If you want to add muscular size and strength to build a bigger and stronger physique then giant sets are a great way to achieve your goal. A giant set comprises four or more moves performed back to back, with rest coming only after you have completed the final rep of the fourth move. It’s a great set strategy that enables you to hit the target muscles from multiple angles and to work your muscle fibres to failure, which is when they can no longer complete another rep with good form. This is an ideal way to push your muscles harder than ever before so they grow back bigger and stronger.
How to do the workout
Do this once a week. After a warm-up, do exercises 1A, 1B, 1C and 1D in succession, sticking to the reps and tempo prescribed. After exercise 1D rest for the time specified, then repeat for a total of four sets. After the final rep of the fourth set of 1D, rest, then repeat the pattern with exercises 2A through to 2D. Slightly increase the weight you lift each week. The four-digit tempo figures refer to the time in seconds you take to lower the weight, pause, lift the weight, then pause in each rep.
Giant set 1
Warm up with some empty-bar bench presses, gradually increasing the weight and decreasing the number of reps until you reach your work-set target weight.
1A Bench press Reps 8 / Tempo 3010 / Rest 0sec
Lie on the bench with your feet on the floor directly under your knees. Hold the bar with an overhand grip, hands shoulder-width apart. Slowly lower the bar to your chest until your elbows are bent at 90° and the bar is almost touching the middle of your chest or just over your nipples. Drive your feet hard into the floor and push the bar back strongly to the start position.
1B Incline dumbbell bench press Reps 8 / Tempo 3010 / Rest 0sec
Lie on a bench set at a 60° angle holding a dumbbell in each hand at shoulder height. Keep your feet flat on the floor and your back against the bench. Press the weight directly above your head but don’t lock out your elbows at the top. Slowly lower the weight back down to your chest, flaring your elbows out to the side.
1C Cable flye Reps 10 / Tempo 2010 / Rest 0sec
Stand in the middle of a cable machine with a split stance holding a D-handle attached to the high pulley in each hand with palms facing. Keeping a natural arch in your back and bracing your core, bring your hands across in an arc so they meet in front of you. Squeeze your chest muscles before returning slowly to the start, keeping the weight under full control.
1D Press-up Reps 12 / Tempo 2010 / Rest 3min
Start with your hands shoulder-width apart and your body straight from head to heels. Lower yourself until your elbows reach 90˚, then press back up.
Giant set 2
2A Pull-up Reps 6 / Tempo 3010 / Rest 0sec
Grab the bar or handles with an overhand grip, hands shoulder-width apart. Start from a dead hang with your arms fully extended. Squeezing your lats together, pull yourself up. Once your chin is higher than your hands pause briefly, then slowly lower yourself back to the start.
2B Dumbbell bent-over row Reps 10 / Tempo 3010 / Rest 0sec
Start with your core braced, your back straight and your shoulder blades retracted, holding a dumbbell in each hand with an overhand grip. Bend your knees slightly and lean forward from the hips. Row the weights up until your upper arms are horizontal by retracting your shoulder blades, then return slowly to the start.
2C Cable standing reverse flye Reps 10 / Tempo 2010 / Rest 0sec
Stand in the middle of a cable machine with arms crossed holding a D-handle attached to the low pulley in each hand. Keeping your core braced and a slight bend in your elbows, raise both arms to shoulder height and then extend them to the sides. Return to the start, maintaining control of the weight throughout.
2D Cable face pull Reps 15 / Tempo 2010 / Rest 3min
Hold a double-rope attachment fixed to the high pulley on a cable machine. Start with arms fully extended, palms facing the floor. Pull the handles towards you – keeping your upper arms parallel to the floor – so that the handles go either side of your face. Return to the start.