Density Giant Set Training v2.0: Stronger And Leaner

Get your body stronger and leaner with this two template updated version of the extremely popular Density Giant Set Training workout system.

Workout Summary

Lose Fat
Barbell, Bodyweight, Cables, Dumbbells, Machines
Male & Female

Workout Description

Density Giant Set Training was originally a workout that I designed for myself to lose a bit of fat while maintaining the strength that I worked so hard towards in the gym. After the success I found in it personally, I decided to take it public.  It was then my first article to hit the Muscle & Strength archives, and from there the program became an overnight success.  To this day, it is one of my most viewed workouts, is one of the most popular fat loss workouts on Muscle & Strength, and continues to bring people across the globe fat loss success.

Because of the countless people contacting me for further similar programs, I decided to revisit this good ol’ workout, tweak a few things, and offer a bit more variety for even more success than the original.  As long as you follow the template, and hit every single rep with every bit of intensity you can, this program will help you meet, and possibly exceed, your fat loss goals.


If you need the background to Density Giant Set Training, I strongly recommend you read this: Density Giant Set Training.  But the short and simple explanation of this workout is that I designed this program to lose fat without stepping on any dreaded traditional cardio machine and to maximize to efficiency to save as much time as possible for life outside of the gym.  And thanks to all of the support and feedback from the original program, I’ve managed to make an already awesome workout, even better.

Many people have told me that they were unable to get together enough equipment in the gym to successfully complete multiple circuits without having to wait for equipment (which can be quite a buzz kill when trying to bang out a serious program like this with all out intensity).  So to this, I’ve responded by changing the format which allows for some serious intensity without the need to hoard all of the equipment in the gym.  The new format, which is outlined below, only requires at most 4 exercise instruments at a single time.

Another problem many people have experienced in the first program is the rigid structure, which doesn’t allow for much additional work.   This structure was also very oriented to maintaining strength during the program.  However, now I have created to slightly different workout templates.

One of these templates is still the 3-Day split, geared towards maximal strength retention during fat loss.  This is still great for athletes trying to make weight such as Powerlifters, Wrestlers, and MMA athletes among others, but now I have also included a 4-Day split geared more specifically towards people looking more to maintain size and muscle mass during a fat loss period.  This latter model is geared more towards bodybuilders, and the general population looking more towards physique goals.

Again, in no way am I trying to put down the great Density Giant Set Training program, just now there is more variety in terms of ways to hit the program to achieve your desired results.  But the original program is still definitely awesome, and I definitely suggest giving that program a whirl either after, or before this one, to continue your fight towards fat loss.

Program Fundamentals

In the original program, there was one circuit and the idea was to complete as many circuits as possible within the 25-minute mark.  Now however, the aim of the game is to finish the predetermined number of sets in the shortest time possible.  That means the program variable has changed from amount of circuits and the constant being the time, to the circuits being constant and the variable being the time.  This is another great reason why this program and the original can be used separately for continued results.

As stated earlier, the format is a bit different now.  Now you have three circuits.  The first consists of 2 main lifts.  You will go through this first circuit 4 times, with one set of each exercise each time through the circuit. The second will consist of the secondary exercises you will do to supplement your performance.

You will go through this second circuit 3 times, which is one less circuit, but one additional exercise. And for the third (you should sense a general pattern by now), you will do 4 exercises, but only go through the circuit twice.  These exercises are all pretty isolated and just the icing on the cake.

Following the last circuit, you can also do the additional “finisher” listed below that day.  Finishers are just an extra way to push your body to the limits and help you get to your fat loss goals that much quicker.  You might want to just run through the first week with just the circuits before adding the finishers in, just to get a feel for the workout before getting too crazy.

If you still want to do some extra cardio on the side to help speed up the fat loss process, I’d suggest doing it on your off days, and/or during a second workout that day.  Some great exercises people implemented in addition to this program are swimming, jogging and walking.  I’m especially fond of the latter as it helps you recover from the Density Giant Set program, while burning extra fat.

Density Giant Set Training v2.0 Workout Templates

Below you will see two templates.  Template A is more similar to the original.  It is a 3 day split with the emphasis on maintaining strength and cutting fat.  Template B is a 4 day split emphasizing muscle mass retention while also cutting fat.  Understand that both are very similar, and that if you want to maintain size, but can only do the 3 Day split, it will be just as beneficial to do Template A.

The same can be said for strength maintenance.  If you want to hold onto strength, but are interested in the 4 Day split, then go right ahead.  It’s all about finding what you like, and in turn, what is most sustainable for you and your goals.

And as you know, a good warm up and cool down are paramount for a successful and sustainable workout program.  A good way to implement them into this program should look something like this:

A. General Warm Up - This is anything to get the heart rate up, a light jog, a barbell complex, frolicking through flowers, whatever.

B. Specific Warm Up - This is where you slowly build into your first circuit and establish your working weights for the day in the compound lifts.

C. Main Work - This is where the actual Density Giant Set Training comes into play.

D. Cool Down - Here is a great opportunity to work on mobility and flexibility. Just be sure to lower your heart rate. And if you have a foam roller, use it.

E. Post-Workout Nutrition - Also very important.  Don’t think you shouldn’t eat now just because you are trying to lose fat.  Make sure to fuel your body and recover.

Template A​

Template A
Day 1
Circuit Times Through Each Circuit Exercise Reps
1 4x Squat 5
    Romanian Deadlift 8
2 3x Push Press 8
    Hyperextension 8
    Leg Extension 8
3 2x Barbell Hip Thrust 20
    Standing Calf Raise 20
    Rear Delt Flye 30
    Bicycle Crunches 30 ea
Finisher 1x Burpee - 60 seconds AMAP
Template A
Day 2
Circuit Times Through Each Circuit Exercise Reps
1 4x Bench Press 5
    Lat Pull Down 8
2 3x Incline Dumbbell Press 8
    Seated Cable Row 8
    Overhead Press 8
3 2x Overhead Tricep Extension 20
    Swiss Ball Curl 20
    Dumbbell Lateral Raise 20
    Crunches 40
Finisher 1x Push Ups - 60 seconds AMAP
Template A
Day 3
Circuit Times Through Each Circuit Exercise Reps
1 4x Deadlift 5
    Front Squat 8
2 3x Step Up 8 ea
    Lunge 8 ea
    Leg Curl 8
3 2x Dumbbell Shrug 20
    Seated Calf Raise 20
    Cable Face Pull 20
    Plank 40 seconds
Finisher 1x Kettlebell Swing - 60 seconds AMAP

Template B​

Template B
Day 1
Circuit Times Through Each Circuit Exercise Reps
1 4x Bench Press 8
    Lat Pull Down 12
2 3x Incline Dumbbell Press 10
    Seated Cable Row 10
    Dumbbell Flye 10
3 2x Preacher Curl 15
    Overhead Tricep Extension 15
    Crunches 40
    Front Dumbbell Raise 20
Finisher 1x Push Ups - 60 seconds AMAP
Template B
Day 2
Circuit Times Through Each Circuit Exercise Reps
1 4x Squat 8
    Romanian Deadlift 12
2 3x Lunge 8 ea
    Hyperextension 8
    Leg Extension 8
3 2x Dumbbell Shrugs 20
    Seated Calf Raise 15
    Rear Dumbbell Flye 12
    Bicycle Crunch 30 ea
Finisher 1x Burpee - 60 seconds AMAP
Template B
Day 3
Circuit Times Through Each Circuit Exercise Reps
1 4x Landmine Row 8
    Military Press 12
2 3x Dumbbell Row 8 ea
    Dips 10
    Straight Arm Pull Down 12
3 2x Cable Tricep Extension 12
    Swiss Bar Curl 10
    Dumbbell Pullover 25
    Dumbbell Lateral Raise 15
Finisher 1x Pull Up - 60 seconds AMAP
Template B
Day 4
Circuit Times Through Each Circuit Exercise Reps
1 4x Deadlift 8
    Front Squat 12
2 3x Step Ups 8 ea
    Reverse Lunge 8 ea
    Leg Curl 12
3 2x Glute Bridge 15
    Cable Face Pull 15
    Plank 40 seconds
    Romanian Leg Raise 20
Finisher 1x Pull Up - 60 seconds AMAP

So there you have it.  All you need for your fat loss success sits right in front of your eyes.  If you have any questions, feel free to drop a comment below, or email me at  This program has helped hundreds before and will certainly help you.  Just remember with exercise program, what you put into it, is exactly what you get out of it.

About The Author
Although a swimmer at the division 2 level, John’s passion lies in weight training, from bodybuilding to powerlifting, as well as Olympic lifting and all forms of training.

88 Comments+ Post Comment

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Posted Fri, 12/21/2012 - 17:55
Calvin Robbins
I did the regiment for Density Set Training v1, and it was A++. Thanks for revising!!
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Posted Sat, 12/22/2012 - 17:40
What about rest time between sets? I did not see anything in the articles about how long between each set.
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Posted Wed, 12/26/2012 - 20:42
John Matulevich
The best thing I can suggest to you is to control your own rest times. I'd rest a little longer after the first circuit then less and less for each subsequent circuit.
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Posted Sat, 12/22/2012 - 18:15
Matt Goheen
What are romanian leg raises? That is the only exercise that I don't know and can't find somewhere else. Thanks, can't wait to start this.
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Posted Wed, 12/26/2012 - 20:44
John Matulevich
Basically it is a core/hip flexor exercise where you sit on a Romanian chair (you can probably find a pic or vid of this equipment online). And pull your knees or whole legs unto a flexed position. May also just be called knee raises
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Posted Sat, 12/22/2012 - 19:34
I have been performing v1 for couple of weeks now and it's fantastic! The fact you really try to push yourself to perform as many sets as possible. It's exhausting my muscles that much, that I have the feeling I have to throw up. Best cutting routine I've had in years. Only problem I'm facing is the fact I'm reserving equipment for 25min, especially with the bench press this can be a problem.. Therefore, I'm thrilled to see that this v2 is minimizing this problem! Thanks a lot! Looks great.. will start with this one in 2013! Greetings from Holland
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Posted Wed, 12/26/2012 - 20:46
John Matulevich
Glad to hear such support! Let me know how it works out for you. -John
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Posted Wed, 12/26/2012 - 15:36
what days should I do the workouts and what days should I rest, im do template A
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Posted Tue, 01/01/2013 - 03:16
This workout is the BOMB! Great job. Left me sweating the entire session and even when I got home. Great!
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Posted Tue, 01/01/2013 - 11:33
Is it a good idea to alternate weekly between both templates? Is it a good idea to increase the weight for each week too? Happy New Years.
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Posted Wed, 01/02/2013 - 12:22
With this workout can i gain strenght and lose fat?
mnsjason's picture
Posted Wed, 01/02/2013 - 17:25
Hey Alex! This routine is designed to help drop some unwanted weight while retaining the strength gains you've made so far in the gym.
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Posted Wed, 01/02/2013 - 21:08
How should me week lay out look with this schedule i.e. one on one off, two on one off.. etc.?
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Posted Thu, 01/03/2013 - 17:24
Grant Ross
What is the Swiss ball curl. Seated on Swiss ball bicep curl?
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Posted Thu, 01/03/2013 - 17:26
Grant Ross
Oops. Swiss BAR curl. My bad. Great workout.
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Posted Fri, 01/04/2013 - 14:21
Hi ! So tell me if I'm right a complete circuit is doing all the exercise's back to back no rest inbetween , only at the last exersise you would break and that's concidered a circuit
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Posted Wed, 01/09/2013 - 21:44
John Matulevich
Exactly, then you take as much, or as little time as you'd like to go to the next circuit. More time between circuits = More strength and size Less time between circuits = More fat loss -John
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Posted Fri, 01/04/2013 - 15:40
So I'm a little confused about the circuits. Take template B Day 1 for example. Should I bench press 1 set then 1 set of lat pulls followed by the bench press again until I have done 4 sets of each? Or 4 sets bench press then 4 sets lat pull?
Joey's picture
Posted Fri, 01/04/2013 - 16:19
For each circuit, you would alternate between the exercises. "bench press 1 set then 1 set of lat pulls followed by the bench press again until I have done 4 sets of each"
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Posted Fri, 01/04/2013 - 17:46
Thanks. I appreciate the help.
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Posted Wed, 01/09/2013 - 21:46
John Matulevich
In your example you would do one set of bench followed by one set of lat pull downs, that would be one circuit, then return to the first and that will start the second circuit. I hope this helped, John
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Posted Fri, 01/04/2013 - 17:25
Jay Roman
Workout looks great!!! Had been doing the 300 workout and will now give template B a go... John, should I take a day off after each workout?? The 300 workout has you working out for 12 straight days, but on your other workout you ask to take a day off to avoid muscle fatigue... I did the 300 workout for 3 months and saw some improvements but not as much as I was expecting, still cant get the two bottom "packs" of the six pack to show (even with a low carb diet) any tips???
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Posted Wed, 01/09/2013 - 21:50
John Matulevich
Wow, I really need to get around to doing a diet article... Anyways, one of the great things about this workout is the individualization you can get out of it. If you've been used to doing 12 workouts back to back, then more power to you to keep going! Just make sure you cut back at the first sign of over training so you don't mess yourself up and ruin a chance at some extra time in the gym. As far as diet, I suggest primarily a paleo diet in the AM. Eat the majority of your carbs in the evening and after you have worked out. Look forward to seeing a diet article from me on the site soon. -John
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Posted Thu, 01/10/2013 - 06:44
Try Intermittent Fasting, this stuff works like magic...
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Posted Mon, 01/07/2013 - 11:45
Ted Chambers
Do you personally suggest any kind of stack or muscle building protein for this routine... Cause I personally have trouble building on the muscle mass!?
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Posted Wed, 01/09/2013 - 21:53
John Matulevich
I don't suggest a specific stack, but if you are looking for quality products, Optimum Nutrition has some absolutely awesome products, and so does Dymatize Nutrition. Stick with a good creatine, Multivitamin, and if you are not getting in enough protein, add in some whey or casein protein. Muscle and Strength's store has some of the best prices on this stuff too, so you don't need to look to far. -John
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Posted Wed, 01/09/2013 - 19:47
How long am I suppose to do this specific routine or are we suppose to change routine after a certain amount of time? Meaning is this routine suppose to last for 2 months then switch it up. In template b do I choose the rest days and just make sure to do this 4 days out of the week or do I just go straight up 4 days rest a day?
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Posted Wed, 01/09/2013 - 19:51
Josh Reyes
How long should I do this routine? 2 months and if not do I switch it up? On template B do I do it for 4 days straight in the entire week or do I choose rest days and just make sure I do this for times a week in order? It looks like a great routine and I want to make sure I do this right.
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Posted Thu, 01/10/2013 - 09:12
kevan mcdonald
I just started working out after being off for a year. So i have about 20-30 pounds i want to shed. Having said that I also want to gain muscle so I just wanted to know which workout to follow?
mnsjason's picture
Posted Thu, 01/10/2013 - 17:14
I recommend that you pick one goal, as building muscle and losing fat at the same time is not a realistic goal. In order to build muscle, you need a calorie surplus. If you're looking to shed some unwanted weight, then you must operate on a calorie deficit. You see the problem. That being said, following a routine will have some benefits in the strength department, as most of the initial gains you'd make have more to do with your central nervous system than synthesizing new muscle tissue. There are some great routines with cutting fat in mind here:
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Posted Fri, 01/11/2013 - 06:51
Conner Hetherington
hi, I am currently training a female and her goals are to gain strength and lose half a stone and also tone up at the same time, is this type of training suitable for her needs?
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Posted Thu, 01/17/2013 - 12:20
John Matulevich
This is a great workout for your client, however I have a very similar workout posted on Muscle and Strength's sister site Lean Curves, which is also posted on M&S, but is specifically designed for a female clientele. -John
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Posted Sat, 01/12/2013 - 13:22
Pete Ho
Dear John, Please will tell me what type of Landmine Row and Romanian Leg Raise you recommend for this workout, as I've seen a few variations on the internet. Regards Pete
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Posted Wed, 01/16/2013 - 04:46
I work out at home and don't have all the equipment to do the template B. I don't have any of the cable machines or a pull up bar might you be able to suggest some exercises I could substitute in?
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Posted Thu, 01/17/2013 - 11:26
Chris (persona...
Hi, I am personal fitness trainer and liked your post a lot. Its really very helpful.
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Posted Thu, 01/17/2013 - 12:21
John Matulevich
Thank you for your support. Feel free to contact me if you have any questions/ comments at
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Posted Fri, 01/18/2013 - 13:54
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Posted Sat, 01/19/2013 - 16:20
Looks like a great workout - so when would you take a 30-45 second rest is these sequences?
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Posted Sun, 01/20/2013 - 03:10
What % of your rpm should we being for this circuit?
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Posted Mon, 01/21/2013 - 14:15
Dear John, what about the weight intensity? 70-75 % of 1 RM? Rgds from holland Sander
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Posted Sun, 01/27/2013 - 06:05
reece gower
sorry i dont understand were the rest day is on the 3 day split or the 4 day split ? do i do the 1st day curcuit then day off then day2 curcuit then day off????or is it 3 consecutive days training ???
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Posted Sun, 01/27/2013 - 16:32
I was wondering what you do after like the third day of template A or the forth day of template B. Do you take a 3 or 4 day break?
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Posted Wed, 01/30/2013 - 19:23
what do you recommend for the split? is it exercise every other day or two days on one day off? i saw similar questions but no answers? thanks.
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Posted Thu, 01/31/2013 - 02:37
I want to do the Template B workout but when are the rest days? Could i workout Monday and Tuesday, then have wednesday off, and workout Thursday and friday, then have saturday and sunday off. Would this be good and ideal for fat loss. I was thinking of doing some jogging and jump rope on wednesday (rest day). Thanks
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Posted Fri, 02/01/2013 - 12:03
Just wanted to know if this routine adds a decent amount of muscle gain or is it more towards just the fat loss while maintaining and toning aspect?
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Posted Sun, 02/03/2013 - 00:54
If I'm trying to lose the fat on my stomach can I run after the workout?
Joey's picture
Posted Thu, 02/07/2013 - 15:29
You can
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Posted Mon, 02/04/2013 - 09:49
thank you
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Posted Mon, 02/04/2013 - 20:22
have done the first density giant two separate times for a month each. great workout. looking forward to this new workout starting tomorrow. thanks!
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Posted Tue, 02/05/2013 - 14:30
So I have about 80 pounds to drop do to work and not making time for the gym over the past almost 2 years. is this a good workout to drop a lot of work or do I need to keep looking?