So you’ve heard of supersets, working one set of muscle groups against another, right? Well let me introduce to you, your worst nightmare! I mean, *giaaaant seeeets! Not only is it an awesome way to gain muscle, but also burn fat by smashing one or a number of muscle group’s with a hell of a lot of volume, trigger a fat burning growth hormone response and feel as though you’re doing a little cardio at the same time. A giant set will make you think “f*** HIIT, sod doing that twice”.
The idea of giant sets is to target one part of the body, but to train different parts of the strength curve. There are three parts to the curve: low, mid and end range. The plan is simply to overload them all! By increasing your awareness of muscle fibre types, you can successfully plan your attack. For example, those spectacular hamstrings of yours are made up (primarily) of fast twitch fibres, meaning that your best POA (plan of attack) is train with lower reps, with heavy hulk weights, and MORE sets! Aka, go hard.
So I here you screaming, ‘EXAMPLES PLEASE’, so here goes…
Lower body; eccentric focused squats, followed by cyclist squats, THEN followed by lunges and finishing off with trap bar deadlifts.
Upper body; begin with chin ups, followed by bent over dumbbell rows, straight into deadlifts and the finisher, close grip pull downs!
So, how do you lay out a giant set? The best rep range to burn fat and build muscle (whoever thought it was possible) is around 8-12. To gauge the weight, you should be completing your first exercise so that there is nothing else to give before hitting your second exercise! Usually aiming using a weight which lets you feel muscular failure in last 2-3 reps. For example, your eccentric focused squats should be heavy enough so that even if you were to complete your cyclist squats with body weight, it would make your quads feel like they’re on fire. Even if you’re struggling to figure out the right weight, the key is in the rest period. You could even be looking at rest as minimal as 10 seconds as you transition through each excercise. Your rest between sets should be 1-2 minutes.
LEVEL UP OPTION: so you’ve struggled with the giant sets regardless of trying to get the right breaks? Now, it’s time to really focus on the tempo, aim for 4-0-1-0. Why? Because the more time your muscle is under tension, the greater the opportunity for growth!
The problem you’re going to face is that it will pretty much feel like murder! You’ll be exhausted. You may not even want to start your next set. So set a timer and remember; it’s the perfect way to increase your metabolic rate (burning calories whilst you work and rest, wahey). The intensity of the training will also help to encourage muscle mass gains, not only for your focused muscle group, but for the assisting muscles too (e.g. barbell rows will incorporate the biceps).
From a ‘technical’ perspective; muscle mass gains show their face by forcing blood into the specific muscle group that you’re focusing on, this helps to deliver amino acids to enhance the healing process (from those micro tears you made during ‘beast mode’). It also triggers an anabolic hormone response which works amazingly for boosting insulin-like growth factor 1 and growth hormone.
Now, tell me why you would bother with a marathon of mind numbingly boring cardio that you do not like, enjoy, nor would you ever recommend it to a friend (or enemy), when you can burn fat just by lifting weights? Happiness!
Butler, G. (2014). Giant sets: thrash your muscle groups. Retrieved from: http://www.repscience.net/giant-sets-thrash-muscle-groups/
Poliquin, C. (2017). Giant Sets with Giant Gains. The ultimate 3-day split.Retrieved from: http://www.flexonline.com/training/giant-gains-giant-sets/amp
Poliquin Group. (2015). Gains Muscle & Lose Fat By Training Giant Sets.Retrieved from: http://main.poliquingroup.com/ArticlesMultimedia/Articles/Article/1306/Gain_Muscle_Lose_Fat_By_Training_Giant_Sets.aspx
Robson, D. (2013). Become A Fat-Burning Pyro With Giant Sets.Retrieved from: https://www.bodybuilding.com/fun/a-fast-cut-to-fat-loss-using-giant-sets.html