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2018 New Year's Challenge Week 2 Live Tutorial Transcript

My breakdown of the New Year's Challenge Week 2: Full-Body Supersets

Full body supersets

Note: This tutorial video was recorded as a live Facebook event. The text below is an edited transcript of the tutorial intended to provide members with a convenient means of referring to and further researching the topics and content detailed in the video.


Alright JYM Army, live here from my home gym. Now, for those of you following along—I hope you can see the board, there might be some glare—but this is Week 2 of my New Year's Challenge. Let me bring this in front so you guys can see what we're talking about.

So, New Year's Challenge—I just completed Week 1, 5x5 Full-Blown. Five workouts, 5x5s; every day we cut time, reducing the time it takes you to get those 5 sets of 5. That was Week 1. Now we've had two days of active rest, counting today—Sunday—and tomorrow, kickoff my Full-Body Supersets System. 

In this week, Week 2, we're going to be doing supersets. But not just typical supersets—you're literally going to get a rundown on just about every variety of superset you can think of. So not only will you be getting results due to the supersets, but you'll be learning new ways to apply supersets so that when you're done with the challenge, you can take what you've learned and apply it to your training. 

There's Still Time to Sign Up!

Week 2 of the New Year's Challenge. Now, my New Year's Challenge at JimStoppani.com—although I'm in Week 2, I started the program Day 1, the first day it started January 15th. You don't have to start last week, so it's not too late. If you're joining and saying "Oh crap, I want to do this challenge," you can start tomorrow with Week 1. You have until January 31st, actually, to start the program—the New Year's Challenge til January 31st, and then it's a 6-week program. 

So let's get into—this is a tutorial on the Full-Body Superset week, Week 2, which we're going to be doing. So whether you're doing it with me this week as my training partner, or whether you're going to do the challenge down the road whenever you start—maybe you're starting tomorrow with Week 1; maybe you're starting next week with Week 1—when you get back, make sure you come back to my Facebook page because this live session, I will post as a video so that it's basically a tutorial for you to come back and go over if you want little pointers about doing this week. 

Remember to Read the Overview

Now, obviously you want to read the overview. Make sure when you join the challenge that each and every week—Week 1 we did 5x5—don't just look at the workout. Don't just go to the workout section where I have the exercises, and the sets and reps. You have to read the overview—that's the most critical thing. 

Most of the questions that people are asking me online—and I'm happy to answer, guys—but honestly if you read the overview a little more carefully, most of them would be answered and you wouldn't have to ask me. 

So I'm not saying don't ask me questions—because I love answering your questions—but make sure before you ask me a question you've read and tried to understand the overview. I break all the programs down in the overview. 

Don't Miss Out on the Chance to Train with Me!

For those of you who want to just do the challenge with me as my Train with Jim series, the workouts are free—you still have access to the workouts. Only if you want to participate in the challenge—you can run tomorrow with me, supersets—go to JimStoppani.com, go to my Full-Body Superset System, and the workouts are there absolutely free for anyone to do. 

However, if you want to be part of the challenge with the chance to win, come out to L.A.—train with me, hang with me, JYM swag, JYM Supplements—then you need to join the challenge just like I did. Obviously I'm not competing against you, but I just wanted to show you guys that I'm here doing the challenge just like you. 

I'm uploading my Before and progress pics each and every week, and I'm going through the workouts with you—explaining them, how I adapt them for myself, so that you can take those little tips.

The Full-Body Superset System

So with the Full-Body Supersets, we have six workouts. Workout 6 is what I call optional. If you want to do—just like Week 1 where we do five workouts—this week, you could stop after the fifth workout. The sixth workout is an optional one that you could throw in there. I'll be doing it, but the choice is up to you. If you need a rest day—skip workout number six.

Workout 1: Classic Supersets

Workout 1—and like I said, in each and every workout during the week of my Superset style of training during this Train with Jim New Year's Challenge—we're going to do a different style of supersets. So with Workout 1, we're going to take on regular superset style. 

Now, let's talk about terminology here. Now a "superset" is kind of used—the term is used fairly loosely. It just means doing two exercises back-to-back without any rest in between those two exercises. 

Let me just check my feed here, make sure everything is running smoothly and you guys can see the boards fairly well—I apologize for the limits we have in these live sessions, because I can't see where I am on camera. I can't really see what you guys are looking at, and I'm here by myself so I apologize for the glare and if you miss any of the things that I'm going to be doing. 

Typical supersets—like I said, the term is used very loosely to mean any two exercises done back-to-back. Now there's a variety of supersets. The term "superset" as-is—if you really want to get technical—means two exercises for two different body parts done back to back. 

Typically when we do supersets that way with two different muscle groups, it's typically two opposing muscle groups: Biceps, triceps; bench press, rows—so chest, back; a push and a pull—that's typically what a superset is. 

With Workout 1, the first superset that you're going to do is the barbell row supersetted with the bench press. So an easy way—and for those of you who have done my Super-Man program, you'll be familiar with this—an easy way to do that is right here on the same bench. I'm just going to move some of the equipment around here, get it out of the way. 

So Workout 1, we're going to be doing typical supersets, opposing muscle groups—a pull and a push, or a push and a pull. And so Workout 1 you literally start with barbell rows—and I like to do them right on the bench kind of like my power row where it goes all the way to the ground, but here we don't have to go all the way down to the ground and it helps to save the stress on the lower back. 

Remember—for those of you who have lower back issues—doing bent-over barbell rows with the weight just hanging at the bottom on each and every rep puts a lot of stress on the back. I had a motorcycle accident so I modify my barbell bent-over rows to reduce the stress. 

The superset is basically rows and bench press, so you can go right onto your bench press bench—do your rows—then when you hit failure on rows you're going to go right into the bench press. No rest other than what it takes you to set the weight up, and you should be using about the same weight on rows as you do on the bench press. 

And then I take that to failure, then I rest—how long do I want to rest? I'm using 6-8 reps per set during this workout. How long do I want to rest? It's really up to you. You could rest as long as a minute or less; you could rest up to two, three minutes—choice is yours. So that's Workout 1, typical supersets.

Workout 2: Reversing the Order

Workout 2 which is going to come Tuesday, at least for me, same rep range—6-8 reps—same style of training—the real superset—however, what we'll do here is we'll swap the order of exercises because it's different—different exercise done first, different exercise done second. 

Now, a lot of people will think, "Oh well this way you're fresher on the bench press than you are on the row, versus barbell row first followed by bench press." Actually, if you read the article what research shows is that the row—doing the row prior to the bench press can actually enhance your strength on the bench press due to the—there are a few theories as to why this is, mainly the way that the nervous system works. 

Another theory is fatigue of the opposing muscle group. When you're doing the bench press, if you fatigue the lats to some degree they provide less resistance as you're pressing up which is sort of a good thing. 

It's kind of a complicated theory to truly understand what that means, because you want the lats to assist particularly as you lower the weight on the bench press. But it's on the pressing motion that, with those lats fatigued, you might actually—they might provide less resistance from the chest as the chest is pressing. 

So we're going to do it both ways, so in Workout 2 we'll simply do the same exact workout but now the second exercise—in this case my Superset 1 is going to be the bench press is done first—take that to failure, clearly that's not my 6-8 rep weight but hit failure there after 6-8 reps and then you're simply going to take the weight and move right into your rows. You get the point.

Workout 3: Compound Sets to Burn More Calories

Now, let's talk about what happens on Wednesday in Workout 3. Now we're using something called a "compound set". It's still supersets—this is still a superset—but instead we're supersetting the bench press with the flye. As you see, we've moved from supersets doing opposing muscle groups—or at least two different muscle groups—to now doing two exercises back-to-back for one muscle group. 

That's why I call it a compound set—you're basically compounding the fatigue of that muscle, because not only are you doing one exercise but before you can get any rest you're jumping into the second exercise.

So in this case, we'll be doing bench press first. And here we're going to be doing 5-6 reps on the first exercise—so mainly the compound move: We're doing the bench press, multi-joint move; the flye is a single-joint move—so we're going to do lower reps on the bench press, 5-6, supersetted with higher reps of the flye, 12-15 reps. 

So it looks something like this: You're going to do your 5-6 rep weight on the bench press—let's say that's 5, take it to failure—I'm immediately going to sit up, and then I should have my dumbbells already handy so that I can now do my flyes. 

That's what we call a compound set. Brutal way to destroy any muscle group. So let's recap: The first two workouts, we used typical supersets—two different muscle groups. And what the benefit here is is that you're essentially doing more work in less time. 

You're not just doing the bench press, resting, bench press, resting, bench press, then going to row, rest, row, rest, row—instead you're doing bench press, row, resting; bench press, row, resting. So you're completing far more work for two muscle groups in far less time.

Now, what the research shows the benefit here is that that increases your calorie burn—the number of calories you're burning during the workout—somewhere around 30%, and keeps that calorie burn higher long after the workout is over by, again, about 30%. So, benefit of supersets is that fat-burning potential. It enhances your calorie burn.

With the compound sets, now, what we're doing is we're basically doubling the work for the same muscle group. So now instead of doing bench press, rest, bench press, etc. then moving to maybe flyes, rest, flyes, etc. we're doing bench press, flyes, bench press, flyes, bench press, flyes. It's a brutal intensity technique that really fatigues the targeted muscle—in this case, the pecs.

Workout 4: Pre-Exhaust for Greater Fatigue

In Workout 4 you'll see that it's still compound sets. So now, just like Workout 1 and Workout 2, we're swapping the order—however, there's a twist here unlike when we were doing opposing muscle groups. Now we're doing what's essentially a pre-exhaust compound set, because now we're doing the flye first.

So now the rep ranges swap, where we're doing 12-15 first with flyes followed by 5-6 reps on the bench press. And the whole point of pre-exhaust—for those of you who are unaware of pre-exhaust—people screw up; people really don't understand pre-exhaust. 

I'll talk about two studies done by two different labs that were published in the Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research. I've given the main editors a lot of crap over the years for publishing these two studies that I'll explain. But let's talk about what pre-exhaust is and what pre-exhaust is not.

As the name implies—this is why I don't understand why people get so confused about what pre-exhaust is—as the name implies, right in the name of the technique "pre-exhaust" is basically the goal of pre-exhaust: It's to exhaust the target muscle group. 

So for example, on the good old bench press—I'm pressing the bar off my chest. Yes, the bench press is known as a chest exercise, but what's happening here? Look at the joints we have: It's the shoulder joint and the elbow joint moving. At the elbow joint, we've got the triceps assisting. At the shoulder, it's not just pecs—it's delts, even lats to some degree. 

Problem is, for a lot of people, on the bench press they fatigue when the triceps fatigue—not the pecs. So what happens is you come into the gym on chest day, you do your 3-4 sets of bench press, and you don't sufficiently fatigue the pecs. So your pecs don't grow. 

Sure, maybe your bench press is 405lbs, but it's all triceps. So you're not really fatiguing the pecs, you're not putting ample enough stress on the pecs other than weight. You're not really getting true fatigue because you're putting the weight down on the bench press when the triceps have fatigued, not when the pecs have fatigued.

So the pecs are left wanting more. You never really train them sufficiently. With pre-exhaust, what you're doing is you're going to do a flye—so on Thursday, or Workout 4—you're going to swap the order doing flyes first, so now the flye will be the first exercise. 

And like I said the flye is a single-joint movement. It's really not using much of my triceps and even not much of my delts. I mean, yeah the delts are involved, but compared to the bench press it's a small percent comparatively. It's mainly the pecs here working. Other muscle groups obviously as well; you can't isolate one muscle group, but mainly the pecs.

And so what it will do here is it will fatigue the pecs so that now when you get to the bench press and do the bench press, which is your second—you're going to go from fyes right into the bench press with no rest—now when I do the bench press, my pecs are fatigued so when I hit muscle failure—let's say that's rep number 5, I can't do any more—I know the reason I ended that set was because my pecs were blasted. They were fatigued. My pecs were—it wasn't my triceps that ended that set. That's the whole point of pre-exhaust. 

Pre-Exhaust – What it Is, and What it Isn't

There are, however, a lot of people who think that the point of pre-exhaust is that when I get to the bench press that I'm going to activate the pec muscle fibers more. No, in fact you may activate them less because they're so fatigued. But that's the point of the pre-exhaust technique.

Let me talk about the two studies that were done. One was done on upper body on this very bench press and flye—or at least they used the flye machine—and the other one was from a different lab, and they used the leg extension to pre-exhaust the quads before the squat. 

Well both of those studies independently reported that pre-exhaust doesn't work. However, if you go through the data they actually proved pre-exhaust does work—it's just that the researchers were confused what pre-exhaust actually is. 

They thought that pre-exhaust was supposed to increase muscle activity of the pecs when they got to the bench press. They found the opposite—it decreased muscle activity, which is actually proving the effectiveness of pre-exhaust. 

If you have less muscle activity going to the pecs, it means they're fatigued. The nervous system—they're dead—so the nervous system isn't wasting as much on those pecs, because they're dead. They're fatigued. Doesn't matter how much firing goes on, they're not going to help. 

So you actually see a decrease in muscle activity in the pecs as other muscle groups like the triceps and the shoulders have to kick in more because the pecs are so dead.But that doesn't mean it's minimizing the effectiveness—it means it's doing exactly what pre-exhaust is supposed to do: Fatigue the pecs.

And it was the same discovery on the legs. They found the same thing—less muscle activity on the quads on squats when they did pre-exhaust first. Precisely, because they were exhausted. So pre-exhaust is not to increase muscle activity of the target muscle—it's to exhaust it. 

It's a very effective way, at least in the real world—this is a problem with research, is a lot of times the research studies' designs are flawed, or the researchers don't even know what they're studying and their conclusion's wrong, as in this case. 

So pre-exhaust is very effective, and so this style of superset—like I said, with the compound sets it's a great intensity booster because now you're burning out the pecs doing the two exercises back-to-back—but with the pre-exhaust version it adds an added benefit of making sure to fatigue that target muscle group on the multi-joint move. So that'll be Workout 4, when we do the pre-exahust on compound sets.

Workout 5: Extended Sets

Now, Workout 5, we get into what's called "extended sets"—at least what I call extended sets. This is kind of one of my techniques that I've popularized. All an extended set is is really a superset—at least the way I'm doing it here. You could do extended sets like in some of my workouts where you're doing three or four different versions of that exercise. 

What an extended set is is you're basically moving from one version of an exercise—let's take the bench press—and after hitting failure on the bench press, you're moving to a version of that exercise that's easier than the one you just did. 

So for example you're typically weaker on a reverse grip, right? Most people are a bit weaker on the reverse grip than they are on a standard, overhand grip—whether that's with a barbell or with dumbbells. Most JYM Army members should be familiar with using the reverse grip for hitting upper pecs.

You're weaker on the reverse grip, so an extended set would be going from reverse-grip dumbbell presses—as I show here—hit failure or close to failure, and then immediately switch to regular dumbbell bench press—which you're stronger on—using the same weight. 

The extended set basically allows you to take that same weight that you failed with on the first exercise and continue doing reps. You're moving to a more biomechanically advantageous position. It would be similar if you were doing incline and flat, right? You're typically weaker on the incline, so you could do incline bench press or incline dumbbell bench press and then once you hit failure you lower it to a flat bench and now you're going to be stronger—with those same dumbbells or the same weight on the barbell—you can continue doing reps.

That's basically what my extended set style is, which is what we'll be doing in Workout 5. Now, the first exercise, you're going to pick a weight that limits you to about 4-6 reps because that's your weaker one. Now you don't want to use too light of a weight on the first exercise because, like I said, that's the exercise that you're at a disadvantage—it's going to be harder to do.

You don't want to end up switching over to the easier version and finding that now you can bang out too many reps, so somewhere around 4-6 reps—I'm using the same weight I used for the flyes so this is just for demonstration.

Workout 5 is going to be extended set supersets, so I would do reverse grip for 4-6—obviously this is not my 4-6 max weight—til I hit failure. Then, I can immediately—I could put the weights down, or if I want to switch my grip just by turning my hands into a standard dumbbell bench press. 

Adaptability – Modifying to Fit Your Needs and Preferences

I've designed all these workouts to show just an example of what exercises you should use. If you want to do something different—I'm using the dumbbell bench press only because I've done mainly barbell bench press for the first four workouts—so I've switched it up to the dumbbell. If you want to stick with bench press that's fine, just make sure you do the reverse-grip bench press barbell version, followed by the regular bench press overhand version. 

Or you can do the dumbbell, or you can do incline followed by flat bench; or flat bench extended set with the decline where you tend to be a bit stronger. You can do the same with flyes—if you want to do flyes here you can do an incline flye followed by a flat flye. Choice is yours. You could do cable crossovers—from the low pulley, extended set, from the high pulley. Pick the exercises that work for your gym and the equipment that you have. 

Workout 6: Proving the Point of Extended Sets

Now, Workout 6—as I mentioned—is optional. Why? Well, it's basically what we did through the week where we just swapped exercises. But since this is extended sets, when we swap exercises now we're moving from the easier version to the harder version. 

So if you can only do 4-6 reps on the dumbbell bench press regular and then you're going to do an extended set with the reverse grip? You might not even be able to get any reps with that same weight that you're able to get 4-6 overhand, because you're fatigued and this is a tougher version of that exercise. 

So, what I did here is I did this just as a fun way for you to see the difference of what happens when you do it the other way around. You've got a couple options here—if you feel fatigued by Friday or whatever day you get Workout 5 done and you want more rest days before you have to start up again—Week 3 we're going to get into my Speed Set Training—then just skip this. 

If not, come in, play around with it. Try the 4-6 reps or go a little bit lighter, maybe even 8-10 and see how that goes doing that version. But again, Workout 6 is mainly just for fun, just so you can see what happens you take that extended set and reverse the order.

Again, like I said—part of the reason for these workouts is not just to get results, but it's to get you thinking and trying things. The best way to really learn about weightlifting techniques is to try them. A lot of times it's to try the opposite way just so you can see the difference, like with pre-exhaust—you're going to notice a big difference when you get to the bench press on that pre-exhaust version of compound sets versus when you do the bench press first followed by the flyes.

Here it's the same way—it's really just to make a point, if you will, and a lot of times when you do the opposite thing it helps you to better understand the reason why you're doing the extended set.

Still Have Questions? Ask Me!

So that's my tutorial. Happy Sunday—I believe it's Sunday. Half the days I can't even keep up what day it is, I'll say "Hey guys, happy Monday" when it's really Sunday, or "Happy Sunday" when it's Monday. But it's because I'm here 24/7 working for you guys to get you guys programs, products, information, tips, and motivation every single day. 

So no matter what day of the week it is, I am here working for you guys. So excuse me when I screw those days up, I don't have a typical work week where I'm working Monday through Friday 9 to 5 and then I've got the weekend off. No, I'm around the clock for you guys, 24/7. 

That is my little tutorial on Week 2 using my Superset System of my New Year's Challenge. I'm going to post this on my Facebook page so that you can go watch the video if you missed anything, you want to know the explanation—and if you have a question, post it under the video and I'll get you an answer.

Peer Review – the Value of the JYM Army

Give me some time. You could also go to the JYM Army Facebook group page, get your questions answered there by your own peers. What's great about the JYM Army Facebook group page is a lot of times they've asked me the same question. They've already asked me and got an answer, so you can get an answer from someone who's asked me the same question—probably a lot quicker. 

The other benefit—I'm pretty quick—but the other benefit, the JYM Army guys are there waiting to help. I'm only one person, so even though I'm very active on my social media sometimes it's hard for me to get immediate answers to you guys. Going to the JYM Army Facebook page, you can get the answers a lot faster.

The other benefit is that the answer's coming from someone other than me. Let's say it's a specific question about, I don't know—maybe you're type 2 diabetic and you have a question about the diet. Well, I'm not type 2 diabetic. Obviously, I'm well-educated and I work with numerous type 2 diabetics and I know what to do for type 2 diabetics. 

I'm personally not a type 2 diabetic. You might want to hear from someone else—one of your peers—who's also a type 2 diabetic and is doing the program as well. So you'll get feedback from people who have the same situation as you, and have probably found little tips to make it easier. They've taken my advice and then found "Oh, you know what? Here's a little tip I've found" on whatever it is. 

So make sure you get to that JYM Army Facebook group page. And you know, the other thing about the JYM Army Facebook group page, it's not just getting information—it's about motivation and inspiration. These are your people, your like-minded people going through the same fitness journey as you are. It's a very positive community—there's great motivation, great inspiration—you can see the other problems people are having, accomplishments other people are having. 

You can go there to help get people answers, you can get answers, you can get inspiration, motivation, and research shows that when you have a support group like that—you're going through a transformation—it makes a huge difference in your results. So, JYM Army Facebook group page.

I want to thank you guys for joining today's tutorial, for joining my New Year's Challenge. Let's crush it starting tomorrow. Thank you guys, and I will see you during the week. Have a great Sunday. 

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