Start Each New Exercise with a “Hyper Set.”

Injury prevention is essential when going to the gym to lift weights. That’s why warming up properly is incredibly important. If you don’t warm up properly, there’s a good chance you might strain or tear muscles.

But you’ve heard this before right? And you’re wondering, “Why is this guy telling me something that I’ve heard over and over and over again?”

Well, it’s because I’m approaching the warm up from a slightly different perspective. Likely one you have not heard explained as I am about to explain it.

When I go to the gym, I see a lot of people go to the treadmill and run for 10 minutes to warm up. You’ve heard experts say, “get on the treadmill and warm up your whole body before you workout.” The problem is, for those going into the gym to lift weights, running on the treadmill isn’t the most effective way to warm up the — let’s say — shoulder muscles.

The most effective way to warm up your body is to do a very high repetition, low weight warm up set (I call it a Hyper Set) before each and every exercise you do.

That means, if you are going to do a Military Press exercise, you need to do a Hyper Set of the Military Press exercise first.

But your gym workout usually doesn’t just consist of the Military Press right? Let’s say you are going to do a complete shoulder workout, and that workout consists of the following:

1. Seated Lateral Raise Machine
2. Seated Alternating Dumbbell Front Raise
3. Rear Deltoid Machine
4. Seated Dumbbell Press (Military Press)
5. Dumbbell Shrugs

Before you begin your normal set of three sets for each one of these exercises, you need to perform a Hyper Set before ***EACH*** one of these exercises!!!!!!!!

What is a Hyper Set?

Hyper Set is a muscle preparatory set of every exercise you do when you go to the gym. That set should be at 1/2 the weight (or less) before your starting set, and you should do 20 reps (at the very least), and as many as forty reps.

As an example of what you typically do, let’s say you are getting ready to do 3 sets of the “Seated Dumbbell (Military) Press.”

For your first set, you normally do 12 reps at 40lbs;
second set, 10 reps at 50lbs;
and third set, 8 reps at 60lbs.

By starting off the exercise in this manner, without specifically warming up the shoulder muscles properly, you are risking the chance of injury, even if you’ve already done other shoulder exercises; even if you feel warm, and even if you are 30 minutes into your gym workout.

Why am I risking injury?

If you don’t start with a Hyper Set, there is a good chance you can strain a muscle, because the specific group of muscles for that particular exercise are not properly prepared for the specific movement and the increase in weight you are about to make.

By adding a Hyper Set, you will prepare a specific group of muscles for the EXACT movement those specific muscles (in your arms and shoulders) will be doing.

And that is what I am focusing on with the Hyper Set. It is meant to prepare your arms and shoulders for the EXACT movement you are getting ready to do; preparing a specific group of muscles for the eventual increase in weight and exertion.

Now let’s go back to my aforementioned “Seated Dumbbell Press” Exercise.

Your Hyper Set will be 20 to 40 reps to a burn (Remember, use 1/2 the weight or enough weight for you to do about 20 reps easily to a burn)
then, do your normal 12 reps at 40lbs;
second set, 10 reps at 50lbs;
and third set, 8 reps at 60lbs.

How does a Hyper Set Help?

– Physiologically, your shoulders and arm muscles will become engorged with blood; enriching and fueling them with nutrients and oxygen. Muscles with the proper amount of nutrient flow and oxygen function more efficiently.
– The temperature in all primary and secondary muscles for the specific movement you are doing will have increased; improving the elasticity of the muscles and tendons, optimizing the flow of forces through the muscle, and decreasing the possibility of tearing or strain.
– And your nervous system will be better synchronized and conditioned to make specific movements of a particular set of muscles; improving neurologic synapse transmission, and coordinating efficient motion.

What does a Hyper Set Feel Like?

A proper Hyper Set will feel very easy for about the first 15 to 20 reps.

At about 15 to 20 or more reps, you will start to feel a burn. That “burn” is muscle fatigue setting in. It is also blood rushing into the muscles, oxygenating them, and delivering fuel and nutrients to the muscle cells.
(Because the weight is so light, pushing into the burn for a few repetitions will not injure the muscle).

Continue with about 5-10 reps into the “burn.” The weight will still be relatively easy to lift, but the “burn” will start to result in fatigue of the muscle; to the point where you can’t do any more. At this point, it isn’t that the weight is too heavy, it’s that you have depleted the energy available to the muscle.

It is at that point that your shoulders and arms are properly prepared to handle the gradual increase in weight for the specific exercise you are doing.

Now, when you begin your normal set of 10 or 12 at a higher weight your muscles are fully prepared to handle the increase in weight with less chance of injury.

Do Hyper Sets for every unique exercise you do, and you will greatly minimize your chance of injury.

~ John Blenio is a Doctor of Chiropractic at High Amplitude Health in San Mateo, California. He is an Active Release Therapy (A.R.T.) provider, a Barefoot Rehab Specialist, and a Rotator Cuff Rehab Specialist. His patients include professional and elite athletes, amateur athletes, and non-athletes.