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Jim Stoppani's Giant Program

This four-week program will take your hypertrophy and fat-burning efforts to new heights with exclusive use of the classic giant set.

pre exhaust training technique

Giant Program Snapshot

  • Length: 4 weeks
  • Workouts per Week: 6
  • Training Split: 3-day split, repeated twice for a total of six workouts per week.
  • Equipment: Commercial gym or sufficiently-equipped home gym
  • Featured Techniques: Giant sets for all muscle groups, where four exercises for the same bodypart are performed consecutively without rest. Linear periodization with microcycles is also utilized.
  • Rep Ranges: Within giant sets, rep ranges increase with each successive exercise. In Week 1, reps within giant sets are 12-15, 15-20, 21-25, and 26-30. In Week 2, it's 9-11, 12-15, 15-20, and 21-15. In Week 3, 6-8, 9-11, 12-15, and 15-20. In Week 4, 3-5, 6-8, 9-11, and 12-15. 
  • Rest Periods: Take 2-3 minutes of rest between giant sets (or 1-2 minutes if you're in great shape); no rest is taken within giant sets. 
  • Cardio: Optional; HIIT cardio between muscle groups or at the end of the workout. 
  • Meal Plan: Dieting 101 for fat loss or Muscle Building Nutrition Rules for muscle gain.
  • Summary: Giant sets are one of the most effective methods for building size in a muscle group. And since you're doing giant sets for all muscle groups in my Giant Program, it's a great plan for building size head to toe. That said, you can also burn considerable body fat on this program (especially when paired with a good fat loss diet like Dieting 101), due to the intensity of giant sets that ramps up the metabolism. 
  • Note: If you’re a beginner or just getting back to the gym after an extended time away (months or years), this program will likely be too intense/advanced for you. If you’re a beginner, consider my Beginner to Advanced Program before taking on the Giant Program. 

Of all the great intensity-boosting training techniques out there – supersets, drop sets, rest-pauses – giant sets are one of the most underutilized. I have no idea why, since they're great for sparking hypertrophy as well as bringing up lagging body parts. Because it's one of my favorite mass-building methods, I'm putting the giant set back on the map with this four-week "Giant Program." Pretty catchy title, huh? You can expect to see some giant-sized gains with these workouts.

Giant Results with Giant Sets

Giant sets are a high-intensity training technique in which you do four or more exercises for one muscle group consecutively without taking any specified rest between exercises. Think supersets (technically compound sets), only with two more exercises tacked on before you get a break. After the last exercise, rest anywhere from 1-3 minutes (depending on how quickly you recover and how much time you have to spend in the gym) and repeat the giant set. It's just that simple, but also pretty brutal – in a good way, of course.

Here's a recent video I did on tri-sets and giants sets.

Giant sets are not only an intensity booster that pushes the majority of your muscle fibers for each body part to muscle failure, it also saves you time and can help boost fat loss, all due to the non-stop nature of the technique. And as you would expect from any program designed by me, this particular routine takes giant sets to a whole new level, pulling out all the stops with the help of periodization and pre-exhaust.

With the Giant Program, you'll train each muscle group twice per week. The first time around, you'll do multi-joint (aka compound) exercises first, followed by single-joint moves. This will allow you to use the heaviest weight possible on the multi-joint exercises to maximize the mechanical overload placed on the muscles. This is the conventional way to do giant sets – where you do big moves first and finish with isolation exercises – and it's certainly effective.

Conventional is great, but I like to mix things up and flip them upside down on occasion, so:

The second time during the week you train each muscle group, you'll do single-joint exercises first, then multi-joint moves. Anyone who's familiar with my programs knows this technique well: it's called pre-exhaustion, or "pre-exhaust" for short.

Exhaustion is another way to place overload on muscle fibers. Not to get too science-y, but we're talking about a chemical overload here, due to the waste products that build up inside muscle cells when they reach exhaustion.

For a more thorough explanation on the classic pre-exhaust technique, check out this pre-exhaust technique and this video explaining pre-exhaust.

Giant Program Training Split

The Giant Program follows a 3-day training split with each muscle group being trained twice a week – six weekly workouts total. You'll train 3-4 muscle groups per workout.

Here's how each week of training will look:

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Since you'll be training six days a week with this program, the simplest split to follow will be training Monday through Saturday, with Sunday off. That said, it really doesn't matter what day you take off. Do whatever works best for your schedule. And your rest day doesn't have to fall on the same day every week. You could take Sunday off in Week 1, Friday off in Week 2, and Wednesday off in Week 3.

If you can't train six days a week, don't worry. You can still do this program. I designed it to include six workouts per week for four weeks, for a total of 24 workouts. But feel free to complete those 24 training sessions at your own pace. If you can only train three days a week, do the first three workouts in Week 1, the next three in Week 2, and so on. If you continue following this format, you'll essentially be spreading the program

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