The Milos Sarcev Chest Workout | The Ultimate Guide!


Milos Sarcev is an IFBB professional bodybuilder and one of the greatest bodybuilding coaches in the world. During his career Milos Sarcev competed against some of the greatest bodybuilders of all time including Dorian Yates, Flex Wheeler and Kevin Levrone.

Milos Sarcev built his physique using a high-intensity training technique called “giant sets.” Today Milos uses giant sets almost exclusively with his professional bodybuilding clients.

Here is Milos Sarcev answering the question, “what is the best way to train to build 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!”

A giant set is a high-intensity technique where you perform 4 or more exercises in a row for a body part with no rest between sets.

For example here is what a giant set for the chest would look like:

How To Perform A Giant Set

  • Step #1: Perform exercise “A”, rest 10 seconds
  • Step #2: Perform exercise “B”, rest 10 seconds
  • Step #3: Perform exercise “C”, rest 10 seconds
  • Step #4: Perform exercise “D”, rest 2-4 minutes, then repeat!

With giant sets you are performing at least 4 exercises in a row for a body part. However, 4 exercises is just the minimum! Milos Sarcev sometimes performed as many as 10 exercises in a row for certain body parts!

Giant sets are so effective for building muscle because they increase the time under tension of your sets and force your muscles to work longer.

For example if a regular set takes 20 seconds to complete then a giant set may take as long as 80 seconds to complete! This extra time under tension creates a powerful stimulus for muscle growth and gives you an incredible pump in the gym.

Now let’s look at some of the giant set chest routines that Milos Sarcev uses with his world-class athletes. Check it out:

Chest Giant Set Workout #1

  • Exercise #1: 30 degree incline bench press, 3 sets of 10 reps, no rest
  • Exercise #2: Flat DB fly, 3 sets of 10 reps, no rest
  • Exercise #3: Bench press (wide grip), 3 sets of 10 reps**, no rest
  • Exercise #4: Decline bench press, 3 sets of 10 reps, no rest
  • Exercise #5: 30 degree incline smith machine press, 3 sets of 10 reps****, no rest
  • Exercise #6: Flat pin press (4 inches above chest), 3 sets of 10 reps, no rest
  • Exercise #7: 45 degree Incline machine press, 3 sets of 10 reps, no rest
  • Exercise #8: Cable crossover, 3 sets of 10 reps, rest as needed

**Manual eccentric overload each rep

****Tempo contrast method, alternate each rep

Here is the training video:

Talk about an intense workout!

For this routine Milos has his client perform 8 different exercises in a row for his chest. He uses many different types of exercises including barbells, dumbbells, machines and cables to fatigue as many different muscle fibers as possible.

For this routine Milos also throws in some other high-intensity techniques on certain exercisers.

For the third exercise Milos has his client perform the bench press with 135 pounds. To make the exercise more challenging he actually pushes down on the bar on the lowering phase of each rep! This is a form of eccentric training and is a great way to stimulate hypertrophy in advanced bodybuilders.

On the 5th exercise Milos uses the “tempo contrast method.” He has the athlete alternate between fast reps and slow reps on the way up and on the way down.

I first learned about this technique from the Canadian strength coach Christian Thibadeau. It is a powerful way to fatigue more muscle fibers and increase blood flow to your chest.

Sometimes Milos works with bodybuilders who have a lagging chest. This is actually very common among pro bodybuilders today.

One of Milos Sarcev’s favorite strategies to bring up a lagging chest is to use giant sets with the pre-fatigue method. Check it out:

Chest Giant Set Workout #2 

  • Exercise #1: Cable crossover (high pulley), 3 sets of 10 reps, no rest
  • Exercise #2: Supine machine press, 3 sets of 10 reps, no rest
  • Exercise #3: Hammer strength dips, 3 sets of 10 reps, no rest
  • Exercise #4: Machine pec dec, 3 sets of 10 reps**, no rest
  • Exercise #5: Incline bench press, 3 sets of 10 reps, no rest
  • Exercise #6: 30 degree incline DB fly, 3 sets of 10 reps, no rest
  • Exercise #7: Flat smith machine press, 3 sets of 10 reps, no rest
  • Exercise #8: 15 degree incline DB fly, 3 sets of 10 reps, no rest
  • Exercise #9: Decline bench press (wide grip), 3 sets of 10 reps, rest 2-4 minutes, repeat!

**Train to failure and then perform a single drop set.

For this routine Milos starts the giant set routine with an isolation exercise rather than a compound exercise. Milos likes to use this strategy with clients who have a hard time feeling their chest during compound movements.

The disadvantage for using this strategy is you cannot use as much weight on your heavy compound exercises. However, Milos believes that the pre-fatigue method is a good option for certain clients.

If you are paying attention then you probably noticed that Milos likes his clients to shoot for 10 reps per exercise.

Milos says that this is a good rep range where you get plenty of volume but the weights are still reasonably heavy. Besides, when you are doing a Milos Sarcev giant sets routine the last thing you want to worry about is remembering different rep ranges for each exercise!

Milos just wants you to focus on training as hard as possible on each exercise.

There are a couple different ways that Milos Sarcev organizes his giant set routines.

The first strategy is to perform a 8-10 exercise giant set several times in a single workout. For example you could perform 10 exercises in a row, rest 2-4 minutes and then perform the entire circuit again 2 more times. This is the strategy that Milos used in the first 2 routines.

Another strategy is to perform 4-6 different giant sets in a single workout! This is a more advanced strategy that Milos likes to use some of the time.

Here is one example of an advanced Milos Sarcev giant sets chest routine. Check it out:

Chest Giant Set Workout #3

Giant Set #1

  • Exercise #1: Supine DB fly, 1 sets of 10 reps, no rest
  • Exercise #2: 30 degree incline smith machine press, 1 sets of 10 reps**, no rest
  • Exercise #3: 30 degree incline smith machine press, 1 sets of 10 reps, no rest
  • Exercise #4: Flat DB fly, 1 sets of 10 reps, no rest
  • Exercise #5: Bench press (wide grip), 1 sets of 10 reps**, no rest
  • Exercise #6: 30 degree incline bench press, 1 sets of 10 reps, 2-4 minutes rest

Giant Set #2

  • Exercise #7: Machine pec dec, 1 sets of 10 reps, no rest
  • Exercise #8: Supine machine press, 1 sets of 10 reps****,  2-4 minutes rest

Giant Set #3

  • Exercise #9: Smith machine bench press, 1 sets of 10 reps, no rest
  • Exercise #10: 60 degree incline DB press, 1 sets of 10 reps, no rest
  • Exercise #11: Flat DB fly, 1 sets of 10 reps, no rest
  • Exercise #12: Bench press (wide grip), 1 sets of 10 reps**, no rest
  • Exercise #13: Supine cable fly, 1 sets of 10 reps, no rest
  • Exercise #14: cable crossover, 1 sets of 10 reps, 2-4 minutes rest

Giant Set #4:

  • Exercise #15: Machine dip, 1 sets of 10 reps, no rest
  • Exercise #16: Decline cable fly, 1 sets of 10 reps, no rest
  • Exercise #17: Cable crossover, 1 sets of 10 reps, no rest
  • Exercise #18: Supine machine press, 1 sets of 10 reps, 2-4 minutes rest

**Milos is adding extra manual resistance on the lowering phase of each rep

****Perform a quadruple drop set on this exercise

Here is the training video:

Talk about an intense workout! For this routine Milos has his client perform 4 separate giant sets for a total of 18 exercises.

The main advantage of this kind of routine is you get a larger variety of exercises which helps you train and fatigue even more muscle fibers. You can also use slightly more weight during these giant sets because you are only performing 4-6 exercises in a row for each giant set rather than the 8-10 exercises in a row for the first 2 chest routines in this article.

As usual Milos uses different high-intensity techniques like eccentric reps and drop sets in this routine. Milos likes to use these high-intensity techniques to help advanced bodybuilders blast through hypertrophy plateaus.

Sometimes Milos Sarcev will include a few heavy sets of a big compound exercise like the incline bench press before doing his giant sets.

This strategy is like the best of both worlds: you get the heavy loading from the compound exercise at the start of the routine, and you get the high-volume work from the giant sets.

This is similar to the powerbuilding routines that I talked about in my article “Powerbuilding: The Ultimate Guide!

Here is one of Milos Sarcev’s favorite powerbuilding chest workouts. Check it out:

Chest Giant Set Workout #4

Heavy Sets

  • Exercise #1: 30 degree incline bench press, 1 set of 10 reps, 3 minutes rest
  • Exercise #2: 30 degree incline bench press, 1 set of 5 reps**, 3 minutes rest

Giant Set #1

  • Exercise #3: Decline bench press (wide grip), 1 set of 10 reps, no rest
  • Exercise #4: Flat DB fly, 1 set of 10 reps, no rest
  • Exercise #5: Flat bench press (wide grip), 1 set of 10 reps***, no rest
  • Exercise #6: Machine pec dec, 1 set of 10 reps, rest as needed

Giant Set #2

  • Exercise #7: Machine pec dec, 1 set of 10 reps, no rest
  • Exercise #8: Flat bench press, 1 set of 10 reps, no rest
  • Exercise #9: Flat DB fly, 1 set of 10 reps, no rest
  • Exercise #10: Decline bench press (wide grip), 1 set of 10 reps, no rest
  • Exercise #11: Incline bench press (wide grip), 1 set of 10 reps, rest as needed

Giant Set #3

  • Exercise #12: Standing cable crossover, 1 x 10, 1/0/1/0, no rest
  • Exercise #13: Flat DB fly, 1 x 10, 1/0/1/0, no rest
  • Exercise #14: 30 degree incline smith machine press (wide grip), 1 x 10, 1/0/X/0, no rest
  • Exercise #15: Decline DB fly, 1 x 10, 1/0/1/0, no rest
  • Exercise #16: Flat Db press, 1 x 10, 1/0/X/0, no rest
  • Exercise #17: Incline bench press, 1 set of 10 reps, rest as needed

Giant Set #4

  • Exercise #18: 30 degree incline DB press, 1 set of 10 reps, no rest
  • Exercise #19: Flat DB fly, 1 set of 10 reps, no rest
  • Exercise #20: Decline DB pullover fly, 1 set of 10 reps****, no rest
  • Exercise #21: 30 degree incline smith press (wide grip), 1 set of 10 reps, no rest
  • Exercise #22: Standing cable crossover, 1 set of 10 reps, rest as needed

Finisher Set

  • Exercise #23: Flat machine press (wide / neutral grip), 1 set of 20 reps*****, 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.

What an unbelievable workout! For this routine Milos starts with a couple of heavy sets on the incline bench press. Milos even throws in some heavy eccentric-only reps to create as much mechanical tension as possible on the target muscle.

After the heavy loading sets Milos has his client perform several different giant sets to fatigue as many muscle fibers as possible. He even throws in a massive drop set on a machine exercise at the end of the workout to finish off whatever was left in the chest.

This is a crazy workout that should only be performed by advanced bodybuilders who know what they are doing. If you are just starting out then this routine will put you in the hospital!

Conclusion

Milos “The Mind” Sarcev might be the most successful coach in the history of bodybuilding. He has trained more IFBB professional bodybuilders than anyone in the world today.

If you are an advanced bodybuilder then I highly recommend you give his giant sets training style a shot. He has used it with many of the world’s top bodybuilders including Mr. Olympia finalist Dennis Wolf to build a massive chest.

“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!”

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

 

Dr. Mike Jansen, PT, DPT

What's going on! My name is Dr. Mike Jansen, I'm the creator of Revolutionary Program Design. If you want to take your training to the next level, then you've come to the right place... My goal is to make RPD the #1 strength training resource available anywhere in the world!

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