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The Metabolic Costs of Reciprocal Supersets vs. Traditional Resistance Exercise in Young Recreationally Active Adults

Kelleher, Andrew R; Hackney, Kyle J; Fairchild, Timothy J; Keslacy, Stefan; Ploutz-Snyder, Lori L

The Journal of Strength & Conditioning Research: April 2010 - Volume 24 - Issue 4 - p 1043-1051
doi: 10.1519/JSC.0b013e3181d3e993
Original Research

Kelleher, AR, Hackney, KJ, Fairchild, TJ, Keslacy, S, and Ploutz-Snyder, LL. The metabolic costs of reciprocal supersets vs. traditional resistance exercise in young recreationally active adults. J Strength Cond Res 24(4): 1043-1051, 2010-An acute bout of traditional resistance training (TRAD) increases energy expenditure (EE) both during exercise and in the postexercise period. Reciprocal supersets (SUPERs) are a method of resistance training that alternates multiple sets of high-intensity agonist-antagonist muscle groups with limited recovery. The purpose of this study was to compare the energy cost of SUPERs and TRAD both during and in the postexercise period. We hypothesized that SUPERs would produce greater exercise EE relative to the duration of exercise time and greater excess postexercise oxygen consumption (EPOC) than TRAD of matched work. Ten recreationally active, young men each participated in 2 exercise protocols: SUPER, followed 1 week later by TRAD matched within using a 10-repetition maximum load for 6 exercises, 4 sets, and repetitions. Participants were measured for oxygen consumption and blood lactate concentration during exercise and 60 minutes postexercise after each exercise bout. No significant differences were observed in aerobic exercise EE between trials (SUPER 1,009.99 ± 71.42 kJ; TRAD 954.49 ± 83.31 kJ); however, when expressed relative to time, the exercise EE was significantly greater during SUPER (34.70 ± 2.97 kJ·min−1) than TRAD (26.28 ± 2.43 kJ·min−1). Excess postexercise oxygen consumption was significantly greater after SUPER (79.36 ± 7.49 kJ) over TRAD (59.67 ± 8.37 kJ). Average blood lactate measures were significantly greater during SUPER (5.1 ± 0.9 mmol·L−1) than during TRAD (3.8 ± 0.6 mmol·L−1). Reciprocal supersets produced greater exercise kJ·min−1, blood lactate, and EPOC than did TRAD. Incorporating this method of resistance exercise may benefit exercisers attempting to increase EE and have a fixed exercise volume with limited exercise time available.

Musculoskeletal and Human Performance Laboratories, Department of Exercise Science, Syracuse University, Syracuse, New York

Address correspondence to Andrew Kelleher,

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