Putting together a comprehensive plan of attack to bring up a weak body part is mind-numbing and overwhelming.
Contrasting to nutrition where the solution to most problems lies within a very simple (yet often difficult to execute) solution, training is complex because of the amount of possibilities are theoretically infinite; many different paths can lead to the same place eventually.
This is why we rely on overarching principles to guide us rather than getting paralyzed by the minutiae. If your program design is overloading, progressive, specific and manages fatigue then there is a strong probability that it will eventually get you to where you are trying to go even if the semantics are a bit fluid.
So why am I prefacing a post about hip thrust and lunge supersets with this tangent?
Ironically, this is an example of what would fall in the aforementioned "semantic" category.
Is a single superset going to overhaul your glute training and turn you from Kim Possible into Kim K? Doubtful.
But if you have your first principles in place with well-designed base lower sessions, sufficient volume and intensity of glute-focused exercises, and reasonable progression models, filling in the gaps starts to become ever more important.
And strategically filling in those gaps with net-positive additions becomes the key towards improvement.
Let's now dive into why this particular superset has the potential to drive serious glute growth:
1) When looking to add something to a program rather than replace, we have to ensure that there is no contagion risk. What I mean by this is that we cannot just blindly throw more exercises and volume into a program that has stagnated without proper risk-management. The exercises need to have a low potential of injury and the volume added must be fatiguing locally but not systemically. With the Machine Hip Thrusts -> DB Walking Lunges there is a very low risk of injury and neither movement is going to wreck the CNS.
2) A function of the sequencing is to go from a bias of shortened muscle fiber length to lengthened. This is crucial because it creates a stimulus that is greater than the sum of its parts (for physiological reasons that are outside the scope of this). Getting more growth potential for less needed volume and intensity is exactly what we need from a "gap filler" in a program.
3) We can fulfill multiple different goals without having to deviate from the specified exercises and order. If we want to focus more on progressive overload, we can do that. If we want to lean more into metabolic stress, easy! We can even use this superset as a form of HIIT cardio if we were inclined.
4) Because neither of these specific movements has a high risk of injury or taxes the joints too hard, this superset can very easily be added at the end of a non-specific lower body session without the need of an extended warmup. One of my favorite ways to structure this set-up is to have two full lower body days with this superset added to a third day that is upper body focused. This allows us to squeeze in more glute volume into our training week without negatively affecting our primary sessions.
Now that it's apparent why and how this Machine Hip Thrust -> DB Walking Lunge superset is so effective, are there any caveats to keep in mind?
Though my opinion is obviously biased towards the pros rather than the cons, it still is very important for any coaches or trainees to understand that shortened-to-lengthened supersets have the potential to create massive amounts of muscle damage. Muscle damage is not a bad thing despite how scary it sounds. Our sarcomeres (muscle fibers) are actually driven to adaptation by repeated micro-tearing (damage) from external forces (training). When controlled for, this is a very normal part of the hypertrophic process. When left unchecked and under-recovered, this can be detrimental to progression.
To counteract this when looking to take advantage of this superset, it is a good idea to start with 1-2 sets and a bit shy of failure until a good baseline of recovery is set. The interesting part is that after a week or two our bodies become extremely responsive to familiar stressors which makes the muscle damage concern essentially non-consequential. Most people just can't restrain themselves and end up always playing a game of catch-up on recovery.
This superset is powerful; there is no doubt about that. Use it wisely, young grasshopper.