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What To Superset With Squats, Goblet Squats & Split Squats?

Ah, supersets… The timeless strategy of doing one thing, then another thing.

Named and popularised by Joe Weider in the golden era of bodybuilding, and a staple in fitness textbooks everywhere.

And squatting… the compound movement that works around 85% of muscles in the body.

With such a high impact on the body, what can you superset with them?

Should you even be supersetting anything with squats? Let’s dig in.

What To Superset With Back/Front/Box/Hack squats?

With a bar on your back, you can move a lot of weight. Much of the emphasis here will be on your hips, back, quads and glutes.

Upper Body Exercises

Upper body movements like pressing and bench pressing.

Isolation work for the upper body. Biceps, triceps, delts, that kind of thing. You’re only really limited by your imagination here.

Lower Body Isolation Work

Any single leg work exercise could be used for post-exhaust work here. You could further beat on the quads with a single leg squat variation, or use a machine like a leg curl.

You could also use a bodyweight movement like a glute ham raise to add some additional light work for the hamstrings.

Kettlebell swings could be a nice option too. They are good for the posterior chain and can really help knees feel better after heavy squats. Just be sure to keep the fatigue down. Low reps and a moderate bell weight. One set of 15-20 with 16-24kg would be right for most people.


I first came across this term in Dan John’s book  “Intervention” in the early 00s.

Fillers are mobility exercises that one performs between sets of their main movements. 

Fillers can be used to work on a specific restriction the lifter is looking to improve long term. Or, they might choose a filler to address an acute problem.

Static stretching may be contraindicated, however. You don’t want to overly relax muscles that are staying tight to guard a joint.

For squats, one common acute ailment is feeling tight and stiff in the chest. This can make establishing your grip painful on the shoulders. You might choose to superset your squats with band pull-aparts or shoulder dislocations with a PVC pipe/broomstick.

Another common area that feels restricted in the squat are the hip flexors. You might pair the squat with a kneeling lunge, or a static split squat, seeking to open up the front of the hip a little.

Fillers are a reasonable choice to superset with squats. 

Explosive Lower Body Movement

There are some training methodologies that combine high rep squats or deadlifts with high rep jumping movements. Box squat, squat jumps, that kind of thing, in the 10+ range. I do not recommend this.

However, there are many sporting disciplines that use low rep jumping before/after squatting movements. There is some additional nervous system stimulus that can be advantageous to the next set of squats.

We’re talking 3-5 jumps here, and probably under 20 jumps per training session.


If the squats are heavy enough, you don’t need to superset anything with them. There’s no need to be slavish to a methodology.

The stronger you get, the less likely you’ll want to superset anything beyond a filler.

What To Superset With Goblet Squats?

woman doing a goblet squat

Because goblet squats aren’t very heavy, you can potentially push harder with the superset exercise at a lower risk.

Before getting to the recommendations, one kettlebell movement I wouldn’t recommend supersetting is the Turkish get-up. This movement is sensitive to fatigue. You don’t want to drop the weight from overhead.

Common and well-tolerated choices for goblet squat supersets:

  • Push-ups
  • Swings
  • Presses
  • Cleans
  • Farmers walks
  • You can also perform thrusters – double push presses directly from the double kettlebell front squat.

Side note: I believe kettlebell thrusters are superior to barbell thrusters. Barbell thrusters ask for competing elbow positions in the rack.

With a barbell, you’re better off splitting the two movements up: front squat and push press.

In the kettlebell thruster, the rack position is the same for the double kettlebell front squat and the push press, allowing you to flow seamlessly from one to the other.

What To Superset With Split Squats?

If you’re using a single leg (unilateral) squat variation, whether it’s a:

  • Split squat
  • Rear foot elevated (Bulgarian) split squat
  • Lunge variation

The total load is likely to be low comparative to a double-legged (bilateral) movement.

However! You have to do both legs. That means that all the other structures involved, which include the torso, and the other leg in the down position, have to do work.

This, plus all the stabilising, really jacks up the demand on the cardiovascular system.

You might want to pair this with a hamstring dominant single leg variation, like the single legged deadlift, or any of the suggestions above for the bilateral squats.

Just be aware not to rush between movements. Approach your rest periods in a relaxed manner.

What To Superset With Wide Powerlifting Sumo-Style Squats?

Pretty much everything listed for the above squat variations, but note that the demand on the hamstrings, hips, glutes and adductors are high here.

If you were looking to add in a more quad dominant superset counterpart, you could also consider a narrow goblet squat as an additional option.

Can You Superset Squats With Deadlifts?

I would not recommend this. Both exercises are heavily taxing for your body.

Can You Superset Squats With Pull-Ups?

Yes. Be advised; this is a gruelling choice!

Front squats are an often-used superset partner. The mid back takes a real beating. You can expect the number of pull-ups per set to drop off rapidly.

Can You Superset Squats With Push-Ups?

Yes. The heart rate really ramps up from the level change – going from standing, to low, and back again.

Can You Superset Squats And Lunges?

young woman doing lunges

Yes, this would be a good option to post-exhaust the quads in particular. It’s not advisable to squat too heavy with this combo.

After the lunges, take a lengthy rest before moving back to the squats.

Can You Superset Squats And Bench Press?

Squat and bench press are a reasonable upper/lower superset.

You’re going to need a dual barbell set-up for this. Make sure you don’t pee anyone off in your training space by utilising two training spaces. Working with a partner and taking turns could work.

The amount of weight you can lift in both exercises is high, so be aware that fatigue from one will carry over to the other. It is best to stay submaximal here.

Can You Superset Squats And Box Jumps?

Pairing squats with an explosive jumping movement has been used in athletes for decades. The volume of jumps should be kept very low per set.

There is some evidence in sports science to suggest that this isn’t really beneficial until one has developed their squat strength to around the double bodyweight mark.

Can You Use Squats In A Triset or Giant Set?

You can! In many ways, assuming you have the space for it, this can be a better choice.

For example, after the squat, you hit 3-5 explosive jumps, and then use a band pull-apart as a filler exercise, keeping you moving but allowing your legs to recover.

Given that there are so many different ways of squatting, we’ve outlined some suggestions in this article.

Important Considerations Before You Superset With Squats

Why would you want to superset anything with squats?

The original reason anyone wanted to superset anything was a concept called peripheral heart action (PHA). The idea was to continually switch between:

  • Upper/lower body exercises e.g. chin-up then squat
  • Centre/periphery exercises e.g. bench press then triceps extension
  • Opposing muscle groups e.g. biceps curl then triceps extension

Purported benefits include a higher heart rate, increased blood flow to the muscles targeted, and less lactic acid build-up.

Famous bodybuilders who liked to train in this way included Bob Gadja and Dave Draper. Draper wrote about superset strategies in his book “Brother Iron, Sister Steel”.

If you look closely at the way some CrossFit workouts are structured today, you’ll often see elements of PHA in there.

The second primary reason people still employ supersets is to time saving in strength training workouts.

Here’s an example. If you’re still recovering from a heavy set of squats, you may not be ready to perform your next set of squats. You can still warm up for your bench during that time without too much impact on recovery. By the time you get to your bench work weights, your squats will be over.

When would you want to superset anything with squats?

If you are squatting close to your limit, that will demand focus and recovery. You don’t want any other exercise to be fatiguing you prior to the next set.

Any exercise is going to tap into your recovery to some extent, so you have to pick your strategy wisely.

Does your gym setup permit for supersets?

Whatever you superset, you’re going to need both sets of equipment set up in advance.

This can be problematic in a shared training environment such as a commercial gym. During peak hours, it might be viewed as inconsiderate to monopolise two pieces of equipment at once.

Example leg workout with squats superset

A1) Front squat 3-5 reps

A2) Band pull-apart 30-50 reps

3 rounds

B1) Bulgarian split squat 10-12 reps left leg

B2) Kettlebell swings 10-15 reps

B3) Bulgarian split squat 10-12 reps left leg

B4) Kettlebell swings 10-15 reps

2 rounds

C1) Glute ham raise 8-10 reps

C2 Goblets squats to a bench 20 reps

4 rounds

This is a lot of work for your lower body!

That’s all for this article, but is squatting harder if you’re tall? Or perhaps you’re wondering how many squats should a 14 year old do?

Hope this helped!


Joe Weider