A woman in the gym with a barbell on her back

The best giant set workouts to use in strength training

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These upper and lower body giant set workouts will get you sweaty and strong. 

A traditional strength training workout will have you performing one exercise after the other. Introducing supersets is a sure fire way of turning up the muscle-building capacity of your training when your body is ready for more of a challenge.  

If it’s an extra cardio challenge you’re after, however, try moving on to giant sets. If you’re not sure what they are, the clue’s in the name: sets with a large number of different exercises performed back-to-back. “Typically there will be around three to six exercises in a giant set, performed for three to five sets,” explains personal trainer Veowna Charles. 

All exercises in a giant set tend to focus on the same muscle with the purpose of building muscular endurance. “It’s also good way to spice things up, make the session a bit more interesting and get more exercises done in your workout without having to spend hours in the gym,” says Veowna. 

The best exercises for giant sets

“Ideally, giant sets are done with accessory movements that isolate one area of that muscle,” says Veowna. For example, if you were doing a giant set for your shoulders, you might choose an exercise that targets the entire shoulder, followed by an exercise that targets the front of the shoulder, then the side, then the back. “You definitely don’t want multiple compound movements in a giant set, otherwise you might not make it through,” Veowna adds. 

For the same reason, you need to pace yourself. “As you’re targeting the same muscle group over and over again, it’s important that you pick a rep range and weights that you can sustain. There’s no point burning yourself out by going really heavy on the first exercise and not being able to complete the set,” says Veowna. 

Three women tired and out of breath after a gym workout
Giant sets: the workouts are great for getting sweaty during strength training.

Veowna recommends performing three or four giant sets targeting different muscles for a sweaty, full body workout. Alternatively, you can perform one giant set at the end of your usual strength session as a finisher set to fatigue the muscle. 

No matter what workout you chose to do, perform eight to 12 reps of each exercise without a rest between. Rest for one to two minutes between sets, and complete the circuit three to five times. 

Giant sets for upper body

Giant sets for shoulders:

    Giant sets for arms:

    1. Tricep extension
    2. Bicep curl
    3. Skullcrusher
    4. Hammer curl
    5. Tricep dip

    Giant sets for back:

    1. Dumbbell bent over row
    2. Lat pull down
    3. Seated row
    4. Renegade row 

    The best giant sets for lower body

    Giant sets for legs: 

    1. Squats 
    2. Hamstring walk outs
    3. Leg extensions
    4. Calf raises
    5. Donkey kicks 

      Giant sets for glutes:

      1. Hip thrusts
      2. Standing cable kick backs
      3. Glute bridges
      4. Hyperextensions

      Want to get strong? Sign up to the Strong Women Training Club where you can access two new workout videos a week. 

      Images: Getty

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      Chloe Gray

      Chloe Gray is the senior writer for stylist.co.uk's fitness brand Strong Women. When she's not writing or lifting weights, she's most likely found practicing handstands, sipping a gin and tonic or eating peanut butter straight out of the jar (not all at the same time).

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