What Is a Giant Set?

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  • Written By: Dan Cavallari
  • Edited By: Bronwyn Harris
  • Last Modified Date: 18 February 2020
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A giant set is a very strenuous type of workout routine in which a weight lifter will do three different exercises with very limited rest time in between. It is similar to a super set, which combines two exercises in rapid succession, but a giant set goes beyond a super set into an even more strenuous workout level. The particular exercises that are combined in this type of workout are usually related to each other in that they work the same sets of muscles. This gives the weight lifter maximum benefit in a short amount of time.

A person can do several types of giant set workouts: one type of workout involves working the same muscle groups in all three exercises; the second type involves working opposing muscle groups, such as biceps and triceps; and the third type involves working the lower body and upper body in successive exercises. Other combinations are possible depending on the weight lifter's fitness goals. The rest time between exercises can vary as well, and while the rest times are not long, they are generally somewhat longer than the rest times associated with super sets.

Many weight lifters will do more than one giant set during a workout. Intermediate and advanced lifters may do up to five giant sets in one workout; this means a set of three exercises will be done five individual times, with a rest period in between each giant set. A workout might look something like this:


Giant Set One:
Barbell bench press, 15 reps
30 second rest
Lat pull downs, 15 reps
30 second rest
Dumbbell curls, 15 reps

5 minute rest

Giant Set Two:
Leg press, 15 reps
30 second rest
Squats, 15 reps
30 second rest
Dead lift, 10 reps

5 minute rest

The process can be repeated with as many or as few exercises as the lifter chooses to include in the workout. The rest periods allow the muscles to recover slightly between sets, which means they will be better prepared for the next set and less likely to become injured. Many lifters will do giant sets until exhaustion, or until the muscles can no longer lift at moderate levels. This type of workout can be beneficial, but it can also increase the risk of injury if the lifter is not employing proper technique in all the exercises. New weight lifters should only do such sets with the help of a professional trainer or experienced weight lifter.


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