Workout Plans
  • Goal: Burn Fat, Get Lean, Build Muscle
  • Skill level: Intermediate
  • Duration: 4 weeks
  • Days per week: 4
The Fat-Busting Superset Workout thumbnail

Who says lifting weights doesn’t burn fat? This 4-week program comprised entirely of supersets will turn your love handles into a washboard.

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So you want to burn fat, get super lean and have a great six-pack, right? Then you must determine the quickest, most effective means to achieving this: A clean diet, yes. Sufficient cardio, definitely. And the lifting? That’s easy: supersets.


“Weight training in general is necessary in burning fat because it stimulates the growth of lean muscle tissue, which in turn increases metabolism,” says Jim Ryno, owner of LIFT, a private personal training facility in Ramsey, New Jersey ( “And supersetting actually increases the amount of work you perform in a specific time period, since you’re moving quickly from one exercise to another with minimal rest in between sets, which leads to a more intense workout and a higher expenditure of calories. Supersets are a sure-fire way to further boost your metabolic rate and burn fat faster without spending more time in the gym.”

Hence the following 4-week fat-burning program. Mind you, we didn’t just sprinkle in a superset here and there so you’d burn a few extra calories every workout. No, we figured we’d go all the way with it, meaning every set is a superset. Each week gets progressively tougher and more and more effective at melting away bodyfat to the extent that week 4 might just be the most intense four days you’ve ever encountered in the weight room. We like to think of this program as your love handles’ worst enemy.

Super Intense

Supersets come in varying degrees of volume and intensity, which is clearly displayed over the four weeks of this program. Each week will be a 4-day split and will introduce a new method of supersetting, with week 1 being arguably the least challenging of training sessions and week 4 the most demanding.

Supersetting Rules

  • Between supersets, rest up to two minutes during weeks 1-3 and 3-4 minutes in week 4. “If you start your next superset too soon you may not be able to lift the same amount of weight,” says Jim Ryno, owner of LIFT, a private personal training facility in Ramsey, New Jersey. Increasing intensity is one thing; having no strength left halfway through your workout is another.
  • Prior to each workout, thoroughly warm up each bodypart you’re training that day. If, say, it’s shoulder day, do a few sets to work all three deltoid heads (middle, front and rear). A set or two of lateral raises isn’t sufficient for the amount of intensity you’re about to experience. 
  • Take each sets within supersets, trisets and extended sets to failure. If a set calls for 10 reps, don’t select a weight that you can twice that number of reps with. On the flip side, use common sense—supersetting often means you won’t be able to do as much weight as normal. Don’t be afraid to decrease resistance to reach the target number of reps.
  • When supersetting opposing muscle groups (not just in this particular program, but any time), don’t always start with the same bodypart first. If you often superset chest and back, alternate between starting with chest and back every other workout to promote overall balance in your physique.
  • When your objective is to get lean, the last thing you want to do is burn muscle tissue, which will decrease your metabolic rate. Therefore, after every training session, be sure to feed your body 20-40 grams of whey protein and 30-60 grams of simple carbs. 


Week 1

Your basic superset entails doing two exercises back-to-back with virtually no rest between exercises—that counts as one set. (You will, however, be resting between each superset.) These moves can be training either the same bodypart (for example, two chest exercises) or two different ones (a chest and a back exercise). This first week will employ the former, where each major muscle group will be thoroughly exhausted before moving onto the next bodypart. The first exercise of each superset will be a mass-building/compound move and the second will be a single-joint isolation move, which is our way of easing you into the program.

From the beginning (especially if you’re not accustomed to doing supersets), you’ll notice an increased level of intensity in each workout as compared to straight sets, which will help boost growth hormone levels following training sessions, thus increasing muscle growth and stoking the fat-burning process.

Week 2

These four workouts will pair opposing muscle groups with each other (for example, chest and back), the one exception being calves, which will be performed similar to week 1. Not only will this save you time in the gym, but you should be stronger on the second exercise of each superset, as research has shown that a muscle will be stronger if preceded by a contraction of its antagonist. This is an added benefit that could result in strength gains on top of your fat-burning ambitions.

Notice that back shows up twice this week, for the simple reason that shoulders don’t have an obvious opposing muscle group. This was solved by choosing back and shoulder exercises on day 1 that more or less mirror each other, and likewise on day 4 for chest and back. And whereas on days 2 and 3 the program calls for four supersets, days 1 and 4 employ only three each, so as not to overtrain the shoulders.

Week 3

No longer will your supersets be limited to two exercises done back-to-back; this week you’ll be pairing three exercises in a back-to-back-to-back fashion without rest, referred to as a triset. Similar to week 1, each triset will focus on a single bodypart (three chest exercises or three back exercises, for example), as opposed to combining multiple muscle groups in a given triset. Adding a third exercise will further increase intensity and calorie burn. To avoid overtraining, you’ll be doing only 2-3 sets per trio, whereas weeks 1 and 2 often called for four supersets for a given pair of exercises.

During this week, we incorporate a broad spectrum of reps, going as heavy as four reps and as light as 20, which will hit upon strength, hypertrophy and endurance in each triset.

Week 4

We won’t sugar-coat it: This week is downright hairy. In it, we’re combining supersets with what we call extended sets—a grouping of two or more exercises for a given bodypart done consecutively, similar to a superset or triset. But where an extended set differs from a superset or triset is that it’s basically the same movement performed two or three different ways by changing the angle and/or grip position. Take, for example, the first extended set on day 1, where you’ll be doing incline dumbbell press, flat dumbbell press and decline dumbbell press. These are technically three different exercises, but the movement (pressing the weights up toward the ceiling) remains virtually the same.

The order in which you do the exercises in the extended set is crucial. In the aforementioned example, notice how the toughest variation of the three (incline) is done first, and the easiest (decline) last. Getting the most out of extended sets depends upon increasing the body’s mechanical advantage from set to set. Imagine if you did exercises in the opposite order, from easiest to hardest. Sure, you’d be able to get more reps on decline, but by the time you got to incline you’d be so fatigued that getting an appreciable number of reps on the hardest of the three exercises would be unthinkable. In addition to boosting intensity, extended sets offer the benefit of targeting a wide variety of muscle fibers in the course of just one set via changing of angles.

Where supersetting comes in is that you’ll immediately follow an extended set with a second extended set. Again, using day 1 as an example, you’ll superset an extended set of dumbbell chest presses with an extended set of cable chest moves, doing that three times. Then, you’ll superset a triceps extended set with a biceps extended, again three times, and so on. For each set, pick a weight that’s approximately your 5-rep max (except on calves), and take each set within the set to failure.

Week 1: Same Bodypart Supersets

Week 2: Opposing Bodyparts Supersets

  • Day 8 Shoulders & Back Start
  • Day 9 Quads, Hamstrings & Calves Start
  • Day 10 Rest Start
  • Day 11 Biceps, Triceps & Abs Start
  • Day 12 Rest Start
  • Day 13 Chest & Back Start
  • Day 14 Rest Start

Week 3: Trisets

Week 4: Extended Sets