Normally at this time of year I’m working on hypertrophy (building muscle) and improving strength with a four-day-a-week upper/lower split resistance training plan, plus two days a week of 8-10 km runs to maintain my cardio over the winter months. But since I’m training for the Phoenix Marathon at the end of February, I’m keeping my resistance training workouts short and sweet — right now I’m doing three 30-40-minute circuit-type resistance training workouts and three to four runs per week, with Sunday being my long run day.
I love circuit training with supersets (where you perform a set of exercises that engages different muscle groups back-to-back) because not only does it keep heart rate elevated (so you get a bit of a cardio workout and calorie-burning boost), but also you get all the benefits of resistance training in a shorter amount of time.
When programming my marathon training plan this year, I used Lou Schuler and Alwyn Cosgrove‘s fabulous The New Rules of Lifting: Supercharged book to get ideas for building a solid resistance training program that would compliment my marathon training. (If you’re looking to build your own plan, I highly recommend that book or any of the The New Rules of Lifting books.)
Although any push-pull/upper body-lower body combination exercise can be done as superset, the following exercises will give you the most bang for your buck in terms of key muscle groups worked. I’ve been performing each of these exercises at least once a week during my training program.
The best combination exercises to supercharge your supersets
- Reverse lunge and shoulder press
- Romanian deadlift and row
- Squat and press
- Push-up and one-arm row
- Squat and one-arm shoulder press
How to incorporate: You could do all of the exercises in a row followed by some core work for a full body workout, or could add one or two of the combinations into your regular workout to get your heart rate up and save time. So for example, you could start with the reverse lunge and shoulder press combination, do some cable rows, squats and push-ups as regular sets (so not back-to-back, but resting in between each set before moving to the next), then the Romanian deadlift and row combination, followed by side planks and back extensions.
Here’s a sample workout you could perform once or twice a week if you’re looking for something to compliment your own marathon or half marathon training program, or are just looking for a basic, 30-minute resistance training workout to do a few days a week:
Do you like to do circuit training? What are your favourite combination exercises? What are you currently training for?