If you want to spend less time in the gym, you'll need to superset your workouts and get more done in less time.
Not too long ago I received a question from a person who was using supersets (I already congratulated her on the choice to make her workouts as efficient as possible in the short amount of gym time she had).
"I was wondering how long I can use this supersetting system. Is it possible to overtrain even with 2 sessions a week? Will my body eventually adapt also to this system and should I break the routine for a month or so?"
Supersets are an excellent way to get more done in less time. There's simply no doubt about that. And if you only have 2 times a week, it's the best way to approach training. There's no fooling around, no social chatter. You just get in and get out. But let's suppose...
If these workouts done correctly they are 10x more intense and mentally challenging then regular routines where you see a person do an exercise, rest, do it again, rest, etc.
But first, let me give you a well deserved 'nice job!' for choosing to make the most of your time in the gym. You are getting more work done and by choosing supersets, you have made your routines more efficient.
Can you over-train with this method?
Really, if you are hitting all the body parts you can, twice a week, and keeping your workouts to 60 minutes or less, you probably are not in danger of overtraining. You might not get enough rest between sessions but if you feel you are able to keep up, you feel rested and not sore, then it's probably just fine. Don't fix what isn't broken.
Some Overtraining Symptoms:
Fatigue * Blood sugar imbalances * Menstrual or other hormone imbalances * Anxiety * Slight dizziness * Elevated heart rates (especially upon waking) * Depression * Insomnia
Will your body adapt to supersetting?
In a nutshell, no. No more then any other routine.
As long as you keep your routines varied, then your body won't have a chance to adapt. The only routine that I don't recommend anybody do for a long period of time is lifting heavy.
Heavy training, while it might always challenge your body, puts a lot of stress on tendons and joints. Taking a break from that training is a good idea.
But supersetting is getting more done in less time and with less weight (because you can't do your heaviest weight when you are moving around so much right?).
Even with supersets, your body will adapt if you keep doing the same supersets.
Here's what I personally do.
Every time I go to the gym I have a plan. I know I'm going to work certain body parts.
But the exercises I will do that session are always different. There's no way my body can adapt because there's simply no set routine.
I'm using the principles of supersetting but I'm not doing a 'routine' so there's nothing to adapt to.
If you don't give your body a reason to grow and change it won't.
At the same time, if you don't give your body a reason to adapt and it won't.
If you always start off with the same supersets, same weight, same reps, same tempo, your body will adapt.
It's as simple as just keeping it fresh with new exercises, new tempos, more reps, less reps, change the weight, change the order of the exercises.
If you do that, then I can promise that your body will not ever adapt because there's so much change, it cannot fall into the typical routine slump.
Variation is the key to avoiding the dreaded plateau! That's where many people end up and it's where the most frustration occurs. They stop making any forward progress at all. Sometimes for weeks and sometimes for years. I've been there. It's not a destination I want to visit again.
Now here's the next step,...
How long should you do supersets before your body adapts to them?
If you've been reading with me so far, you can do supersets for as long as you want! The main focus of that routine is that it's not a routine per se (so there's no adaptation) and it's using principles to get more done in less time using intensity techniques to make the exercise harder (not easier).
Your body will have every reason to grow and change to keep up with what you are doing.
Unlike some routines that you should only do for 6 weeks or so, supersets are a training principle that you can do for years with great results as long as your supersets don't become routines themselves.
Supersets are not hard on your body physically, so while I still recommend a training break every 8-10 weeks or so, it's not the same as heavy lifting which can take its toll on you after years of doing it.
So that's why...
There's no reason to drop supersets ever from your workouts IF you enjoy them and they are working for you. Just don't let your supersets become a routine themselves and you will avoid that plateau and many other common beginning bodybuilding mistakes.
Dane Fletcher is the world-wide authority on training, nutrition, and supplements. To build muscle fast, he recommends the world class steroid alternatives from GetAnabolics.com instead of illegal anabolics.