100 Rep Giant Set Training

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100repset Nutrition and training expert John Parrillo is an innovator who has been on the cutting edge of bodybuilding for more than two decades. His ideas go against conventional wisdom and have been hailed as revolutionary by some and dismissed by others. Some people think he’s an exercise and nutrition genius who knows more about maximizing muscle growth and losing body fat than just about anyone else around, while others think he doesn’t know what the hell he’s talking about. In any case, John was among the first to embrace the idea of Super Hybrid Muscle. In fact, he was really the first one to develop the first hybrid training system.

More than 15 years ago he caught on to the idea of Super Hybrid Muscle and began having his bodybuilders doing really high intensity cardio. John realized that by doing this, his guys were actually altering the composition of their muscle fibers. He called this form a resistance training the “100 rep extended set,” saying that it helped the body to construct more mitochondria—the muscles’ “cellular blast furnaces,” while also increasing muscular growth by developing the circulatory pathways that provide nourishment to the muscles. As the cellular blast furnaces, mitochondria are extremely important to muscle because they’re the energy-supplying systems of the muscle cells.

Every muscle has a certain number of mitochondria–the more mitochondria in the muscle, the greater its potential for growth. So by forcing the body into creating more mitochondria, you’re setting the stage for big increases muscle strength, stamina and endurance. Ordinary muscle fibers are either built for strength or endurance–not really for both. By forcing the body to increase the number of mitochondria in the muscle cells, you’re also causing a metamorphosis that converts ordinary muscle fiber into Super Hybrid Muscle fiber. And not only that, but a human body loaded with mitochondria is far less likely to accumulate body fat than a body with fewer mitochondria.

While researching ways in which to reconfigure the composition of muscle fiber, John realized that the answer could be found in the past. Looking back, he realized that prolonged, intense physical effort causes a working muscle to build additional mitochondria, resulting in big gains in muscle strength and stamina. Part of this realization came from looking at railroad workers from the 1860s. These guys would lay track all day long using a 4-pound sledgehammer developing powerful arms, forearms and shoulders loaded with mitochondria, strength and endurance. But because their legs weren’t being exercised as intensely, they stayed the same.

100repgiantset So basically, John’s 100 Rep Giant Set training routine recreates this kind of super intense, prolonged workout.

Here’s how it works. You start by picking a single muscle group, doing 20 reps of an exercise, then launch right into 20 reps of the next exercise. Immediately after that, you do 20 reps of another exercise, followed by 2 more sets of 20 reps each of two different exercises. There is no rest allowed between the 20-rep sets. At the end of all this, you’ve done a total of 100 reps, almost sequentially. Now you can rest for no more than 1 minute before starting the whole cycle again, repeating it at least 2-3 times total.

That is one hell of a tough workout–especially when you realize that you’ve just done 200-300 reps for a single muscle. In a normal workout, even on a high rep day, most guys aren’t going to even hit 100 for a single muscle. The important thing to remember here is that the workout needs to be intense. You don’t want to be screwing around wasting time by not making it challenging. At the same time though, you don’t want to start out with a weight that’s too heavy because once you start, you need to commit to finishing with the same weight. No drop sets here.

You can do 100 Rep Giant Sets for any body part–you’re not limited to just certain muscle groups. You can also do it whether you use machines or free weights but you’ll always get the best results from free weights because they force each limb to carry its fair share of the total weight, requiring each muscle to perform equally, making free weights far better muscle-building tools than machines. You should do the 100 Rep Giant Sets once or twice a week, rotating body parts for about eight weeks.

If you tell most bodybuilders that you’re going to be doing 100-rep sets to build strength, stamina and size, they’re likely to ask if you’ve gone out of your flipping mind. Most hardcore bodybuilders reject this philosophy entirely because it runs directly contrary to the all-known logic – fewer repeats, bigger weights – equals bigger muscle growth.

Even though the path to getting there is a bit different, the underlying principle and ultimate goals of 100 Rep Giant Sets and Lean Hybrid Muscle training are the same. Both rely on grueling workouts that combine resistance training and cardio activities to force the body to increase the number of mitochondria to build Super Hybrid Muscle.


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32 Comments Add yours

  1. nick
    March 31, 2010
    7:28 pm

    Some one put this article in junk and this has happened a couple of times. THIS IS NOT JUNK!

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  2. Marcello
    March 31, 2010
    7:53 pm

    If I can’t find 5 different exercises per muscle (it’s not always easy), is it possible to do, say, 2 exercises for 50 reps? With 2-3 rounds, we’d have 200-300 reps the same. Best wishes.

    [Reply]

    leanhybr Reply:

    I have tons of exercises for you to pick from in this exercise database I built: http://www.criticalbench.com/exercises/exercises.htm

    [Reply]

  3. Paul
    March 31, 2010
    8:24 pm

    If you’re having trouble finding 5 diff exercises then check out a great book called “Strength Training Anatomy” – great selection of movements with unbelievable illustrations, step by step breakdown of lift technique – the only thing left is to DO IT!

    [Reply]

  4. Michael M
    March 31, 2010
    8:59 pm

    I have been promising you guys (on your blog) that I was going to buy LHM as soon as I got some money. I just wanted to let you know I kept my promise. I own it, read it, and listened to the book on tape version. It was well worth the money. I could go on praising LHM but first I have to ask/say a few things (I will praise you more after I have done it for a few months). I am kind of left with a lot of questions and I don’t really know how or where to get them answered. Hence why I am writing to you here on your blog.

    One immediate question I have is on EDT. I want to do this for a month to start out but you wrote little about it and it is different then Charles Stanley’s version. Regardless I assumed that “Example 1”, “2”, and “3” are equivalent to a typical M, W, F workout. Is that right or am I way off. Am I supposed to only do one example a week alongside other hybrid training or is what I am doing ok.

    After I loose a few pounds of fat I plan on doing the Hybrid Mish-Mash. Thanks ahead of time for your help.

    Michael M

    ps I am an experienced lifter but much of the functional stuff is new to me (including EDT)

    [Reply]

    leanhybr Reply:

    I think EDT is a great pre-conditioning phase to start with before trying some of the more intense complexes.

    For each EDT session you can either pick either 1, 2, or 3 pairs of exercises. I’d start with one or two….depending on your fitness level.

    It’s up to you how many days a week to do the workouts. You could do an upper body combo twice a week and a lower body combo of exercises twice a week.

    Or even pick three differnt exercise parrings and do each on once per week.

    It’s very versatile. If you post what you want to do and what you’ve been doing prior to starting this I can give more input. -MIKE

    [Reply]

  5. Michael M
    March 31, 2010
    9:02 pm

    Also

    I just got my first tractor tire and I can not tell you how fun it was to do that first flip. I asked a guy who new a guy who might be able to get me some tires. Well he must have found that guy because the next day I showed up home and there they were, 2 different sized tractor tires.. It was raining her in Upstate NY but I got out of the car and started flipping the tire(s) while still in my work cloths. Soon I am going to get a construction tire. I do have a gym membership but I am still working on getting strongman and functional type equipment for my “garage” gym.

    [Reply]

    leanhybr Reply:

    Awesome!

    [Reply]

  6. Andy
    April 1, 2010
    1:08 am

    Hi guys

    Really awesome content- your training philosophy is superb.

    Quick question: Roughly what intensity (weight) are you shooting for, for each of the exercises?

    Cheers, AJ.

    [Reply]

    leanhybr Reply:

    That’s a lot of reps, especially if you go through it 2-3 times. I would start with 50% of your max and work up from there. I”m gonna give this a try so Mark can see a video of it and I’ll let you know for sure afterwards. Feel free to experiment and let me know what you find. -MIKE

    [Reply]

  7. mark
    April 1, 2010
    2:03 am

    Can you put up a vid of the Giant sets? That would be great to see an example.

    [Reply]

  8. Andy
    April 1, 2010
    1:09 pm

    Thanks Mike that’s great- a video would be cool too.

    Do you think these would work well then as a bolt on to existing programmes
    for specialisation for certain muscle groups?

    Thanks again, AJ.

    [Reply]

  9. David
    April 6, 2010
    10:37 am

    I see you are attacking your shoulders from a variety of angles, which is perfect for the shoulders. But what about the chest? I can see doing upper, middle, lower chest would work, but each time the whole muscle will be working to some degree. Would it maybe be a good idea to say work chest and triceps to give the chest a bit of a rest? So for instance: Benchpress, incline chest flys, dips, close grip pushups/benchpress, skullcrushers/tricep extensions.
    What do you think?

    I’d love it if you made lists of different muscle exercise combos (no need for videos for all of them), but I’m already asking for your time. So cheers for all your inspirational articles so far.
    David

    [Reply]

    leanhybr Reply:

    This is all I could handle for one day but you could do a giant set for chest on a different day. Or like you said, try grouping a few muscles together and doing a giant set. It won’t be as hard since one muscle group won’t be under constant tensions but I’m sure it would still make a great workout to throw in the mix once in a while. -Mike

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  10. Mads
    April 6, 2010
    12:41 pm

    I only have two questions for this.

    1. If more mitochondria means more growth, then why is it the type 2 muscle fibers that grow, and not the type 1?
    2. So many reps would severily limit the wheight you would lift, no matter how insane an attitude you have, which would lead to less muscle gains

    for an examples i once tried your gun circuit (3 biceps excersises and 3 triceps, 1 minute each) and after a month my arms had actually gotten smaller.
    Maybe I’m doing something wrong, or maybe I’m just way more efficient in low rep work, who knows :P . I’ll just stick to low rep, heigh wheight explosive wheight training sequences, and hybrid cardio ;)

    [Reply]

    Hunt Reply:

    Mads—

    Both fibers grow dude, and can grow in different ways. Hypertrophy can occur from an increases in blood and sarcoplasmic fluid uptake plus an increased number of mitochondria, this generally occurs from high rep (10+) strength-endurance training. Hypertrophy can also occur from increasing the amount of myofibers in the cell, by powerbuilding, or many (anywhere between 5 and 30 sets) of low reps with heavy weight. The idea behind hybrid training is to SIMULTANEOUSLY increase both myofiber and mitochondria mass.

    The hundred rep set is a nice ADDITION to a work out, but it CANNOT BE THE WORKOUT. If the workout consists of only high rep scheme stuff, you’re just going to get temporarily pumped up, not stronger and permanently bigger.

    100 rep sets and other burnout schemes are however a nice addition to the end of a workout. Just make sure you can recover from them, high reps cause allot more soreness than low reps. Post workout cryo therapy/ice bathing and stretching is absolutely necessary if you are gonna give 100rep sets a try. Remember lift to get stronger not to be sore, being sore the next day doesn’t mean you accomplished shit.

    Also “lifting for size alone” is kind of stupid in my opinion. Lifting for size is hard to track completely accurately. Measurements can be easily scu-ed by muscle pumps and even what you’ve eaten recently can change how big your muscle may be on a given day. The lighting where you do your posing routine has a huge effect on how muscular you look as well.

    Focusing on more specific goals is much more effective. Such as :

    -constantly upping the volume
    -constantly improving weight
    -decreasing body fat
    -increasing Vo2 max

    As long as you continue to improve on all that (or just a couple of them) then its physically impossible not look better and better.

    Good luck with your training dude

    [Reply]

    leanhybr Reply:

    Hey Hunt, thanks for the feedback. 100 rep sets are certainly not the basis of our training. Check out our video about the hybrid spectrum. I just wanted to try this because I read about it, but prefer lifting heavier with lower reps…which is probably why this burned pretty bad. Here’s the video: http://leanhybridmuscle.com/access/hybrid-muscle-workouts.html

    Mike

    [Reply]

    Hunt Reply:

    Yeah I was addressing the guy above, not you. I know you know your shit haha. I think doing at least doing a little bit of high rep work for additional mitochondria is extremely important for powerlifters, just as doing a little bit of powerlifting is important for bodybuilders strenght-endurance atheletes (grapplers, boxers, soccer etc.). I think one should always focus on one particular part of their training but never completely exclude anything.

    I feel like alot of people aren’t successful in their workouts because of too much variety. Your body will have no idea how to react to stimulus if that stimulus is different everytime. Throwing in a 100 rep set is great, but only if you can recover from it and you do it consistently.

    Keep up the good work guys, you’re sites are a great resource for anybody who has any sort of fitness goal. (Unless it’s running a marathon)

    Reggie Reply:

    hey mads, just on the gun cicuit , im not critisizing you but like you said maybe you were doing something wrong-i think you were .like most likey using light weights that were too light? for example on the rope curls for one minute your not suppost to just build up lactic acid by doing 50-60 reps-its just select a moderate weight and complete as many as possible in the minute..id say around 25 max? it does work though cos im using that gu circuit after i do 5 supersets of incline bench and bent rows and im getting a fair bit of growth :) ….but then again you migthve been doing it 100% right and ur body just responds better with heavier weights lol i dunno

    [Reply]

  11. Robby Bartcher
    April 6, 2010
    5:58 pm

    it’s every good for you same time so maybe you ask me to come out there be a big hunk guy forever I like it

    [Reply]

  12. MJ
    April 18, 2010
    12:39 pm

    Evening fellas

    If you want information/advice/to ask a question/feedback on LHM routines how does one go about asking; I have sent you guys an email. Thanks in advance.

    MJ

    [Reply]

    leanhybr Reply:

    This is the place to ask. What’s up MJ?

    [Reply]

    MJ Reply:

    I attend a very boring girlie gym and wondered if you could let me know of an alternative exercise in place of the homemade sled drag.

    Thanks.

    MJ

    [Reply]

    leanhybr Reply:

    If it’s a backwards sled drag, than a rowing machine set to a high resistance could do the trick.

  13. Sajid
    April 27, 2010
    8:16 pm

    wow,this seems amazing…100 rep..same one vince delmonte is using for his new product..awsum..will give it a shot..thanx for the ultimate info

    [Reply]

  14. Sajid
    April 27, 2010
    8:44 pm

    ps was asking if you can do these workouts on a separate day like before your cardio(on your cardio days)…..can they be a workout on their own and used to maximize results??? or is 100 rep just an extended set that should be done after a normal weight routine???..mob questions..just pumped up for your reply :D ..thanx in advance

    [Reply]

    leanhybr Reply:

    This would not be done after a regular workout. Your muscles will be burning pretty bad, so this should be your weight training session for the day. The only way I could see doing cardio afterwards would be if for example you did a 100 rep set circuit for shoulders and than you did some cardio for legs afterwards like jogging or bike riding. But as you’ve probably figured out by now we think hybrid cardio where you use resistance and full body movements is a better use of your time and I wouldn’t want to do that afterwards. The 100 Rep set circuit is basically your cardio and your weight training all wrapped up in about 20-minutes.

    [Reply]

    Sajid Reply:

    i tried it today..incredible burn,completley diffrent fatigue..il carry it on for about several weeks..training one body part each week..or maybe 2..you can use this also for abs yea??thanx agen..really awsum stuff

    [Reply]

  15. Reggie
    May 16, 2010
    11:38 am

    hey just wonderin , what were the 2 songs that was playin in the background of elliotts gym?

    [Reply]

  16. debbie
    June 17, 2010
    2:02 pm

    do any of your work out help breasts to enlarge if not could you please recommend any excercise or natural foods thank you

    [Reply]

  17. Chris Watson
    July 8, 2010
    12:26 pm

    100 – 300 reps thats crazy sounding, im gonna give it a go

    [Reply]

  18. wrestler strength
    October 29, 2010
    11:42 am

    Absolutely brutal! A great physical AND mental challenge to work in!

    [Reply]

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