If you’re a gym regular, you’ve probably heard the term, “supersets” from someone or read about it on fitness websites or channels. But what is it and how do you perform them properly?

Supersets are two exercises separated by minimal rest that work opposing or unrelated muscle groups. For example, working out your chest and back or arms and legs; biceps and triceps, etc. Basically, two muscle groups that are not directly involved with each other’s movement.

So how do you do them? First, pick your repetition goal and complete your first set of the first muscle group. Catch your breath briefly and then move to the first exercise of your second muscle group. Finish that first set and then take a minute or two before completing your second set of the first muscle group. Repeat until you complete your desired set range (3-5 typically).

Why is this method of exercise popular? It is an effective way to hit two muscle groups without needing considerable rest in between because the second exercise does not involve muscles used in the first exercise. Your workout as a whole becomes more efficient as you spend less time in the gym and, since your heart rate is thus elevated throughout, you burn more fat and keep your metabolism burning calories for a longer period of time than normal workouts. However, because the rest periods are shorter, you will have to dial down the intensity or load you are using.

The second part of this is how to do supersets properly when you’re in a gym setting. If you are at a home gym or have no concerns about access to equipment, then this second half shouldn’t be of concern to you.

Supersets can be a challenging workout at your gym and not just because of the exercises. Since you will basically be using two machines or areas at once, how do you ensure that you do not lose one of the machines or areas to another member while you are working on the other?

Thankfully, you’ll have a couple things going for you that may result in you not having to do anything differently at all. If the gym is not busy, you likely won’t have too many people vying for the machines that you are working on. Secondly, more and more gym goers are familiar with supersets, so if they are paying attention to their surroundings (which is something that many do while resting between sets), they will recognize that you are in the middle of a superset workout.

But it doesn’t hurt to make it easier for your fellow gym members either. If you notice someone who is eyeing up one of your machines or weights, just let them know that you are performing a superset. They are more than welcome to work in between your sets so that both of you can work out without interrupting your pace. In addition, leave your water bottle at the station that you are coming back to so that if someone is unsure, they see your water bottle there and recognize that someone is working out. The key is to always offer someone to work in between your sets. This keeps a good rapport among gym goers and also shows others proper gym etiquette.

And as always, wipe down your stations when you are done.