Anyone training with any sort of consistency is interested in one major goal -- making gains. Whether you’re interested in strength, power, speed, or size, it doesn’t matter. The reason you train (aside from enjoyment and health) is because you want to make progress on a consistent basis, i.e. getting bigger, stronger, and faster.
However, there comes a point in every trainees life when the gains stop coming so easily and you reach the dreaded plateau. You’ve tried everything from deloading to varying rep ranges and changing workouts entirely. Heck, you’ve probably experimented with supersets and trisets on occasion, but nothing seems to break the sticking point you’re sitting at.
What’s the struggling lifter left to do?
Give up and quit the gym, settle for your current physique and call it day?
What you need is something that’s a complete system shock. Something that will unleash those size gains hidden deep down in your core.
What you need are giant sets!
What are Giant Sets?
During your time in the gym, you’ve probably incorporated supersets from time to time, wherein you perform two back to back with little to no rest between them before taking a break. Trisets ratchet up the intensity another notch by demanding you perform three exercises back-to-back-to-back with little to no rest between. So, what are giant sets?
Giant sets are essentially supersets and trisets on crack.
When performing a giant set, you’re performing a minimum of four exercises back to back, taking minimum rest between each before getting a full break. These exercises are all targeting one muscle group, which subjects them to an enormous amount of volume and time under tension.
In other words, giant sets are the ultimate plateau buster that will keep the gains rolling and blow your muscles up like never before.
But, beware, giant sets are incredibly demanding on your muscles and cardiovascular conditioning. Throughout each giant set, your muscles and lungs will be burning and you’ll be praying you can last until the full rest period between sets. Don’t get too comfortable during your break though, as you’ve got a maximum of 2 minutes rest between giant sets before you run through the gauntlet again.
Benefits of Giant Set Training
Giant sets have been around a long time, but it wasn’t until Milos Sarcev and John Meadows really popularized this style of training that it began to take off. Bigger muscles are an obvious benefit to giant set training, but that’s not all this rigorous style of training has to offer.
One big advantage to giant set training is that it allows you to just induce a lot of muscular damage without having to resort to extremely heavy weights. Typical bodybuilding recommendations are that you have to go heavy and hard to grow muscles, especially bigger muscle groups like the legs and back. However, with giant set training, you can dial back the weight, and really zero in on form and “the squeeze” since your muscles are subjected to so many repetitions before getting a full rest period.
Another advantage to this method of programming is that due to the series of exercises performed back to back, giant sets allow you to hit a muscle group from multiple angles within the same giant set, leading to a more well-rounded, all out assault on the targeted muscle group -- resulting in more shapely, and evenly built muscle.
Last but not least is the tremendous metabolic effect that giant sets training gives you. Weight training on it’s awesome is great for revving up your metabolism, but the high volume combined with brief rest periods leads to massive EPOC (Excessive Post-exercise Oxygen Consumption), which increases metabolic rate and calorie burn much more than straight set training, supersets or even traditional cardio training will. That means that not only will giant sets help build bigger muscles, but it’ll also help shed fat, providing an awesome 2 for 1 training effect!
Suffice it to say that giants sets are great for hypertrophy, fat loss, and overall athletic conditioning due to the unique workout structure and make for the ultimate plateau buster.
Giant Sets for Giant Gains
Seeing as muscle growth (i.e. hypertrophy) is the primary goal here, giant sets align themselves perfectly with your goals. Giant sets combine High Volume + Short Rest, which yields maximum size gains.
Stubborn muscle growth will be a thing of the past when you adopt giant sets into your training program, and we’ve got just the program here for you to run for the foreseeable future. Just be aware this is NOT easy! It will demand everything you’ve got to just finish the workout, let alone push yourself to increase the weight or reps each subsequent training session.
If you’re up to the challenge, then let’s get to it!
Giant Sets Program
Due to the intense nature of giant sets and the incredible metabolic demand it places on you, we’ll only be hitting one major muscle group per workout, while smaller muscle groups like biceps and triceps can be hit on the same day.
Perform each of the following workouts on separate days. Perform each exercise in the giant set back to back with as little rest as possible between them before resting for a period of 2 minutes (120 seconds) before starting the next round of exercises.
For all exercises, maintain proper form and keep body english (i.e. swinging) to an absolute minimum.
Each exercise is performed for 10-12 reps, and each giant set will be performed 4 times for a complete workout.
Get ready, because giant sets are about to rock your world!
A1 - Barbell Bench Press
A2 - Low Incline Dumbbell Press
A3 - High Incline Dumbbell Press
A4 - Standing Cable Crossovers
A5 - Pushups
A1 - Back Squats
A2 - Leg Press
A3 - Romanian Deadlift
A4 - Leg Extensions
A5 - Leg Curls
A1 - Seated Cable Rows
A2 - Wide Grip Lat Pulldowns
A3 - Underhand Grip Lat Pull Downs
A4 - Neutral Grip Chin Ups
A5 - Dumbbell Pullovers
A1 - Barbell Push Press
A2 - Seated Arnold Press
A3 - Barbell Upright Row
A4 - Dumbbell Laterals
A5 - Face Pulls
A1 - Tricep Pushdowns
A2 - EZ Bar Skullcrushers
A3 - Overhead Cable Extensions
A4 - Dumbbell Kickback
A5 - Bench Dips
B1 - Incline Dumbbell Curls
B2 - EZ Bar Curls
B3 - Seated Dumbbell Curls
B4 - Hammer Curls
B5 - Chin Ups (focus on pulling with biceps instead of back)
Progressing with Giant Sets
Making gains with Giant Sets is just like any other style of training. You need to follow the principles of progressive overload. That mean to make appreciable size gains, each subsequent workout, you need to either add reps, increase the weight, or decrease the rest between sets by some amount.
Examples of this could be:
If you performed 10 reps on every exercise this week, aim to complete 11 or 12 reps on each exercise for every set of the giant set
Increase the weight
If you performed 12 reps on every exercise for every set in a given workout, next workout increase the weight by 5 or 10 pounds for each exercise and aim for 10 reps per set.
Instead of resting 2 minutes between giant sets, reduce the rest by 5 seconds so you’re only resting 1 minute 55 seconds between giant sets.
Giant Sets for Giant Gains
Plateaus were meant to be broken.
If you’ve been struggling to make any kind of appreciable size gains these past few weeks, ditch your current workout program and embrace giant sets for the foreseeable future. You’ll be amazed at how much new growth you’ll spark doing this style of training!