How and Why You Should Use Giant Sets to Grow More Muscle

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How and Why You Should Use Giant Sets to Grow More Muscle

Use Giant Sets to Beat Boring Routines and Force Muscle Hypertrophy

It comes with the territory that building an aesthetically pleasing muscular physique can be a bit void of excitement. For pro bodybuilders and top tier fitness models it’s usually a case of continuous bouts of repetition. Both in terms of daily routine, the way you eat and of course, your training. Isolating certain muscles and muscle groups to get them to grow the way you want and provide that end resulting look, means you’re going to be repeating a lot of the same movements. We do this because it’s that constant work which repeatedly breaks down our Myofibrils (muscle fibres), forcing them to rebuild.

Bodybuilders and serious figure athletes deserve respect for their work ethic but not just because it’s hard, because it’s also in many ways fairly mentally unfulfilling work. If you didn’t really want the end result badly enough, you wouldn’t be able to undergo such similar and arguably boring regularity workout after workout. Now we’re not suggesting you should repeat workouts all the time. Some change is good to spark new growth and invigorate your routine, but the elite understand that the repetition in the basic movements will make the biggest long-term difference.

The curse of this process though is that many become overly complacent with the same old routine and they forget that it’s not simply a case of sticking with it, it’s also a case of progression. Progression isn’t always simply adding more weight. For many individuals there is a limit to what their body can lift and what their joints can take. More weight is also not always the answer to delivering a specific look you may be going for. So, if you’re not using them already, this is where we recommend Giant Sets.

What is a Giant Set?

Not to be confused with drop sets or super sets, a giant set is a combination of 3+ exercises (movements) which all focus on one muscle or muscle group. So, we’re looking to really punish a specific area of the body and stimulate growth.

It would be easy to call it a circuit but it’s not that either, not really. Circuit training is usually a full body workout and utilises many different movements or an element of cardio/hit. Giant sets are for bodybuilding and you’ll be completing 3+ bodybuilding movements all focussed on a target area.

How to Complete a Giant Set

So, pick your movements, try starting with 4. As we’ve said make sure the movements are focussed on a specific muscle, or group of muscles. One set equals completing each of the movements for the given reps one after the other with little to no rest in between. You should really move almost immediately from one movement to the next. You will then rest as you would after any set before hitting the movements again for another giant set. As with any exercise you’ll be looking to complete 3-4 sets.

Weight Choice for Giant Set

You still want to be challenged so don’t wuss out now. Pick challenging weight but given you’re going to be completing 3+ movements in a row, give yourself perhaps a 15-20% reduction in weight from what you would usually use for a standard working set the first time you try it.

Rep wise keep to a good working range. Stick to 8-12 reps each move given you’ve taken a slight reduction in weight used. Rest around 2 minutes between giant sets even if you would usually rest for less.

Progression for Giant Sets

Progression for giant sets is like anything. Weight and reps are you main tools to play with but of course you also have the option to add more exercises to your giant sets. It will all depend on how hard you find the sets to complete the first few times you use them. I would personally argue that if you’re hitting 10-12 reps per movement and not having major issues then you’ll be wanting to increase the weight. Adding exercises on to giant sets will depend on the body part worked and honestly the access to equipment you have. Giant sets are selfish when it comes to hogging equipment in a public gym so I wouldn’t recommend trying them during peak time unless you’re already a monster.

Pyramid session progression. Boredom can be defeated by keeping things challenging. If you’re a real badass you may want to pyramid your giant sets. Upping the reps for all exercises each set.

Example Giant Set (Shoulders)

Movement Giant Set 1 Giant Set 2 Giant Set 3
Military Press 8 Reps 8 Reps 8 Reps
Dumbbell Lateral Raise 12 Reps 12 Reps 12 Reps
Dumbbell Front Raise 8 Reps (per arm) 8 Reps (per arm) 8 Reps (per arm)
Upright Row 8 Reps 8 Reps 8 Reps

Example Giant Set Progressive Pyramid (Shoulders)

Movement Giant Set 1 Giant Set 2 Giant Set 3
Military Press 8 Reps 10 Reps 12 Reps
Dumbbell Lateral Raise 12 Reps 14 Reps 16 Reps
Dumbbell Front Raise 8 Reps (per arm) 10 Reps (per arm) 12 Reps (per arm)
Upright Row 8 Reps 10 Reps 12 Reps


By | 2020-07-02T16:53:21+01:00 July 2nd, 2020|Body Building, Exercise, Training|0 Comments

About the Author:

Chris is the primary founder and director of The Fiit Agency as well as an 11 year marketing and health & fitness veteran. He is a qualified level 4 trainer with additional coaching qualifications in strength & conditioning as well as complimentary nutritional studies. While Chris remains the main author for our own blog, he is also a regular contributor to a number of digital marketing, business growth and health & fitness blogs, websites and other key industry media.

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