Giant Sets: The Ultimate Plateau Buster!


giant sets

Giant sets are one of the best and most intense bodybuilding training methods ever invented. They are great for building muscle and for blasting through training plateaus.

If you are looking for a new training method to “shock your muscles into growth” then giant sets are for you!

Introduction

  • Part 1: Nick Mitchell Giant Sets
  • Part 2: John Meadows Giant Sets
  • Part 3: Charles Poliquin Giant Sets
  • Part 4: Milos Sarcev Giant Sets

In this comprehensive guide I am going to teach you how 4 of the best bodybuilding coaches in the world use giant sets to build muscle mass as fast as humanly possible.

Giant sets are a high-intensity bodybuilding training method popularized by the bodybuilding coach Milos Sarcev. The goal with giant sets is to perform 4 or more exercises in a row for a muscle group with 10 seconds rest in between each exercise. For example:

Giant Sets Training Protocol

  • Perform exercise #1, rest 10 seconds
  • Perform exercise #2, rest 10 seconds
  • Perform exercise #3, rest 10 seconds
  • Perform exercise #4, rest 2-4 minutes, repeat!

The key is to perform at least 4 exercises in a row for the same body part. Some coaches like Milos Sarcev like to use 10 or more exercises in a single giant set!

Here is Milos Sarcev coaching Sergio Olivia Jr. through a 7 exercise giant set workout for his biceps:

Talk about an intense set! Giant sets are so effective because they jack up the total time under tension of the set. If a regular set takes 20 seconds to complete then a giant set with 4 exercises takes about 80 seconds to complete! This extra time under tension creates more muscle damage and metabolic stress which is exactly what you want if your goal is to build maximum muscle mass.

Here is Milos Sarcev explaining why giant sets are so effective for building muscle:

“What is the most intense training system? What creates maximum muscle fiber stimulation? If you’re truly honest with yourself then the answer is giant sets!”

In this guide I’m going to teach you how 4 of the best bodybuilding coaches including Nick Mitchell, John Meadows, Charles Poliquin and Milos Sarcev use giant sets to blast through training plateaus and build muscle mass as fast as possible.

Trust me, you don’t want to miss out on this cutting edge information!

Note: if you have trouble reading the training routines in this article then check out this guide on how to read a training program. Now let’s get down to business…

Part 1: Nick Mitchell Giant Sets

Nick Mitchell founder and CEO of the world’s leading personal training company, Ultimate Performance. Nick is known for his ability to help clients build muscle mass and lose body fat incredibly quickly.

Nick has many different tools for blasting through training plateaus but giant sets are probably his go-to training method. One of his favorite strategies is called “fast-twitch giant sets.”

The basic idea is to perform a giant set with all of your sets in the 4-8 rep range. The lower rep ranges are perfect for targeting the fast-twitch muscle fibers and creating a ton of tension in the target muscles. However, because you are performing several exercises in a row you still accumulate an enormous amount of time under tension, muscular damage and metabolic stress.

In other words fast-twitch giant sets give you an out-of-this-world pump even though you are training with lower rep ranges. They are like the best of both worlds!

Here is a fast-twitch giant set that Nick wrote to help a client blast through a hamstrings training plateau. Check it out:

Nick Mitchell’s Fast Twitch Giant Set Hamstrings Workout

  • A1: Bilateral lying leg curl (Poliquin method, feet neutral)**, 4 x 6, 4/0/1/0, 10 sec rest
  • A2: 90 degree back extension (holding DB), 4 x 6, 2/0/1/2, 10 sec rest
  • A3: 45 Degree back extension (Barbell held in front w/ snatch grip), 4 x 6, 3/0/1/2, 10 sec rest
  • A4: Bilateral lying leg curls ( Plantar Flexed, Feet Neutral), 4 x 6, 4/0/1/0. 10 sec rest
  • A5: Stiff-legged deadlift, 4 x 6, 3/1/1/0, 240 sec rest

**to perform the Poliquin method on leg curls you will dorsiflex your ankles (point your toes towards your shins) on the concentric range and plantar flex your ankles (point your toes away from your shins) on the eccentric range.

Here are the training videos: exercise A1, exercise A2, exercise A3, exercise A4, exercise A5.

For this hamstrings hypertrophy workout you are going to perform a giant set with 5 different hamstrings exercises. Your goal is to perform 6 hard reps on each set and 4 total rounds of this giant set.

One of the reasons that this fast-twitch giant set workout is so effective is Nick carefully manipulates the exercise tempo for each movement. For example the first exercise is performed with a 4/0/1/0 tempo. In other words you raise the weight over 1 second and lower the weight over 4 seconds.

This means the total time under tension per rep is 5 seconds and the total time under tension per set is about 30 seconds.

We know that the fast-twitch muscle fibers grow best from sets with 20-40 seconds of time under tension so this is absolutely perfect. I think you will be shocked at how fast your hamstrings grow from this fast-twitch giant set routine!

Here is another fast-twitch giant set routine that Nick Mitchell wrote for one of his bodybuilding clients. Check it out:

Nick Mitchell Fast Twitch Giant Set Shoulder Workout:

  • A1: Seated cable rope face pulls, 4 x 8, 3/0/1/0, no rest
  • A2: Seated DB lateral raise, 4 x 8, 3/0/1/0, no rest
  • A3: Seated DB scott press, 4 x 8, 2/0/1/0, no rest
  • A4: Bent over DB lateral raise, 4 x 8, 2/0/1/0, no rest
  • A5: Seated BB behind the neck press**, 4 x 15, 2/0/1/0, 4 minutes rest

**only do the bottom half of the movement and keep elbows driven back for constant tension on deltoids.

This fast twitch giant set routine uses a wide variety of compound and isolation exercises to maximally overload all three heads of the deltoid muscles.

Once again Nick has you use relatively lower rep ranges to overload the fast-twitch muscle fibers as much as possible. Don’t worry, you will build plenty of muscle mass training this way because you are performing 5 shoulder exercises in a row with no rest between sets!

Nick Mitchell normally has his bodybuilding clients perform no more than 4-5 exercises in a row as part of a giant set. These giant set circuits are already very difficult to perform and require a ton of mental toughness.

However, if Nick is working with an especially motivated client then he sometimes uses giant sets with 10+ exercises performed in a row. These 10+ exercise giant sets are absolutely brutal but they work extremely well for building up muscle groups like the quadriceps and the upper back.

Just check out the following video:

Talk about a hard workout! Nick’s client performs 9 quadricep exercises in a row to failure. Now THAT is a tough set! Here is the exact workout:

Nick Mitchell Quadriceps Giant Set Routine

  • A1: back squat, 4 sets of 8-12 reps, 3/0/1/0, no rest
  • B1: Trap bar deadlift squat, 1 sets of 8-12 reps, 3/0/1/0, no rest
  • C1: Machine hack squat, 1 sets of 8-12 reps, 3/0/1/0, no rest
  • D1: Pendulum squat with bands, 1 sets of 8-12 reps, 3/0/1/0, no rest
  • E1: 45 degree leg press, 1 sets of 8-12 reps, 3/0/1/0, no rest
  • F1: Machine leg extension, 1 sets of 8-12 reps, 3/0/1/0, no rest
  • G1: Bodyweight squats, 1 sets of 8-12 reps, 3/0/1/0, no rest
  • H1: Eccentric-only sissy squats, 1 sets of 8-12 reps, 3/0/1/0, no rest
  • I1: Bodyweight lunges, 1 sets of 8-12 reps, 3/0/1/0, fall on the floor and die! (Just kidding)

You have to be a madman to try a workout as crazy as this! If your goal is to blast through a quadriceps training plateau as fast as possible then this giant sets routine will do it better than anything else.

Just make sure you have your post-workout shake lined up from True Nutrition, My Supplement Store or wherever you get your supplements from. You’re going to need it!

Part 2: John Meadows Giant Sets

If you have not heard of John Meadows then you must be living under a rock! John Meadows is the creator of the Mountain Dog Training Program and the CEO of Granite Supplements.

John is known for his high-volume training style and often uses giant sets routines to blast through training plateaus. This is especially true when it comes to training the arms!

The biceps and triceps are smaller muscle groups but John believes they respond extremely well to giant sets routines. This makes perfect sense because John’s arm training philosophy is all about chasing the pump and using techniques to create as much muscular fatigue as possible.

Let’s look at some of John’s favorite plateau-busting giant set arm workouts. Here is a simple giant sets triceps routine that you may want to try. Check it out:

John Meadows Giant Set Triceps Workout

  • A1: Machine pushdown, 3-5 x 8, 1/0/1/1, 10 seconds rest
  • A2: Machine dips, 3-5 x 8, 1/0/1/0, 10 seconds rest
  • A3: Machine chest press (neutral grip), 3-5 x 8, 1/0/1/1, 10 seconds rest
  • A4: Machine triceps extension**, 3-5 1/0/1/0, 2-4 minutes rest

**Performed through the bottom 50% of the range of motion only.

Here is the training video for this workout:

For this routine you are going to perform 4 triceps exercises in a row with about 10 seconds rest between exercises. If you read my article on Mountain Dog tricep training then you know John is a big believer in organizing your triceps workouts correctly to keep your elbows healthy and minimize your risk of injury.

Here is a basic overview of how John sequences his triceps exercises:

  • Step #1: Perform cable pushdowns first in your routine to warm up your elbows
  • Step #2: Perform compound pressing exercises like dips towards the middle of your routine
  • Step #3: Perform lying and overhead triceps extensions towards the middle or end of your routine

Even when John is performing a giant set triceps workout he sticks with this order of exercises. In this tricep workout John starts with a machine triceps pushdown, then performs a couple of compound triceps exercises and finally finishes with a machine incline triceps extension.

Your goal is to perform 3-5 rounds of this giant set. Each giant set is really 4 separate sets so this means you are performing 12-20 sets just for your triceps. Now THAT is a high-volume triceps workout! One of John’s all-time favorite ways to organize a giant set arm workout is to use something called “antagonistic giant sets.”

The basic idea is to perform a giant set where you alternate back and forth between an exercise for the biceps and an exercise for the triceps. For example:

  • Exercise #1: Biceps
  • Exercise #2: Triceps
  • Exercise #3: Biceps
  • Exercise #4: Triceps

You would perform all 4 exercises in a row with 10 seconds rest between exercises. After the 4th exercise you rest for 2-4 minutes and repeat the whole circuit.

Alternating back and forth between opposing muscle groups like this has many advantages: it helps you recruit more muscle fibers, it improves your muscular endurance and it gives you an INSANE pump in the arms. What’s not to love?

Here is one of John’s favorite biceps / triceps giant set workouts. Check it out:

John Meadows Giant Set Biceps / Triceps Workout

  • A1: Standing DB curl (hammer grip), 6 x 8-12, 1/0/1/0, 10 seconds rest
  • A2: Cable pushdown (pronated grip), 6 x 8-12, 1/0/X/1, 10 seconds rest
  • A3: 90 degree preacher ez-bar curl (narrow / supinated grip), 6 x 8-12, 1/0/1/0, 10 seconds rest
  • A4: Dual rope pushdown, 6 x 8-12, 1/0/X/1, 10 seconds rest
  • B1: Standing barbell curl (supinated grip), 6 x 8-12, 1/0/X/1, 10 seconds rest
  • B2: Football bar bench press (shoulder-width grip), 6 x 8-12, 1/0/X/1, 10 seconds rest

Here is the training video for this workout:

This workout is basically divided into 2 parts. In the first part of the workout you are performing a 4-exercise giant set for the biceps and triceps. As usual John focuses on different types of cable pushdowns for the triceps to keep his elbows healthy.

John performs 6 total rounds of this giant set which is more than enough to give you one of the best pumps of your life. In the second half of the workout John has you perform 3 working sets on 2 basic “meat and potatoes” exercises: standing barbell curls and bench presses.

For the bench presses John uses the Rogue football bar. This is a special barbell that lets you press with a neutral or “hammer” grip. The neutral grip is great for overloading the triceps and puts less pressure on your shoulders.

If you thought John’s last giant set arm workout was tough then wait until you see the next one! For this last routine John has you perform 2 separate antagonistic giant sets for your biceps and triceps. This routine features 16 total working sets for both your biceps and your triceps and is guaranteed to give you one of the biggest pumps of your life. Check it out:

John Meadows Giant Set Biceps / Triceps Workout

  • A1: Standing dual rope cable pushdown, 4 x 8-12, 1/0/1/1, 10 seconds rest
  • A2: Standing 2-arm DB curl (supinating grip), 4 x 8-12, 1/0/1/0, 10 seconds rest
  • A3: High-pulley rope triceps extension (leaning forward at torso), 4 x 8-12, 1/0/1/0, 10 seconds rest
  • A4: Seated DB curls (supinating grip), 4 x 8-12, 1/0/1/0, 10 seconds rest
  • B1: Preacher ez-bar curl (wide / supinated grip), 4 x 8-12, 1/0/1/0, 10 seconds rest
  • B2: Kettlebell lying extension, 4 x 8-12, 1/0/1/0, 10 seconds rest
  • B3: Reverse cable curl, 4 x 8-12, 1/0/1/0, 10 seconds rest
  • B4: 30 degree incline DB extension, 4 x 8-12, 1/0/1/0, 10 seconds rest

Here is the training video for this workout:

This workout features two separate giant sets: the “A” exercises giant set and the “B” exercises giant set. You perform 4 rounds of the “A” giant set, then perform 4 rounds of the “B” giant set. This is an insane amount of volume so make sure you have your favorite Granite Supplements intra-workout and post-workout drinks ready to go!

The bottom line is giant sets are an awesome training method for blasting through an arm training plateau. John Meadows uses a number of unique strategies like alternating between exercises for the biceps and triceps to make the giant sets training style even more effective for building muscular size.

Part 3: Charles Poliquin Giant Sets

Charles Poliquin was a Canadian strength coach who worked with Olympic and professional athletes from all over the world. Charles was known for his ability to help athletes pack on muscle mass faster than the speed of light. Charles claims that his average first-time client gains 28 pounds of muscle in the first 28 days of working with him!

One of Charles’ favorite training methods for building muscle mass is called “mechanical advantage giant sets.” Mechanical advantage giant sets is a hybrid of two incredible training methods:

Here’s how a mechanical advantage giant set works: you are going to pick one major exercise and perform 4 different variations of that exercise all in a row.

For a mechanical advantage giant set you start with your weakest variation and progress to your strongest variation. For example:

  • Weakest exercise variation x 8-12 reps, rest 10 seconds
  • 2nd weakest exercise variation x AMRAP**, rest 10 seconds
  • 3rd weakest exercise variation x AMRAP**, rest 10 seconds
  • Strongest exercise variation x AMRAP**, rest 10 seconds

**AMRAP stands for “as many reps as possible.” Perform as many reps as you can with the same weight you used for the first exercise.

One of the cool things about mechanical advantage giant sets is you can use the same amount of weight for each exercise in the giant set. This makes mechanical advantage giant sets very easy to perform in a typical commercial gym.

However, don’t their simplicity fool you: mechanical advantage giant sets are one of THE best training methods you can use for blasting through hypertrophy training plateaus. In fact they were one of Charles’ secret weapons for building functional hypertrophy. Let’s look at some sample training routines.

One of Charles’ favorite giant set routines is called the “gymnast’s extended sets back routine.” You are going to perform a giant set with 4 different types of pull ups performed back-to-back. Check it out:

Gymnasts’ Extended Set Back Routine

  • A1: Pull ups (wide / overhand grip), 4 x 6-8, 3/0/X/0, 10 seconds rest
  • A2: Pull ups (medium / overhand grip), 4 x AMRAP**, 3/0/X/0, 10 seconds rest
  • A3: Chin ups (medium / supinated grip), 4 x AMRAP**, 3/0/X/0, 10 seconds rest
  • A4: Chin ups (narrow / supinated grip), 4 x AMRAP**, 3/0/X/0, 10 seconds rest

**Perform as many reps as possible with the same weight you used for exercise A1.

Here is a great video demonstration of this workout:

Charles Poliquin says that this is one of THE fastest ways to add muscle mass to your upper back. It is especially effective for building functional hypertrophy or for increasing the size of your fast-twitch muscle fibers.

Just make sure that you can perform at least 6-8 wide grip pull ups with perfect form before attempting this routine. If you cannot do 6-8 pull ups then you may want to use lat pulldowns for this routine instead.

Mechanical advantage giant sets can also be used for other muscle groups like the arms. Here is a sample brachialis giant set routine that you may want to try. 

Brachialis Mechanical Advantage Giant Set Routine

  • A1: Preacher ez-bar curl (narrow / pronated grip), 4 x 6-8, 2/0/X/0, 10 seconds rest
  • A2: Preacher ez-bar curl (wide / pronated grip), 4 x AMRAP**, 2/0/X/0, 10 seconds rest
  • A3: Preacher ez-bar curl (wide / supinated grip), 4 x AMRAP**, 2/0/X/0, 10 seconds rest
  • A4: Preacher ez-bar curl (narrow / supinated grip), 4 x AMRAP**, 2/0/X/0, 180 seconds rest

**Perform as many reps as you can with the same weight you used for exercise A1.

For this giant set routine you are performing 4 different types of preacher ez-bar curls. You start with the grip where you are weakest and slowly work your way to the grip where you are strongest. This means you can use the same weight on all 4 exercises and still get plenty of reps on each exercise!

If you are struggling to bring up your brachialis muscles then you have to give this routine a shot! You can always perform some extra work for your biceps at the end of this workout if you really think it’s necessary.  

Charles Poliquin’s Ultimate Giant Set Arm Workout

If you are an advanced bodybuilder then I have just the thing for you: I am going to share with you one of the most advanced arm workouts ever written by Charles Poliquin. But before I give you the routine I have to teach you a lesson on strength training program design.

Charles Poliquin has a saying that I really like: “strength training is like learning a foreign language.” When you learn a new language you always start by learning a few basic sentences:

  • “Hello, my name is Arnold Schwarzenegger.”
  • “Me greatest bodybuilder of all times!”
  • “I lift things up and put them down!”

As you master the language you start to use more complicated words and sentence structures:

  • “My definition of living is to have excitement always; that’s the difference between living and existing.”
  • “All I know is that the first step is to create a vision, because when you see the vision – the beautiful vision – that creates the want power.”
  • “To those critics who are so pessimistic about our economy, I say: don’t be economic girlie men!”

The same thing is true with strength training. When you first start lifting weights you start with the basics. You learn the basic exercises and some basic set / rep schemes like 3 sets of 10, 5 sets of 5 etc. As you become more advanced you have to challenge yourself more and more in the gym in order to make progress.

Here is an advanced mechanical advantage giant set arm routine written by Charles Poliquin.

This routine is so difficult that only advanced bodybuilders should even think about performing it. However, if you are stuck at training plateau then this will shock your muscles into growth faster than you can say “get to the choppa!” Check it out:

Charles Poliquin Ultimate Giant Sets Arm Workout

Part 1

  • A1: Seated DB zottman curls, 3 x 6-8, 4/0/1/0, 60 seconds rest
  • A2: Decline ez-bar extension (to forehead), 3 x 6-8, 3/1/1/0, 60 seconds rest

Part 2

  • B1: Preacher ez-bar curl (wide / supinated grip), 3 x 8-10, 2/1/2/0, 60 seconds rest
  • B2: Bench press (close grip), 3 x 8-10, 2/2/1/0, 60 seconds rest

Part 3

  • C1: 30 degree incline DB curl (hammer grip), 3 x 12-15, 3/0/1/0, 10 seconds rest
  • C2: 45 degree incline DB curl (hammer grip), 3 x AMRAP**, 3/0/1/0, 10 seconds rest
  • C3: 60 degree incline DB curl (hammer grip), 3 x AMRAP**, 3/0/1/0, 10 seconds rest
  • C4: 75 degree incline DB curl (hammer grip), 3 x AMRAP**, 3/0/1/0, 10 seconds rest
  • C5: Seated DB curl (hammer grip), 3 x AMRAP**, 3/0/1/0, 120 seconds rest
  • C6: 60 degree incline DB extension, 3 x 12-15, 3/0/1/0, 10 seconds rest
  • C7: 45 degree incline DB extension, 3 x AMRAP**, 3/0/1/0, 10 seconds rest
  • C8: 30 degree incline DB extension, 3 x AMRAP**, 3/0/1/0, 10 seconds rest
  • C9: 15 degree incline DB extension, 3 x AMRAP**, 3/0/1/0, 10 seconds rest
  • C10: Flat DB extension, 3 x AMRAP**, 3/0/1/0, 120 seconds rest

**Perform as many reps as possible with the same dumbbells you used for exercise C1 or C6.

This workout is divided into three parts. Parts 1 and 2 of this workout feature some antagonistic supersets for your biceps and triceps. These supersets are enough to cause some serious muscle damage in your arms. However, the heart and soul of this routine is the mechanical advantage giant sets that you perform in part 3 of this routine.

You are going to perform 5 different types of incline dumbbell curls for your biceps and 5 different types of incline dumbbell extensions for your triceps. Make sure you use the same weight for the whole giant set and train to 1 rep shy of failure on all 5 exercises for each giant set.

It takes some serious guts to perform this routine. Make sure you slam your post-workout shake from Cutler Nutrition, My Supplement Store or wherever you get your supplements right after the workout.

If you can push through the pain you will be rewarded with slabs of new muscle tissue on your upper arms.

Part 4: Milos Sarcev Giant Sets

I’ve saved the best for last! Milos Sarcev is a former Mr. Olympia competitor and one of the world’s top bodybuilding coaches. Milos trains 100% of his bodybuilding clients using giant sets workouts. Here is Milos Sarcev explaining why he like giant sets so much:

“What is the most intense training system? What creates maximum muscle fiber stimulation? If you’re truly honest with yourself then the answer is giant sets!”

In other words Milos believes that giant sets are the fastest and most effective way to stimulate muscle growth. Milos has a unique way of programming giant sets: he has his clients perform at least 10 exercises in a row for each body part! This is an insane amount of volume but it works like magic for Milos and his advanced bodybuilding clients.

Milos also likes to sprinkle in high-intensity training methods into his giant set workouts. Here is what one of Milos’ advanced giant set back workouts looks like. Check it out:

Milos Sarcev Back Width / Thickness Giant Set Routine

  • A1: T-bar row, 1 x 10, 1/0/X/0, no rest
  • A2: Rack deadlift (just below knees), 1 x 10, 1/1/1/0, no rest
  • A3: Standing barbell shrug, 1 x 10, 1/0/1/0, no rest
  • A4: Machine pulldown (wide / neutral grip), 1 x 10, 2/0/X/0, no rest
  • A5: Trap-bar row, 1 x 10, 1/0/1/2, no rest
  • A6: Lying DB pullover, 1 x 10, 2/0/1/0, no rest
  • A7: Cable pulldown (medium / neutral grip), 1 x 10, 1/0/X/1, no rest
  • A8: Cable pulldown (narrow / pronated grip), 1 x 10, 1/0/X/1, no rest
  • A9: Machine pulldown (wide / overhand grip), 1 x 10, 1/0/X/0, no rest
  • A10: Seated cable row (narrow / neutral grip), 1 x 20, 1/0/X/1, 3-5 minutes rest

Here is the training video for this workout:

Talk about an intense workout! Milos has his client perform 10 separate exercises to overload his upper back from as many different angles as possible. Milos uses every type of upper back exercise including lat pulldowns, heavy barbell rows, machine rows, rack deadlifts and shrugs.

The key to growing with this type of workout is to pace yourself with each exercise. If you psych yourself up too much for each exercise then you will crash and burn before the 10th exercise! You can still train hard and go to failure.

However, with Milos Sarcev style giant sets you want to keep your form strict and avoid using too much cheating to get your reps in. The high volume of work will stimulate more than enough muscle growth on its own.

When Milos Sarcev trains arms he often likes to perform antagonistic giant sets just like John Meadows. In other words he performs giant sets where he alternates between one exercise for the biceps and one for the triceps. For example:

Antagonistic Giant Set Overview

  • Exercise #1: Biceps
  • Exercise #2: Triceps
  • Exercise #3: Biceps
  • Exercise #4: Triceps
  • Exercise #5: Biceps
  • Exercise #6: Triceps

And so on. Structuring your giant set arm workouts this way gives you an incredible pump and lets you lift far more weight on each exercise than conventional giant sets.

Here is a Milos Sarcev style giant set arm workout that you may want to try. Check it out:

Milos Sarcev Biceps / Triceps Giant Sets Routine

  • A1: Supine cable curl high pulley, 3 x 10, 1/0/X/0, no rest
  • A2: Lying cable skull crusher (v-handle), 3 x 10, 1/0/X/0, no rest
  • A3: Supine cable curl (low pulley), 3 x 10, 1/0/X/0, no rest
  • A4: 30 degree incline rope triceps extension (low pulley), 3 x 10, 1/0/X/0, no rest
  • A5: Standing cable curl (supinated grip), 3 x 10, 1/0/X/0, no rest
  • A6: Standing cable pushdown (pronated grip), 3 x 10, 1/0/X/0, no rest
  • A7: 60 degree incline DB curl**, 3 x 10, 1/0/X/0, no rest
  • A8: 60 degree incline ez-bar triceps extension, 3 x 10, 1/0/X/0, no rest
  • A9: 60 degree incline cable triceps extension (low pulley), 3 x 10, 1/0/X/0, no rest
  • A10: Seated barbell curl (supinated grip)***, 3 x 10, 1/0/X/0, no rest
  • A11: Seated ez-bar french press, 3 x 10, 1/0/X/0, no rest
  • A12: Preacher cable curl (supinated grip / low pulley), 3 x 10, 1/0/X/0, no rest

**alternate hammer grip and supinating grip

***top half of the range of motion only

You can click right here to watch a video of Milos Sarcev performing this exact workout.

Talk about a high-volume arm workout! Milos normally has his bodybuilding clients perform 2-4 of these giant sets per workout. This type of workout is almost impossible to perform in a regular commercial gym because you have to hog so many different exercises.

That doesn’t mean that Milos Sarcev’s workouts are bad – if you train in a private gym then this will not be an issue. Normally Milos has his clients perform 2-4 rounds of the same giant set per workout. However, sometimes Milos has his clients perform several different giant set circuits in a single workout.

This type of workout should only be used for very advanced bodybuilders who have several years of training experience under their belts. If you fit the description then you will grow like a weed training this way.

Here is a sample high-volume giant sets chest workout that you may want to try. Check it out:

Milos Sarcev Chest Giant Set Workout

Heavy Sets

  • A1: 30 degree incline bench press, 1 x 10, 1/0/X/0, 180 seconds rest
  • B1: 30 degree incline bench press, 1 x 5**, 3/0/X/0, 180 seconds rest

Giant Set #1

  • C1: Decline bench press (wide grip), 1 x 10, 1/0/X/0, no rest
  • C2: Flat DB fly, 1 x 10, 1/0/1/0, no rest
  • C3: Flat bench press (wide grip)***, 1 x 8, 3/0/10, no rest
  • C4: Machine pec dec, 1 x 10, 1/0/1/0, no rest

Giant Set #2

  • D1: Machine pec dec, 1 x 10, 1/0/1/0, no rest
  • D2: Flat bench press, 1 x 10,  1/0/X/0, no rest
  • D3: Flat DB fly, 1 x 10, 1/0/1/0, no rest
  • D4: Decline bench press (wide grip), 1 x 10, 1/0/X/0, no rest
  • D5: Incline bench press (wide grip), 1 x 10, 1/1/X/0, no rest

Giant Set #3

  • E1: Standing cable crossover, 1 x 10, 1/0/1/0, no rest
  • E2: Flat DB fly, 1 x 10, 1/0/1/0, no rest
  • E3: 30 degree incline smith machine press (wide grip), 1 x 10, 1/0/X/0, no rest
  • E4: Decline DB fly, 1 x 10, 1/0/1/0, no rest
  • E5: Flat Db press, 1 x 10, 1/0/X/0, no rest
  • E6: Incline bench press, 1 x 10, 1 x 10, 1/0/X/0, no rest

Giant Set #4

  • F1: 30 degree incline DB press, 1 x 10, 1/0/X/0, no rest
  • F2: Flat DB fly, 1 x 10, 1/0/1/0, no rest
  • F3: Decline DB pullover fly****, 1 x 10, 1/0/1/0, no rest
  • F4: 30 degree incline smith press (wide grip), 1 x 10, 3/0/3/0,
  • F5: Standing cable crossover,  1 x 10, 1/0/1/0, no rest

Finisher Set

  • G1: Flat machine press (wide / neutral grip), 1 x 20*****, 1/0/X/0, rest as needed

**These are eccentric-only reps. You lower the bar down over 3 seconds and your training partner gives SIGNIFICANT help to lift the weight to lockout. The lowering phase of the exercise should be much harder than the lifting phase. See the video for more details.

***Use a relatively light weight (135 pounds or so). Your training partner applies manual resistance down on the barbell on the eccentric phase of each rep and assists with the concentric phase of each rep. See the video for more details.

****Lower the weight in a pullover motion and raise them back up in a fly motion. See the video for more details.

*****Perform 20 reps on your own followed by 10 forced reps with the help of your spotter.

Here is the training video for this workout:

Talk about a high-volume chest workout! For this routine you are going to perform 4 different giant sets workouts for your chest as well as some heavier sets of incline bench presses towards the beginning of the workout.

I’m going to be as honest here: if you are “natural” then this probably isn’t the routine for you. Most bodybuilders cannot recover from this much volume without using performance enhancing drugs… it is what it is.

If you are taking a little something something other than creatine *wink wink* then go ahead and give this chest routine a shot. It clearly works for Milos and his athletes and it may work for you too.

Conclusion

giant sets

Giant sets are hands-down one of the best training methods you can use to blast through training plateaus. They work awesome for competitive bodybuilders and anyone who wants to pack on a lot of muscle mass in a very short period of time.

In this comprehensive guide I showed you how 4 of the world’s top bodybuilding coaches use giant sets to build slabs of new muscle tissue:

Giant sets do have their drawbacks. They can be very difficult to recover from and it may not be possible to perform them in your favorite commercial gym. You can get around this problem by performing Charles Poliquin’s favorite mechanical advantage giant sets but it’s still something you need to be aware of.

So, what’s it going to be? Are you going to use one of these giant sets routines designed by some of the world’s best bodybuilding coaches to blast through your current training plateau? Or are you going to play the victim card and blame “bad genetics” for your “eleven-teen” inch arms? The choice is yours!

“The mind is the limit. As long as the mind can envision the fact that you can do something, you can do it, as long as you really believe 100%.” 

Thank you for reading and I wish you the best of luck on your strength training journey!

Dr. Mike Jansen, PT, DPT

Thanks for checking out my site! My name is Dr. Mike Jansen and I'm the founder of Revolutionary Program Design. If you want to reach your size and strength goals faster then you've come to the right place. My goal is to make RPD the #1 strength training resource available anywhere in the world. So grab a seat, kick back and relax. There's never been a better time to lift weights or to learn the art and science of strength training program design.

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