By Josh Bryant, MFS, CSCS, PES Prosource
The gun show is in town at ProSource.net!
I first learned of origin and insertion supersets from the writings of legendary strength coach Charles Poliquin. Let’s look at practical application of this extreme but effective method.
When it comes to muscles: the origin is the fixed position that doesn’t move and the insertion is the part that moves. Supersetting an origin exercise with an insertion exercise is supersetting on steroids. A muscle is attacked at different angles using different functions. This is not for the feeble-hearted but this extremely taxing method can pave the way to hypertrophy heaven.
The Gun Show
Let’s start with the biceps; a close grip chin-up can be paired with the incline dumbbell stretch bicep curl. On a chin-up, the elbows remain in a fixed position while the shoulders literally move through air. On an incline dumbbell bicep curl, the opposite takes place; the shoulders are stationary and movement takes place at the elbow.
While the layman barks out, “Curls are for girls,” we seasoned muscle-heads know the triceps make up 2/3 of the arm. It would be absolute training nonsense to not talk about how to build muscle that leads to sleeve busting triceps. Dips and overhead French presses are the prescription. On the dips, the elbows remain stationary and the shoulders move. A standing French press is the opposite, consequently attacking the triceps at different angles.
Here are some good guidelines:
For chin-ups, keep reps in the 5-10 range (add weight if applicable) and make sure you are getting a full range of motion.
For the incline dumbbell bicep curls, keep reps in the 10-15 range and make sure you get a full range of motion; you want to feel a giant stretch at the bottom of the movement.
For the dips, keep reps in the 6-12 range (add weight if applicable) and make sure you are getting a full range of motion. Fight to stay upright with the elbows in to emphasize tension on the triceps
For the French press, keep reps in the 12-15 range and make sure you are getting a full range of motion.
It is important to keep your elbows in on the French press.
Do approximately 3-5 supersets.
Close the Chain, Open the Chain for Muscle Gains
Closed kinetic chain movements, in everyday words, are any exercise where you lift yourself through the air; an open kinetic chain exercise means the object you are lifting moves. Compare a leg extension to a front squat; during the front squat you move and during the leg extension the pad moves.
For functional power close kinetic chain exercises have overwhelming supremacy. For bodybuilding it is important to hit open and closed kinetic chain movements. In another life, these could easily be called closed/open chain supersets.
One more way origin/insertion supersets shake things up.
The modus operandi for wannabe bodybuilders is a tank top to show off upper body prowess and baggy pants to hide bird legs. But for anyone who’s serious about building a structurally balanced physique, let’s take a look at combining opposing function for the quad, hams and glutes to gash muscle fibers and propel new growth.
Quads: Front Squat/Leg Extension
For the front squat, do six reps, immediately attack the leg extension for 20 reps. Do this for three sets, rest three minutes between sets.
Eight-time Mr. Olympia, Lee Haney, once said, “The key to building massive, powerful muscles is to doggedly increase the training weights you use.” Haney went on to explain that you never do so at the sacrifice of technique. Lift as much weight as possible without losing technique. Let’s attack the hamstrings with the same strategy.
Hamstrings: Romanian Deadlift/Leg Curl Super
For the Romanian Deadlift, do 12 reps, immediately followed by leg curls for six reps. Rest 3 minutes, being mindful of Lee Haney’s prophetic words about going as heavy as possible without sacrificing form. Unless otherwise noted.
I am pretty sure “Buns of Steel” has had a major influence on all of our serious muscle building ProSource readers, Okay, maybe not quite, but muscular strong glutes are crucial to goals ranging from strength to athletic performance to physique enhancement!
Glutes: Barbell Hip Thrusts/Cable Glut Kick Backs
3 sets of 12 reps on both exercises, resting three minutes.
Prison inmates have been known to refer to the chest as “the hood,” and who doesn’t want the biggest “hood” in their hood! One of the most effective upper chest builders, confirmed by numerous EMG studies, is the Reverse Grip Bench Press. This movement has much less deltoid assistance than the incline press. Additionally you will be able to lift more weight than the incline.
Old time bodybuilding guru Vince Gironda felt dips done leaning forward with the elbows out were the most effective chest exercise. Many have referred to bar dip as the upper body squat! Dips are brutally effective at building the sternal pecs or “lower chest.”
Combining these two viciously effective compound movements is not for “mullets” but works well for the barrel chested.
Bar Dips (elbows out/lean forward)/Reverse Grip Bench Press
6-8 reps on the dips (add weight if you are able) immediately followed by 10-12 reps on the reverse grip bench press.
Wrapping this up off the top of my head, I have just thought up:
Hand Stand Pushups/Upright Rows for shoulders, for the upper back inverted rows/bent over rows and the lower back 45 degree hyper extension/reverse hyper extensions.
The old proverb says “give a man a fish and feed him for day, teach a man to fish and you feed him for life.” You have been taught how to “fish” in regards to the origin/insertion superset. Since you understand the concept get creative and grow!