The Milos Sarcev Leg Workout!


Milos Sarcev is an IFBB professional bodybuilder and one of the greatest bodybuilding coaches of all time. His nickname is “The Mind” because of his intelligent approach to training and nutrition. Milos believes that the fastest way to build a huge upper back is to use a high-intensity training technique called “giant sets.” Here is Milos talking about this technique:

“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 legs would look like:

Legs 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!

Giant sets are so effective because they make your legs work longer and increase the total time under tension of the set. Most bodybuilders know that the legs respond well to higher reps with more time under tension. This is especially true for the quadriceps! Giant sets are a great choice if you are training for muscular hypertrophy because they help you fatigue more muscle fibers and create more metabolic stress. They are also a great form of “density training” and let you perform a ton of work in a short period of time. The only drawback for using giant sets for legs is they are incredibly painful. The lactic acid in your quads after a true Milos Sarcev giant sets routine is almost unbearable! Milos Sarcev usually trains quads and hamstrings on their own separate training days but he sometimes trains them together. We will look at both types of routines so you know how to use lower body giant sets with different types of training splits. Here is a very simple quadriceps giant set that is great for beginners. Check it out:

Quadriceps Routine #1

  • Exercise #1: Safety squat bar squat, 5 sets of 10 reps, no rest
  • Exercise #2: Machine hack squat, 5 sets of 10 reps, no rest
  • Exercise #3: Machine leg extension, 5 sets of 10 reps**, rest as needed

**5 second pause in the top position on every rep

Here is the training video for this workout:

This is a very simple routine featuring three different exercises. Technically this is a tri-set rather than a giant set but the basic idea is still the same. You are performing multiple exercises in a row to stimulate more muscle growth than you can with regular “straight sets.” As a bonus this type of routine can be performed in almost any commercial gym as long as it is not too busy. If you are only going to perform this giant set for your quadriceps routine then I recommended you perform this circuit 3-5 times in a row. Milos Sarcev often performs multiple different giant sets in his leg routines. If that is the case then you would just perform this circuit one time and move onto the next one. Here is a more advanced Milos Sarcev quadriceps giant set routine that you can try. Check it out:

Quadriceps Routine #2

  • Exercise #1: Horizontal leg press, 3 sets of 20 reps**, no rest
  • Exercise #2: Belt squat, 3 sets of 10 reps, no rest
  • Exercise #3: Machine squat, 3 sets of 10 reps, no rest
  • Exercise #4: Leg extension, 3 sets of 10 reps**, no rest
  • Exercise #5: Machine hack squat, 3 sets of 20 reps****, fall on the floor and die!

**Perform a double drop set. Train to failure, take some weight off the machine, train to failure, take some weight off the machine, train to failure, done!

****Perform 2 regular reps, take 10-20% weight off the machine, perform 2 “one and a quarter reps”, take 10-20% weight off the machine, repeat until there is no extra weight on the machine. Then perform 10 partial reps in the bottom position of the machine with no extra weight. Then fall on the floor and pass out! (Just kidding… maybe).

Here is the training video for this workout:

Talk about an intense workout! I strongly recommend you watch the training video to understand what this routine is all about. Milos Sarcev is telling his bodybuilding client to train to failure on 5 quadriceps exercises in a row in the 10-20 rep range! On three of the exercises he also throws in additional high-intensity techniques like drop sets and partial reps. If you perform this routine correctly then you will be on the ground begging for mercy after the 5th exercise! Milos Sarcev sometimes performs as many as 10 different exercises in a row for his quadricep giant sets but this routine should be more than enough for most advanced bodybuilders. Now let’s look at some of Milos Sarcev’s favorite hamstrings giant set routines. Check it out:

Hamstrings Routine #1

  • Exercise A1: 45 degree back extension (bodyweight only)**, 3 sets of 10 reps, no rest
  • Exercise A2: Lying leg curl (feet dorsiflexed / pointing out), 3 sets of 10 reps***, no rest
  • Exercise A3: Machine hack squat****, 3 sets of 10 reps, no rest
  • Exercise A4: Stiff-legged deadlift, 3 sets of 10 reps, no rest
  • Exercise A5: Seated leg curl (feet dorsiflexed / pointing straight), 3 sets of 10 reps*****, no rest
  • Exercise A6: Stationary alternating lunge (barbell on back), 3 sets of 10 reps, no rest
  • Exercise A7: 45 degree leg press (sumo stance), 3 sets of 10 reps, no rest
  • Exercise A8: Cybex leg press (sumo stance), 3 sets of 10 reps, rest as needed

**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 Sarcev likes to focus on different types of leg curls, stiff legged deadlifts, back extensions and sumo leg presses for his hamstrings routines. This giant set workout features all of these different types of hamstrings exercises and then some! Once again Milos likes to throw in different high-intensity techniques like drop sets and eccentric-only reps for his giant sets routines. He doesn’t perform these on every single exercise. Instead he carefully picks and chooses which exercises to perform them on depending on safety factors and his clients’ recovery ability.

Hamstrings Routine #2

  • Exercise #1: Seated leg curl, 3 sets of 10 reps, no rest
  • Exercise #2: Dumbbell stiff legged deadlift, 3 sets of 10 reps, no rest
  • Exercise #3: Seated leg curl, 3 sets of 10 reps, no rest
  • Exercise #4: Lying leg curl, 3 sets of 10 reps**, no rest
  • Exercise #5: Dumbbell stiff legged deadlift, 3 sets of 10 reps, no rest
  • Exercise #6: Lying leg curl, 3 sets of 10 reps, no rest
  • Exercise #7: Dumbbell stiff legged deadlift, 3 sets of 10 reps, no rest
  • Exercise #8: Lying leg curl, 3 sets of 10 reps, no rest
  • Exercise #9: Seated leg curl, 3 sets of 10 reps****, no rest

**Double drop set

****5-second hold in contracted position

Here is the training video for this workout:

This is another very typical looking hamstrings routine for Milos Sarcev. Milos tells his client to perform 9 different exercises for his hamstrings including many different types of leg curls and stiff legged deadlifts. Milos says that he normally likes to train the hamstrings separately from the quadriceps because he finds they grow faster when you have a separate workout dedicated to them. However, Milos sometimes trains the quadriceps and hamstrings together if that is what his client responds best to. Here is a massive giant set workout where Milos Sarcev trains the quadriceps and the hamstrings together on the same training day. Check it out:

Quads / Hamstrings Routine #1

  • Exercise #1: Back squat, 1 set of 10 reps, no rest
  • Exercise #2: Machine hack squat, 1 set of 10 reps, no rest
  • Exercise #3: Lying leg curl, 1 set of 10 reps, no rest
  • Exercise #4: Machine leg extension, 1 set of 10 reps**, no rest
  • Exercise #5: Reverse sumo machine hack squat, 1 set of 10 reps, no rest
  • Exercise #6: Seated leg curl, 1 set of 10 reps, no rest
  • Exercise #7: Alternating barbell lunges, 1 set of 10 reps, no rest
  • Exercise #8: Machine leg extension, 1 set of 10 reps, no rest
  • Exercise #9: 45 degree leg press, 1 set of 10 reps, no rest
  • Exercise #10: Machine leg extension, 1 set of 10 reps, no rest
  • Exercise #11: Horizontal leg press, 1 set of 10 reps, no rest
  • Exercise #12: 45 degree back extension, 1 set of 10 reps, no rest
  • Exercise #13: Front squat, 1 set of 10 reps, no rest
  • Exercise #14: Horizontal leg press, 1 set of 10 reps, no rest
  • Exercise #15: Machine squat, 1 set of 10 reps, fall on the floor and die!

**Perform 10 full range of motion reps with a 2-second pause in the top position, then perform 10 partial range of motion reps out of the bottom position.

What an unbelievable workout! Milos uses almost every kind of leg exercise you can imagine including squats, leg extensions, leg curls, lunges and so on. This is a very extreme training routine and should only be attempted by advanced bodybuilders who really know what they are doing. If you are a beginner bodybuilder then this type of routine will send you to the hospital! You also pretty much have to train in a private gym to perform this routine. However, if you are an advanced bodybuilder and hogging equipment is not an issue for you then this type of routine works incredibly well for building muscle. The time under tension from just one of these giant set routines is absolutely insane.

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. If you enjoyed this content then make sure you check out my article “The Milos Sarcev Training Program!” It may be just what you need to take your training to the next level. 

“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

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.

Recent Posts