Milos Sarcev is one of the most successful bodybuilding coaches in the world. Milos is known as a “mad genius” in the bodybuilding world because of his unique approaches to training and nutrition.
Milos trains almost all of his bodybuilding clients using a high-intensity training technique called giant sets. If you want to become a bodybuilding champion then the Milos Sarcev training program is for you!
- Part 1: Back Workouts
- Part 2: Chest Workouts
- Part 3: Shoulders Workouts
- Part 4: Biceps Workouts
- Part 5: Triceps Workouts
- Part 6: Quadriceps Workouts
- Part 7: Hamstrings Workouts
In this comprehensive guide I will teach you everything you need to know about the Milos Sarcev training philosophy and how he trains some of the top bodybuilders in the world today.
Milos competed as a professional bodybuilder throughout the 1990s and 2000’s. He competed in over 70 different professional bodybuilding competitions and even placed in the top 10 in the Mr. Olympia contest!
Milos built his bodybuilding physique using a high-intensity training technique called giant sets. Nowadays Milos trains many of the top bodybuilders in the world including Dennis Wolf and Sergio Olivia Jr. using his giant sets methodology.
So what the heck are giant sets? A giant set is a circuit of 4 or more exercises performed back-to-back for the same body part. For example here is what a giant set looks like in the real world:
- 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!
Milos Sarcev believes that you can stimulate more muscle growth by using larger and more extreme giant set protocols. In fact Milos regularly performs giant sets with at least 10 exercises for the same body part! In other words you are performing 10 different exercises in a row for a body part with no rest between sets.
Here is Milos performing one of these 10+ exercise giant sets:
Talk about a stimulus for muscle growth! Giant sets can be difficult to recover from but they are incredibly effective for building muscle mass. Here is Milos Sarcev explaining why he likes giant sets so much for bodybuilders:
“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!”
Milos Sarcev style giant sets are so effective because they prolong the time under tension of your set. Your muscles have to work up to 10 times longer than normal which means you are creating way more muscle damage and metabolic fatigue than ever before.
Of course giant sets training isn’t just about picking 10 random exercises and training to failure on all of them in a row. Milos uses many strategies to make his giant set workouts as effective as possible. One of the most important things Milos does is he picks exercises that overload different points in the strength curve.
In other words you want 10 exercises that overload your muscles in different ways so that you can recruit as many muscle fibers as possible and avoid burning out your central nervous system. For a chest workout Milos will use barbell presses, dumbbell presses, flys, cables, machines etc. to hit the muscle from as many angles as possible.
Milos also likes to use different high-intensity training techniques sprinkled throughout his giant set workouts. Here are some of his favorites:
Milos Sarcev’s Favorite High-Intensity Training Methods
Let’s take a closer look at each of these training methods.
Milos Sarcev High-Intensity Method #1: Drop Sets
If you are a serious bodybuilder then I am sure you have heard of drop sets! The idea behind drop sets is simple: first you train close to failure on an exercise. Then you decrease the weight and continue busting out reps to further fatigue the muscle.
This drop set was performed in the middle of his lower body workout. Instead of immediately moving onto the next exercise in his rotation Sergio performs a drop set to further fatigue his muscle fibers. Drop sets are a very simple but very effective way to make a giant set more intense.
Milos likes to use them on smaller isolation exercises where it is easy to rapidly decrease the weight.
Milos Sarcev High-Intensity Method #2: Eccentric Reps
Milos Sarcev is one of the few bodybuilding coaches who really understands how important eccentric training is for building muscle mass. The phrase “eccentric training” refers to training methods that are specifically designed to overload the eccentric or lowering phase of the rep.
Research and real-world experience has proven over and over again that the lowering phase of an exercise is what builds the most muscle mass.
Milos Sarcev uses many different types of eccentric training with his giant sets training programs. One of his favourite eccentric training methods is forced reps. A set with forced reps looks like this:
- First you train to failure. You want to physically fail on the last rep!
- Then your training partner helps you perform 1-3 extra reps by helping you through the concentric range. You have to lower the weight on your own for these extra reps.
Forced reps are a great way to get in extra negative repetitions after reaching failure. Another method that Milos really likes is manual eccentric contractions. The idea is simple: you lift a lighter weight to the top position of an exercise. Then on the way down your training partner adds extra manual resistance to overload the lowering phase of the exercise.
You can click right here to watch Milos Sarcev demonstrate manual eccentrics on the lateral raise machine with Sergio Olivia Jr. Talk about an intense set! Milos has many other eccentric training strategies that he uses.
For back he sometimes adds extra manual resistance in the stretched position of different exercises to really overload the lats. Other times he has his bodybuilders perform eccentric-only reps where they lower a super-heavy weight under control and then Milos helps them lift the weight back to lockout. We will see this method in the chest giant set later in this article.
The bottom line is Milos loves to sprinkle eccentric training methods into his giant set routines.
Milos Sarcev High-Intensity Method #3: Tempo Contrast Reps
Milos Sarcev also likes to vary the tempo of his exercises during his giant set workouts. Milos spent a lot of time working with Charles Poliquin (the king of tempo training) so this makes perfect sense. One of Milos’ favourite tempo training strategies is called the tempo contrast method.
The idea is simple: you alternate back and forth between explosive reps and super slow reps during an exercise. You can click right here to see a bodybuilder demonstrating the tempo contrast method during a Milos Sarcev giant sets leg routine.
As you can see the bodybuilder performs his first rep super slow, his second rep explosively, his third rep super slow etc.
The tempo contrast method is a great way to trap more blood into the working muscle. The slow reps create an occlusion effect where blood cannot enter or leave the muscle. Then on the explosive reps blood shoots into the working muscle, only to be trapped there during the next super slow rep!
The pump you get from the tempo contrast method is just out of this world!
Milos Sarcev High-Intensity Method #4: Isometric Holds
Milos Sarcev is also a big fan of isometric holds or “iso-holds” as some bodybuilders call them. To perform an isometric hold you would hold a static muscle contraction for 1-10 seconds on an exercise.
Iso-holds are a great method to prolong the time under tension of a set and to further fatigue the target muscle. Many famous bodybuilding coaches like Dante Trudel and John Meadows are also big fans of isometric holds for building muscle.
Let’s review what we’ve learned so far:
- Giant sets are a circuit of 4+ exercises performed in a row for the same body part
- Milos Sarcev says giant sets help you achieve maximal muscle fiber stimulation
- For optimal results you must use many different exercises during your giant sets routines
- Milos likes to use high-intensity training techniques performed during his giant sets
That concludes the introduction for this guide on Milos Sarcev giant sets training. Now we’re getting to the good stuff: I’m going to teach you how Milos Sarcev builds his giant sets programs for every body part!
We are going to cover giant sets routines for the following muscle groups: back, chest, shoulders, biceps, triceps, quads and hamstrings. By the end of this article you will know exactly how to design your own giant sets workouts to build muscle mass at the fastest rate possible.
Part 1: Back Giant Sets
One of the challenges with developing the upper back is there are so many different muscle groups in this region of the body! You have larger muscle groups like the lats, traps and spinal erectors but you also have some relatively smaller muscles like the rhomboids and teres major. All of these muscle groups need attention for optimal development!
Milos Sarcev style giant sets are a perfect solution to this problem. You can easily select a variety of exercises as part of your giant sets to target all of these different muscle groups.
One of Milos’ favorite upper back training strategies is to perform “back width” giant sets and “back thickness” giant sets.
A back width giant set consists of different types of pulldowns and pull ups to build up the lats and teres major. These are the muscle groups that make your back wider. On the other hand a back thickness giant set focuses on rows and deadlifts to develop more the traps, rhomboids and spinal erectors although the lats will also receive plenty of stimulation.
Here is a back width giant sets workout that Sergio Olivia Jr. performed with Milos Sarcev. Check it out:
Milos Sarcev Back Width Giant Sets Workout
- A1: Pull up (wide / pronated grip)**, 1 x 10, 1/0X/0, no rest
- A2: Machine pulldown (wide / pronated grip), 1 x 10, 1/0X/0, no rest
- A3: Behind the neck cable pulldown (wide / pronated grip), 1 x 10, 1/0X/0, no rest
- A4: Machine pulldown (narrow / overhand grip), 1 x 10, 1/0X/0, no rest
- A5: Cable pulldown (wide / overhand grip), 1 x 10, 1/0X/0, no rest
- A6: Cable pulldown (narrow / neutral grip), 1 x 10, 1/0X/0, no rest
- A7: Hammer strength pulldown (overhand grip), 1x 20***, 1/0X/0, no rest
- A8: 75 degree behind the neck cable pulldown (wide / pronated grip), 1 x 10, 1/0X/0, no rest
- A9: 75 degree cable pulldown (wide / overhand grip), 1 x 10, 1/0X/0, rest 3-5 minutes
**Performed through a partial range of motion
***On the first 10 reps your training partner adds extra manual resistance in the stretched position for 1-2 seconds
Here is the training video for this workout:
Talk about a high-volume back workout! Sergio performs 9 different vertical pulling exercises with a variety of grips to really overload his lats. I strongly recommend you watch the video to get a better idea of what this workout looks like in practice. Giant sets are really more of an art than a science.
Milos Sarcev uses a couple of high-intensity training techniques throughout this workout. Sergio’s goal is to hit about 10 reps on each exercise. If he is struggling to reach that 10-rep goal on any exercise then Milos jumps in and helps him perform a few forced reps to reach his goal.
Milos also adds some extra manual resistance in the stretched position of the hammer strength pulldown machine to really overload the lats. Research and real-world experience have shown that loaded stretches are an awesome way to build muscle – especially in the lats!
Now let’s look at a Milos Sarcev style back thickness workout. Check it out:
Milos Sarcev Back Thickness Giant Set Workout
- A1: Seated machine row (medium / neutral grip), 1 x 10, 1/0/X/0, no rest
- A2: Seated machine row (wide / neutral grip), 1 x 10, 1/0/X/0, no rest
- A3: Standing machine row (medium / pronated grip), 1 x 10, 1/0/X/0, no rest
- A4: Machine pulldown (medium / semi-supinated grip), 1 x 10, 1/0/X/0, no rest
- A5: Cable pulldown (medium / supinated grip), 1 x 10, 1/0/X/0, no rest
- A6: seated cable row (narrow / neutral grip), 1 x 10, 1/0/X/0, no rest
- A7: 75 degree cable pulldown (narrow / semi-supinated grip), 1 x 10, 1/0/X/0, no rest
- A8: Supine cable row (narrow / semi-pronated grip), 1 x 10, 1/0/X/0, rest 3-5 minutes
Here is the training video for this workout.
For this giant set Sergio focuses almost exclusively on different rowing variations. Milos does a great job of forcing Sergio to use different grips and a variety of machine and cable exercises throughout the workout.
Once again Milos is happy to provide some assistance on the concentric range of the last few reps on an exercise if Sergio is struggling. These forced reps are brutal but extremely effective for building muscular hypertrophy.
Sergio was wearing the exact same outfit for the back width giant set an the back thickness giant set so he likely performed both of these circuits on the same training day. This is a perfectly reasonable choice. Another good option would be to perform the back width giant set circuit 2-3 times on one training day and the back thickness giant set circuit 2-3 times on another day.
Of course Milos has a ton of ways that he designs his upper back giant sets. For some workouts he performs back width and back thickness exercises into the same giant set.
You can click right here for a good video demonstration of this.
Part 2: Chest Giant Sets
Now let’s talk about everyone’s favourite muscle group: the chest! Milos Sarcev has a ton of different strategies for using giant sets to build up the chest.
There is nothing wrong with performing 10 exercises in a row like you saw for the back width and back thickness workouts. However, another effective strategy is to perform multiple smaller giant sets in your workout that have around 4-6 exercises each.
Here is an insanely high-volume chest workout that Milos Sarcev took Matt Maldonado through. Check it out:
Milos Sarcev Chest Giant Set Workout
- 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
- 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! This giant sets routine consists of 23 total sets for your chest. That’s enough volume to make even the legendary Arnold Schwarzenegger beg for mercy!
As you can see the workout is divided into three parts. First you perform 2 heavy sets of incline bench presses. Then you perform 4 chest giant sets consisting of 4-6 exercises each. Finally you finish with a high-rep set of machine presses to finish off your chest.
Milos uses a variety of high-intensity techniques throughout the workout that I want to talk about.
The second working set of incline bench presses was performed with eccentric-only reps. Matt lowered an extremely heavy weight to his chest over 3 seconds. Then Milos gave generous assistance to lift the weight to lockout. This was repeated for 5 total reps.
These eccentric-only reps are unbelievably effective for building size and strength. They also cause extreme muscle soreness in most people so be careful!
During the first giant set Milos uses another one of his favourite eccentric training methods. Matt is performing a set of bench presses with 135 pounds. On the way down Milos actually presses down on the weight to create a huge eccentric overload. Then on the way back up Milos helps Matt lift the weight back up. These manual resistance eccentric reps are brutal!
The weight is only 135 pounds but it feels like it is dropping down to the ground faster than the speed of gravity. You can expect some serious muscle soreness from this method!
Part 3: Shoulders Giant Sets
The shoulders are a very difficult muscle group to train for many bodybuilders.
One of the challenges with developing huge shoulders is they have many different muscle heads and a wide variety of fast-twitch and slow-twitch muscle fibers. Research shows that the deltoids actually have 7 muscle heads rather than just 3 like most bodybuilders believe!
If you want to maximally develop the shoulders then you need to use a wide variety of exercises and rep ranges. This is where giant sets come into play!
Here is an 11-exercise shoulder giant set routine that Milos Sarcev coached Sergio Olivia Jr. through. You can perform this giant set up to 3 times in a row depending on your recovery ability. Check it out:
Milos Sarcev Shoulder Giant Set Workout
- A1: 30 degree prone cable rear delt fly, 1 x 10, 1/0X/0, no rest
- A2: 30 degree supine cable rear delt fly, 1 x 10, 1/0X/0, no rest
- A3: Seated machine lateral raise**, 1 x 10, 1/0X/0, no rest
- A4: Seated machine overhead press, 1 x 10, 3/0/3/0, no rest
- A5: Standing ez-bar upright row (wide grip),1 x 10, 1/0X/0, no rest
- A6: Standing ez-bar upright row (narrow grip), 1 x 10, 1/0X/0, no rest
- A7: Prone reverse DB fly, 1 x 10***, 1/0X/0, no rest
- A8: Bent-over rear delt fly, 1 x 10, 1/0X/0, no rest
- A9: Seated DB lateral raise, 1 x 10, 1/0X/0, no rest
- A10: Seated DB front raise, 1 x 10, 1/0X/0, no rest
- A11: 45 incline smith machine press (medium grip), 1 x 10, 1/0X/0, rest 3-5 minutes
**Manual resistance on the eccentric range
***Perform a single drop set. Perform 10 reps to failure, drop the weight, then perform another 10 reps to failure
Here is the training video for this workout:
Talk about a high-volume shoulder workout! As you can see Milos likes to focus more on isolation exercises for the shoulders rather than compound pressing exercises.
Overhead presses are great but they shouldn’t be your main focus when using giant sets. If you try to perform a shoulder giant set routine with 11 different overhead pressing movements then you will destroy your central nervous system for no real benefit!
For this particular giant set routine Milos has Sergio pre-exhaust his rear and side delts with different isolation exercises. This is a strategy that other bodybuilding coaches like John Meadows use with their clients.
Milos also has Sergio perform a few high-intensity techniques throughout this workout. A great strategy that you have to try is using manual eccentric resistance on the lateral raise machine.
Sergio lifts the weight up on his own. Then on the way down Milos applies extra manual resistance by pressing down on the machine pads. This technique will blow up your side delts like you wouldn’t believe!
There are an endless number of ways to design a Milos Sarcev style shoulder workout. Here are a few tips:
- Focus on isolation exercises, particularly for the rear and side delts.
- Focus on perfect form for every exercise – you must feel your delts contracting!
- Use a limited number of overhead pressing exercises.
- Use some high-intensity techniques like forced reps, manual eccentric reps and drop sets depending on your recovery ability.
If you follow these rules then you are well on your way to building bigger shoulders!
Part 4: Biceps Giant Sets
The biceps are one of the more “fun” muscle groups to train. What bodybuilder doesn’t love a great pump in their biceps? One of the challenges with designing a giant sets routine for the biceps is there are so many different exercises that you can choose from!
In my experience one of the best strategies is to use exercises that target both the short head AND the long head of the biceps. Here are some general guidelines for how to target each of the bicep heads:
Short Head Bicep Exercises
- Preacher curls
- Wide-grip curls
- Supinating curls
Long Head Bicep Exercises
- Incline curls
- Narrow-grip curls
- Drag curls
Preacher curls are by far the best exercise for targeting the short head of the biceps. The reason they work is because they force the elbow in front of your body while you curl. They also prevent you from “cheating” the weight up and they put the biceps under a huge stretch.
Other good short head biceps exercises include wide-grip ez-bar curls and curls with a supinating grip.
On the other hand incline curls are the best exercise for targeting the long head of the exercise. They work because your elbow is forced behind your body while you curl. Incline curls also do a great job of preventing cheating and also place the biceps under a huge stretch.
Other good long head bicep exercises include narrow-grip ez-bar curls and drag curls.
Let’s see how Milos Sarcev incorporates these different bicep exercises into a biceps giant set routine. Check it out:
Milos Sarcev Bicep Giant Set Workout
- A1: Machine preacher curl (close / semi-supinated grip), 1 x 10, 1/0/X/0, no rest
- A2: Machine preacher curl (close / supinated grip), 1 x 10, 1/0/X/0, no rest
- A3: Machine preacher curl (close / semi-supinated grip)***, 1 x 10, 1/0/X/0, no rest
- A4: Ez-bar spider curl (narrow / supinated grip), 1 x 10, 1/0/X/0, no rest
- A5: Seated DB hammer curls, 1 x 10, 1/0/X/0, no rest
- A6: Preacher specialty bar curl (medium / neutral grip), 1 x 10, 1/0/X/0, no rest
- A7: Standing ez-bar drag curl (wide / supinated grip***, 1 x 10, 1/0/X/0, rest 3-5 minutes
**Performed with a different machine than exercise A1
***Performed as a “drag curl.” You want the weight to be touching your torso as you curl it up. This keeps your elbows behind your body which helps you recruit the long head of your biceps.
Here is the training video for this workout:
This giant set consists of 7 exercises and mostly targets the short head of the biceps with different types of preacher curls.
Once again Milos shows how smart he is with his exercise selection. He makes sure that Sergio uses a different grip or hand placement every time he performs a preacher curl variation. This is very important because it forces him to tap into different muscle fibers for each exercise.
Sergio finishes his giant set with drag curls to target the long head of the biceps. If you have never performed a drag curl then you don’t know what you’re missing! Drag curls are performed using an ez-curl bar. As you curl the weight up you drag the bar against your torso by pulling your elbows behind you. This forces you to use more of the long head of your biceps than a regular ez-bar curl.
I recommend that you perform this entire giant set a total of 3 times with 3-5 minutes rest in between each giant set. Another option would be to perform 3 completely different bicep giant sets for 1 round each.
If this giant set bicep routine doesn’t blow up your biceps then nothing will!
Part 5: Triceps Giant Sets
The triceps are an extremely complex muscle group to train. First of all you have three different muscle heads to target: the long head, the lateral head and the medial head. You have to use a wide variety of exercises to target these three muscle heads of the triceps.
Here are some general guidelines:
The Best Long Head Tricep Exercises
- Overhead presses / extensions, incline presses / extensions, flat presses / extensions, dips
The Best Lateral Head Tricep Exercises
- Flat presses / extensions, decline presses / extensions, cable pushdowns, dips
The Best Medial Head Tricep Exercises
- Decline presses / extensions, cable pushdowns, dips
Milos Sarcev uses many different exercises in his triceps giant set routines to target all three heads of the triceps. For this particular routine Milos uses an exercise that I have never even seen before! I don’t know what to call it so I will go with the name “Milos Sarcev tricep extensions.”
Here is the routine:
Milos Sarcev Tricep Giant Set Workout
- A1: Seated ez-bar french press, 1 x 10, 1/0/1/0, no rest
- A2: Seated dip machine, 1 x 10, 1/0/X/0, no rest
- A3: Decline ez-bar extension**, 1 x 10, 1/0/1/0, no rest
- A4: Decline ez-bar press***, 1 x 10, 1/0/1/0, no rest
- A5: Seated ez-bar french press, 1 x 10, 1/1/X/0, no rest
- A6: Lying ez-bar extension (to forehead)****, 1 x 10, 1/0/1/0, no rest
- A7: Milos Sarcev tricep extensions*****, 1 x 10, 1/0/X/0, no rest
- A8: 45 degree incline behind-the-head DB extension******, 1 x 10, 1/0/1/0, no rest
- A9: Standing cable pushdowns (wide / supinated grip)*******, 1 x 10, 1/0/X/0, no rest
- A10: Lying cable skull crusher, 1 x 10, 1/0/1/0, no rest
- A11: Seated machine dips, 1 x 10, 1/0/1/0, no rest
- A12: Standing cable pushdowns (medium / pronated grip)*******, 1 x 10, 1/0/X/0, no rest
- A13: Standing cable pushdowns (narrow / pronated grip)*******, 1 x 10, 1/0/X/0, no rest
- A14: Standing cable pushdowns (narrow / pronated grip), 1 x 10, 1/0/X/0, no rest
**Use the same weight you used for exercise A1.
***Perform exercise A4 immediately after finishing exercise A3 using the same weight.
****Performed as eccentric-only reps. Lower the weight to your forehead over 3 seconds, then have your training partner do most of the work lifting the weight back up to lockout.
*****I don’t know what to call this exercise! Lay on a flat bench with an ez-bar. Lower the weight to your chest like in a closer grip bench press. Then push the bar back behind your head to the bottom position of a pullover extension, then perform a pullover extension to lift the bar back to lockout. Repeat for 10 reps. See the video for more details.
******Hold 1 dumbbell with 2 hands.
*******Aim your torso at a 45 degree angle to the ground (instead of standing straight up) and use plenty of “body English” or momentum to get the weight moving in the starting position.
Here is the training video for this workout:
Talk about a high-volume workout! Milos has you perform 14 different exercises in a row for this giant sets routine. I recommend you perform this entire circuit 2-3 times depending on your recovery ability.
As you can see Milos uses an enormous variety of exercises for this giant set routine. Here are just a few of the different types of triceps exercises that Milos uses in this routine:
- Overhead extensions
- Incline extensions
- Flat extensions
- Flat presses
- Cable pushdowns
Of course Milos also incorporates barbells, dumbbells, cables and machines into his routine. Every single muscle fiber in all three heads of your triceps will be absolutely trashed from this routine!
Once again I really like how Milos incorporates some eccentric training methods into this circuit. For the lying ez-bar extensions Milos lowers an extremely heavy weight to his forehead over 3 seconds. Then his training partner lifts the weight to lockout for him. This is repeated for all 10 reps.
The triceps are a fast-twitch muscle and respond extremely well to eccentric training protocols. If you can find a way to safely incorporate eccentric training into your triceps giant set routines then you will be rewarded with some explosive triceps growth!
Part 6: Quadriceps Giant Sets
So why would anyone want to train this way if it is that painful? The reason is simple: if you can push through the pain barrier you will experience some of the fastest leg growth of your entire life.
Milos Sarcev likes to use a wide variety of exercises during his quadricep giant sets. He rarely has his athletes go super heavy on back squats or front squats. Instead he relies on a healthy mix of machines, lunges and different squat variations during his giant sets.
Here is one example of a Milos Sarcev style quadricep giant set. Check it out:
Milos Sarcev Quadriceps Giant Set Workout
- A1: Stand alternating lunge (barbell on back), 1 x 10, 1/0/1/0, no rest
- A2: Seated machine leg extension, 1 x 10, 1/0/X/0, no rest
- A3: Front squat**, 1 x 10, 1/0/1/0, no rest
- A4: Pendulum squat, 1 x 10, 1/0/X/0***, no rest
- A5: Parallel box squat, 1 x 10, 1/1/1/0, no rest
- A6: Machine hack squat, 1 x 10, 1/0/1/0, no rest
- A7: Walking alternating DB lunge, 1 x 10, 1/0/1/0, no rest
**Performed with the same weight you used for exercise A1
***Alternate reps using a 1/0/X/0 tempo and a 5/0/5/0 tempo. Rep #1 = 1/0/X/0 tempo, rep #2 = 5/0/5/0 tempo, rep #3 = 1/0/X/0 tempo, etc.
Here is the training video for this workout:
Milos believes that this type of routine is more appropriate for people new to the giant sets training style. He often has his advanced bodybuilders perform 10-15 exercises in a row with no rest!
For this routine Milos uses the tempo contrast method on the pendulum squats. The basic idea is to alternate back and forth between a 1/0/X/0 tempo and a 5/0/5/0 tempo. In other words you perform one rep explosively and the next rep with a 5-second lifting and lowering phase.
The tempo contrast method is a unique way to fatigue your muscle fibers and trap more blood in the working muscle. The explosive reps force blood into the muscle while the slow reps create an occlusion effect where the blood cannot escape. Alternating back and forth between these different exercise tempos creates a pump you have to feel to believe!
Of course Milos uses ford reps on the machine exercises when necessary to help the bodybuilder reach the magical 10-rep target.
I strongly recommend you use this quadriceps giant set routine or experiment with designing your own if you have lagging quads. Just remember: the more your quads burn the more they will grow. You want to fight to keep the tension on your quads during the entire giant set, so no cheating!
Part 7: Hamstrings Giant Sets
The hamstrings are an interesting muscle group to train. They are a lot like the triceps: they tend to grow best when you use a combination of compound and isolation exercises.
When Milos Sarcev designs his hamstrings giant set routines he makes sure to include a healthy mix of isolation exercises like leg curls and compound exercises like stiff-legged deadlifts. Milos also likes to use more high-intensity training methods on leg curls to fatigue the hamstrings in a safe way.
Here is a hamstrings giant set routine that Milos had Sergio Olivia Jr. do in preparation for the 2018 Chicago Pro bodybuilding competition. Check it out:
Milos Sarcev Hamstrings Giant Set Workout
- A1: 45 degree back extension (bodyweight only)**, 1 x 10, 1/0/1/0, no rest
- A2: Lying leg curl (feet dorsiflexed / pointing out), 1 x 10***, 1/0/X/0, no rest
- A3: Machine hack squat****, 1 x 10, 1/0/X/1, no rest
- A4: Stiff-legged deadlift, 1 x 10, 1/0/1/0, no rest
- A5: Seated leg curl (feet dorsiflexed / pointing straight), 1 x 10, 1/0/X/1*****, no rest
- A6: Stationary alternating lunge (barbell on back), 1 x 10, 1/0/1/1, no rest
- A7: 45 degree leg press (sumo stance), 1 x 10, 1/0/X/2, no rest
- A8: Cybex leg press (sumo stance), 1 x 10, 1/0/X/1, no rest
**Your training partner adds manual resistance in the stretched position of every rep
***Performed as a double drop set. Perform 10 reps, drop the weight, perform 10 reps, drop the weight, perform 10 reps, done!
****The eccentric range is performed as normal. The concentric range is performed with your butt OFF the padding – your goal is to perform a hip thrusting motion to engage the glutes more. Watch the video for more details.
*****Perform a 10-second isometric hold in the contracted position on the first rep, a 9-second isometric hold on the 2nd rep, an 8-second isometric hold on the 3rd rep and so on. On your 10th rep you perform a 1-second isometric hold.
Here is the training video for this workout:
Milos has Sergio perform a number of unique exercises in this workout.
One hamstring exercise that I really like is the sumo leg press as performed at the end of the giant set. You position your feet high and out to the sides on the leg press platform. You also want your feet pointing slightly outwards. As you lower the weight you really push your knees out and try to get a huge stretch in your hamstrings and inner-thigh muscles.
I first learned about sumo leg presses from Dante Trudel’s DC Training system in 2008 when I started reading everything I could on how to become bigger and stronger. It turns out that human anatomy has not changed much sense 2008 and sumo leg presses are still a fantastic hamstrings exercise!
I highly recommend you give sumo leg presses a shot in your next leg hamstrings workout. They are also great for developing the adductor magnus, the largest muscle on the inner part of your legs.
Milos Sarcev is hands-down one of the greatest bodybuilding coaches in the world. It is hard to think of someone who has trained more national and professional level bodybuilders than Milos.
Milos earned his nickname “The Mind” because of his unique approaches to training, nutrition, supplementation and recovery. He uses giant sets with almost all of his bodybuilding clients and it never fails to produce results.
I must warn you: giant sets are not for everyone. They can be difficult for many people to recover from. This is especially true if you incorporate some high-intensity techniques like forced reps, eccentric reps and drop sets into your giant sets like Milos Sarcev does. If you consider yourself a “hardgainer” then giant sets are probably not for you.
Giant sets are also very difficult from a psychological perspective. Not everyone has the mental fortitude to use giant sets, just like not everyone has the mental fortitude to use Dorian Yates’ high-intensity “Blood And Guts” program.
However, if you respond well to high-volume training programs and you are a little bit crazy in the head (in a good way!) then Milos Sarcev’s giant sets program is for you!
Just remember this before your next giant sets workout:
“You cannot carry out a fundamental change without embracing a certain amount of madness.”
Thank you for reading and I wish you the best of luck with your strength training journey!
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