredi CSCS

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