Tuesday, July 02 2019

Heat up the pool with some fast-paced superset training that not only trains muscles but also burns calories.  Superset training is popular in the gym because it keeps the action moving with sets that are performed without rest.   Fitmotivation aqua instructor, Miff Hendriksen, shares an aqua superset template that provides a challenge while delivering results.

In the gym, superset training typically involves alternating two different exercises with no rest in between.  For example, the leg extension machine targeting quads could be be alternated with the leg curl machine targeting hamstrings.  According to an article in Shape Magazine, strategically putting exercises together can boost performance, build muscle and endurance, burn fat and cut your workout time in half.  Research has shown that superset training burns more calories than traditional resistance training. 


Superset training typically involves training antagonist or opposing muscle groups such as quads and hamstrings or biceps and triceps.  However, supersets can also be set up as compound sets (agonist) where both exercises work the same muscle groups.  The perfect example of this is in the video, Ready S.E.T. Go!  in which Fitmotivation aqua instructor, Stephanie Thielen pairs two exercises for each major muscle group.  One exercise is performed static for strength and the other is performed dynamically for endurance.  Fitness professionals can also design unrelated supersets that feature two exercises for totally different muscle groups. 


Adapted for water, Miff expands the superset model to include FIVE different exercises for TWO different muscle groups.  The expanded model adds cardio (dynamic) muscle moves to the isolated (static) strength moves to accommodate chillier pool temperatures.  Designing the template in this manner transforms traditional muscle conditioning into a cardio toning water workout. The extra sets also reflect more of focus on combining upper and lower body rather than just targeting opposing muscle groups.  “The water’s resistance already does a great job of working muscle pairs,” says Miff.  However, the exercise selection in the first four supersets still reflects an adherence to the antagonist method of choosing opposing muscle groups.   Miff demonstrates changes in surface area and body position that are designed to put more of an emphasis on one side of a muscle pair.    


This 35-minute workout features a warm-up, 5 supersets and a cool down.   


Superset Template - each superset includes 5 exercises

  1. Cardio exercise for the legs
  2. Isolated move for the legs
  3. Power exercise for the legs
  4. Cardio move for the upper body
  5. Isolated move for the upper body


Video Segment 1:  Warm-up
The exercises in this warm-up serve as a prep for the major joints involved in the workout, including the hip, shoulder, elbow and knee joints.


Video Segment 2:  Supersets 1 & 2

Superset 1 features three exercises with an emphasis on quads and two exercises with an emphasis on biceps.  Superset 2 includes three exercises for the hamstrings and two exercises for the triceps. 


Video Segment 3:  Supersets 3 & 4

Superset 3 targets hip flexors and glutes and the anterior and posterior muscles of the upper body with movement directed forwards and backwards.   Superset 4 trains the muscles in the inner and outer thigh with exercises that move side to side.  The upper body muscles in Superset 4 are recruited with side to side and horizontal movements.


Video Segment 4:  Superset 5

The last superset is more compound as all of the exercises target the core with spinal rotation and flexion.


Video Segment 5:  Cool Down

Miff offers a graceful and fluid final stretch that includes both dynamic and static stretching. 



This workout is absolutely perfect for adding drag equipment such as webbed gloves or Aqualogix belles and blades.  The exercises become more challenging because the extended surface area of the equipment moves more water.  Watch Miff talk about equipment. 

Webbed Gloves

Check out webbed gloves for purchase in the PoolFit Marketplace.


Aqualogix Equipment

Take your water workouts to the next level and increase the resistance for both upper and lower body with Aqualogix equipment


Fitmotivation extends a big THANK YOU to Miff Hendriksen for sharing yet another workout with video viewers.  Check out Miff’s other PoolFit videos, Circuit Overload, Choreo Lite and Aqua CardioFit

Author: Mark Grevelding is the founder of Fitmotivation. He is also a training specialist and consultant with the Aquatic Exercise Association’s (AEA). Mark has been active in the fitness industry for 22 years as a group fitness instructor, personal trainer, international presenter and a continuing education provider for AEA, AFAA & ACE.