Giant sets are four or more exercises performed back to back with minimal rest between sets. Progressive giant sets are sets of four or more exercises performed back to back in a circuit, with additional exercises being added to each successive circuit. Exercises will consist of 10-12 reps per set. The idea behind progressive giant sets is to maximize the pump by performing a high volume of training with very little rest: hence why it’s also known as blood volume training. It’s one of the most intense styles of training.
Perform the first giant set as four exercises back to back with no rest, with each exercise consisting of 10 to 12 reps. Then for each subsequent giant set, add two exercises in addition to those performed in the previous set. So set 2 will consist of six total exercises, set 3 will have eight total exercises, etc. perform six giant sets in total.
Each repetition causes a stretch and contraction in the muscles, forcing blood and nutrients into them, causing them to elongate, swell and the muscle fibres to tear. This is known as the muscle pump. By training isolation exercises to create a pump, you simultaneously fully fatigue and tear as much micro muscle fibre possible. Muscles need to be fully fatigued in order to stimulate them to grow. This is done by simulating the muscles from different angles and the different exercises in each giant set do this.
Training with giant sets is a great way to shock muscles into growth, but it is very tiring and can really only be done for a few weeks. They are a great way to break up training routines and prevent boredom.
An example of a progressive giant set routine is:
- Set 1: 4 exercises 10-12 reps per exercise (48 reps)
- Set 2: 6 exercises (72 reps)
- Set 3: 8 exercises (96 reps)
- Set 4: 10 exercises (120 reps)
- Set 5: 12 exercises (144 reps)
- Set 6: 14 exercises (168 reps)