The metabolic costs of reciprocal supersets vs. traditional resistance exercise in young recreationally active adults

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

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

43 Scopus citations


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.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1043-1051
Number of pages9
JournalJournal of strength and conditioning research
Issue number4
StatePublished - Apr 2010
Externally publishedYes


  • Agonist-antagonist
  • EPOC
  • Energy expenditure
  • Weight training

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Orthopedics and Sports Medicine
  • Physical Therapy, Sports Therapy and Rehabilitation


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