Pairing Two Exercises

There’s an old Chinese saying, “Good things come in pairs,” and in the case of strength training, that maxim is 100% true. Pairing two exercises is an easy and effective way to build more muscle in less time… and MUSCLE is your most powerful weapon against aging!

The bottom line is: you don’t have all day long to stay in the gym. However, you also realize that staying healthy and keeping that body of yours in the type of prime condition that defies age and looks great in a swimsuit is also a very high priority.

So how do you balance the need to maintain your health and a great looking body with a busy schedule? Simple: What you need is time efficient training!

One of the easiest, fastest and most effective ways to achieve time efficiency in your workouts is to use pairs of exercises called “antagonistic supersets.”

An antagonistic superset is where you perform two exercises in a row for opposite (antagonistic) muscle groups with virtually no rest in between. Example: alternate chest exercises like bench presses with upper back exercises like rows. Take no rest between exercises, and rest 60 seconds after the second exercise before repeating the pair 1-2 more times.

Each repetition should be performed at the usual slow, controlled speed of 2-3 seconds during the lifting phase and 3-4 seconds during the lowering phase; it’s the rest between each exercise that gets eliminated and that’s what gives you an effective workout faster.


Superset A:

A1 Bench Press (chest) 2-3 sets, 8-12 reps A2 Seated Cable Row (upper back) 2-3 sets, 8-12 reps

Superset B:

B1 Incline Dumbbell press (upper chest) 2-3 sets, 8-12 reps B2 Lat pulldown (upper back) 2-3 sets, 8-12 reps



Bench pressA1 Bench press

Begin lying on your back on a flat bench with your feet placed firmly on the floor.

Grasp the barbell tightly with a slightly wider than shoulder width grip.

Lower the bar slowly to about mid chest level, breathing in as you lower the weight.

Press the weight back up to full arm extension, breathing out as you push up. Always use a spotter. If no spotter is available, use a vertical chest press machine instead.


Seated cable row on low pulleyA2 Seated cable row on low pulley

Sit down on the seat facing the machine and place your feet against the foot supports. Keep your knees slightly bent to take stress off your lower back and reach forward to grab the handle.

Sit upright, and from a fully extended position with your arms straight, pull the weight towards you until the handle touches your abdomen. Allow your arms to slowly extend back to the starting position. Avoid jerking the weight or leaning back excessively during the pulling phase.



Incline Dumbbell Chest PressB1 Incline Dumbbell Chest Press

Lay down on a bench with the incline set at approximately 30 to 45 degrees.

Raise the dumbbells to the starting position at arms length above your chest.

Slowly lower the dumbbells to your upper chest while inhaling during the descent. It is not necessary to lower the dumbbells below chest level as this can increase stress on the shoulder joint. Press the dumbbells back to the starting position while exhaling as you press.


Wide Grip Lat PulldownB2 Wide Grip Lat Pulldown

Grab the bar with a palms-forward, closed grip (thumbs around bar), slightly wider than shoulder width. Sit facing the weight stack with your legs underneath the thigh pads and your feet flat on the floor.

Slowly pull the weight down until the bar touches your upper chest. Leaning back slightly is fine, but avoid swinging the weight or excessive lean. With your chest up and a slight arch in your back, squeeze your upper back muscles, then slowly return the starting position.

About Susan Rogers

For Susan Rogers, the idea that there must be more to life than waking up, going to work, coming home, and going through it all again tomorrow led her leave her safe job in a health care center for the uncertain world of freelance writing. What she was going to write about was a given. The same interest in health and fitness had led to the job in the health care center originally. So these days she wakes up, heads into her home office, and writes ...