Three Supersets To Build Muscle At The Gym

Woman performs the lat pull-down in a gym
(Image credit: Hirurg / iStock / Getty Images Plus)

No-one wants to spend longer in the gym than they have to, so a fuss-free routine that works is worth its weight in gold. That’s what you get with this session from Maz Phillips, a level 3 PT and the founder of Fit Female Project. She’s designed a plan using weights machines and dumbbell exercises that will target your shoulders, back, chest, legs, glutes and abs. 

“This workout is made up of three upper-body/lower-body supersets. This will give your muscles enough time to recover between sets but will also be time efficient. You’ll finish with straight sets of two bodyweight exercises that will fire up your core.”

The Workout In Brief

  • 1A Dumbbell seated shoulder press 3 x 10-12
  • 1B Dumbbell reverse lunge 3 x 10-12 each side
  • 2A Lat pull-down 3 x 10-12
  • 2B Seated leg curl 3 x 10-12
  • 3A Seated abduction 3 x 10-12
  • 3B Goblet squat 3 x 10-12
  • 4 Plank 3 x 45-60sec
  • 5 Push-up 3 x 8-12

Form Guides


Weights machines can differ. Make sure you refer to the instructions on the machine you are using.

1A Seated dumbbell shoulder press 

Sets 3 Reps 10-12 Rest 0sec

Sit on a bench with the back set at 90°. Hold dumbbells by your shoulders with your palms facing forwards, and elbows out to the sides. Engage your core and press the dumbbells overhead. Slowly lower the dumbbells to the start.

1B Dumbbell reverse lunge

Sets 3 Reps 10-12 each side Rest 0sec

Stand holding dumbbells by your sides with your palms facing. Take a big step back with your right leg, bending both knees to lower until your right knee is just above the floor. Your front knee should be directly above your ankle. Push up through your front heel to return to the start. Alternate sides with each rep.

2A Lat pull-down

Sets 3 Reps 10-12 Rest 0sec

Sit in the lat pull-down machine with the pad resting on the top of your thighs. The bar should be above you at arm’s length. Hold the bar in an overhand grip, palms facing away from you. Engage your core and back, and pull the bar down to chin level. Return the bar to the start under control.

2B Leg extension 

Sets 3 Reps 10-12 Rest 60sec

Sit in the leg extension machine with your shins against the lever pad. Straighten your legs to lift the weight. Pause, then lower your legs under control. 

3A Seated hip abduction 

Sets 3 Reps 10-12 Rest 0sec

Sit in a hip abduction machine with your thighs against the pads. Engage your core and move your legs out to the sides. Return to the start under control.

3B Goblet squat 

Sets 3 Reps 10-12 Rest 60sec

Stand with your feet just wider than hip-width apart, holding one end of a dumbbell in both hands close to your chest. Bend your knees and push your hips back to lower, keeping your back flat throughout. When your thighs are parallel to the floor, push up through your heels to stand. 

4 Plank

Sets 3 Time 45-60sec Rest 60sec

Hold your body in a straight line, supporting your weight on your forearms and toes. Your elbows should be directly below your shoulders. Engage your core and glute muscles. Hold this position for the duration.

5 Push-up

Sets 3 Reps 8-12 Rest 60sec

Hold your body in a straight line on your hands and toes, with your arms extended and hands directly under your shoulders. Bend your elbows, keeping them close to the body, to lower your chest to the floor. Push powerfully back to the start.

Lucy Gornall

Lucy is an experienced health and fitness journalist, and was formerly health editor for TI Media’s portfolio of women’s titles. Lucy qualified as a level 3 personal trainer with Train Fitness in 2016, and also holds qualifications in pre- and post-natal fitness, as well as in nutrition for exercise.