Workout Tips

Giant-Set Basics & Tips Sheet

Build serious muscle by implementing this tactic.

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Man doing shoulder exercise: barbell front raise
Tommy Garcia

Giant-set basics

  • Implement giant sets occasionally to increase intensity, or for extended periods of six to eight weeks to boost growth and increase fat burning.
  • Rest as little as possible between exercises. Aim for two to four minutes between giant sets.
  • To determine how much work to do, count each component as a set. Our sample shoulder workout has five sets. Run through it three or four times for 15 to 20 total sets.
  • Select a weight that has you fail every 10 or so reps.

Giant-set tip sheet

  • Unless you have access to a sparsely populated gym, line up your equipment ahead of time, minimizing the distance from one exercise to the next.
  • Rotating through the exercises with at least one partner will help you keep dibs on equipment.
  • Even if you do only straight sets for every other body part, you can benefit from working your abs with giant sets, as they respond best to high volume.
  • Choose a wide variety of exercises. For this reason, your biceps (stressed with only curls) are not a great giant-set target. In contrast, your back (with a plethora of machine and free-weight rows and pulldowns) is an excellent candidate.

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