Burn More While Building Muscle

Unleashing the Power of Super Sets, Compound Sets, Circuits, and Complexes for Fat Loss

Tired of the treadmill grind and yearning for workouts that deliver maximum results in minimal time? Look no further than these four training techniques: super sets, compound sets, circuits, and complexes. They’ll push your metabolism into overdrive, torch calories like wildfire, and sculpt your physique while keeping you engaged and energized. Let’s break down each technique and unlock their fat-burning potential:

1. Super Sets: Imagine amping up the intensity by pairing two opposing (or at least not the same) muscle exercises back-to-back with minimal rest. That’s a super set, and it’s a metabolic marvel. By working opposing muscle groups (push-ups followed by rows) or targeting different energy systems (squats followed by jump rope), you keep your heart rate soaring and burn more calories even after your workout ends.


  • Push-ups (3 sets of 10-12 reps): Get low with classic bodyweight push-ups for your first set.  Incline by placing hands on a chair (or similar) or go from your knees in order to achieve the desired reps.
  • Dumbbell Rows (3 sets of 10-12 reps per side): Grab some adjustable dumbbells like the Bowflex SelectTech 552 Adjustable Dumbbells and sculpt your back with controlled dumbbell rows.

Rest just 30 seconds between sets of each exercise, then repeat the full super set 3 times. Feel the sweat dripping? That’s your metabolism getting shredded!

2. Compound Sets: Think “two birds, one stone.” Compound sets combine two exercises that target the same muscle group, but with different movements. It keeps the muscle under continued stress increasing total workload for the muscle, maximizing fiber recruitment and boosting growth hormone production, a key fat-burning hormone.

There is minimal rest between the two exercises with a longer rest (60-120 seconds) between each round.


  • Barbell Squats (3 sets of 8-10 reps): Hop into your squat rack and load up the trusty barbell  and squat low, engaging your entire lower body.
  • Leg Press (3 sets of 12-15 reps): Hit the leg press machine and focus on isolating your quads with controlled reps.

Rest for just 5-15 seconds between exercises and 30-120 seconds between each compound set, then repeat the compound. This double-whammy approach will leave your legs screaming for mercy (but thanking you later!).  Again, reeking havoc on your metabolism and you’ll feel the burn from the higher rep attack on the targeted muscle group. That’s signaling blood flow and anaerobic byproducts which is great for muscle growth.

3. Circuits: Picture a fitness obstacle course you conquer with sweat and determination. That’s a circuit! String together 3-10 exercises with minimal rest in between, targeting different muscle groups to keep your heart rate soaring and calorie burn amplified while also attaining muscle resistance exercise benefit. Circuits are perfect for HIIT (High-Intensity Interval Training) sessions, maximizing metabolic after-burn.


  • Jumping Jacks (30 seconds): Get your heart pumping with classic jumping jacks.
  • Push ups (10 reps):  Make them dynamic by adding a knee tuck on each up movement.
  • Mountain Climbers (30 seconds): Channel your inner rock climber
  • Incline Row (10 reps): Lean back under a bar with a straight torso and pull your chest to the bar.  Basically a reverse pushup to work your entire back.
  • Burpees (10 reps): Combine squats, push-ups, and jumps with these full-body burners.  While not wanting to perform these slow, there is no need to recklessly speed through either.
  • Kettlebell Swings (12 reps): Grab a kettlebell and get your swing on, engaging your core and posterior and working your entire posterior chain.
  • Rest (90 seconds): Briefly recover before tackling another circuit.

Repeat the entire circuit 2-4 times with minimal rest between exercises. Trust me, your whole body will be feeling the burn in the best way possible!

4. Complexes: Think of this as a circuit with a single piece of equipment. Complexes link 3-6 exercises seamlessly, most often without setting the weight down, creating a continuous flow of movement that keeps your muscles under constant tension and your metabolism on fire. They’re advanced, but offer unparalleled fat-burning and conditioning benefits.


  • Dumbbell Clean and Press (5 reps per side): Clean the dumbbells up to your shoulders, then press them overhead for maximum upper-body engagement.
  • Front Squat (8 reps): Hold the dumbbells on your shoulders and squat low, targeting your quads and core.
  • Rev Lung (5 reps each side): Bring dumbbells back to your side, step back with one leg into a reverse lung and return.  You may alternate legs or complete all on one side.
  • Bent Row (6 reps): Forward bend allowing arms and dumbbells to hang below.  Pull dumbbells up to sides of waist and return for one rep.  Repeat for prescribed reps.
  • Rest (90 seconds): Briefly recover before starting the complex again.

Repeat the complex 2-4 times

Complexes are great for overall continuous workload.  The downside is that at least one of those exercises you will not be able to do as many reps with a given weight while other a given weight may be too low to create fatigue.  To help with these movement differences, adjust the number of reps for the movement so the dumbbell in this case does not need to be set down until all exercises are complete.

 As an Amazon Associate, I earn from qualifying purchases

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *