Get Ripped With Supersets & Giant Sets

This 4 day workout program from bodybuilder Brad Borland utilizes supersets, giant sets and restricted rest to shred fat. Sample 2100 calorie per day eating plan is included.

Workout Summary

Lose Fat
Split
Beginner
12 weeks
4
60-75 minutes
Barbell, Bodyweight, Cables, Dumbbells, Other
Male

Workout Description

Brad Borland is a strength & conditioning specialist, cancer survivor and the founder of WorkoutLab.

When you hear the words fat-loss workout what do you think of? What pops in your head? Is it visions of plodding away on the treadmill, bike or elliptical? Do fears of wasting away precious muscle wash over you and make you run for the heavy free weights never to even fathom another insidious thought?

Calm down, breathe and let’s open your mind to new possibilities. There is a better way other than countless, tireless hours spent doing boring cardio. If you’re still reading then you have mustered your faith that there is something to be said about an effective fat-loss workout without losing muscle – and maybe even building some new mass along the way. First, let’s get your head on straight as there may be some explaining to do.

What’s really going on during and after a fat-loss workout?

The big “secret” is that you really don’t burn a ton of fat during training. Since you are asking your body to increase its intensity from, say, sitting a computer all day to benching and squatting these demands require a readily available source of energy, namely glucose. Since the majority of glucose is broken down from carbohydrate you are essentially burning through your stored carbs for fuel. Yes, you are burning some fat during that period of time, but as intensity increases so does your body’s reliance on glucose for energy.

So, why not just workout at a lower intensity and burn more fat? As mentioned before, you don’t burn a huge amount of anything in the gym – at least nothing significant enough for noticeable changes in your physique. What to do?

Enter EPOC. EPOC stands for Excess post-exercise oxygen consumption. For you non-sciencey types, it is the act of your body burning fuel long after your workout is over. In short, it is an after-burn effect. Low-intensity exercise has a low rate and length of EPOC but high-intensity training can rev up your afterburners for hours longer.

With the right training and diet plan you will turn your body into a fat-burning furnace long after you say bye-bye to the front desk girl at your gym. But how do you structure a proper workout to achieve this fat-burning bliss?

Shoulder press

Progression for your purposes refers to the ability to not only lift slightly more weight, but also to decrease rest times, perform more reps and/or increase training density

Keep it simple

With a new specialized training program promising the fastest this and the best that being born every day, it is easy to get caught up in the confusing world of what works and what doesn’t. This whole fitness thing of building muscle and losing fat is based on some pretty simple concepts.

If you want to lose weight, eat less and move more. If you want to gain muscle lift heavy things and be progressive. Simple, right? Before you storm directly to the comments section tell the world what a load of crap this is, I fully understand it goes well beyond those simple statements. But I wanted you to start from a simpler mindset instead of a complicated and frustrated one. Wipe the slate clean, so to speak.

No crazy-sounding routines to follow with cute names, just pure hard work and a structured plan to get you losing – fat. Read on.

Easy-to-follow principles

  1. The dynamic warm-up. Gone are the days of an easy walk on the treadmill and some light leg stretches – it’s time to make your workout prep work a priority. Warming-up is more than just getting, well, warmed-up. It’s about priming the body (mainly arms and legs) with blood and stoking your nervous system to properly fire as well as revving up your metabolism. Prior to training, you should have created a slight burn on your major muscle groups along with breaking a sweat. You can’t effectively go from 0 to 60 without getting to 20, 30, 40 and 50 first.
  2. Workout density. What the heck is workout density? It is a simple concept of packing your workouts with as much work as possible. Checking your phone, chatting about your day or watching one of the many TVs that have permeated gyms these days is not part of the plan – they are time wasters. If you are like most people with a limited amount of time to train due to other life obligations, then listen up. Your time is valuable and essential to your progress. Don’t waste it.
  3. Monitor rest. Hand-in-hand with workout density, rest periods are one of the most significant game-changers that are all too often overlooked. It must be closely monitored in order for this whole fat-loss thing to work. Ask yourself if you really and truly keep a close eye on your rest intervals between sets? Do you guess in your head that you rest about a minute or two? I bet if you timed them you would be shocked. I have performed entire workouts while others do only four sets of bench presses in the same amount of time.
  4. Burn with form. Another instant way to ramp up your fat-loss efforts is to pay strict attention to your form. Do you use a bit too much “English” on some exercises? Could you decrease the weight and shore-up your technique a little? Do this: When performing any exercise, make a conscious effort to tighten your entire body, especially your midsection during the whole movement. Doing so will not only stabilize and provide a solid structure for better safety and training effect, it will also burn more calories in the process.
  5. Progress. You can’t talk about training without mentioning progression. The goal here isn’t to bench press a personal record or squat a Mini Cooper. Progression for your purposes refers to the ability to not only lift slightly more weight, but also to decrease rest times, perform more reps and/or increase training density (as mentioned above). Progression can come in all shapes and sizes so maxing-out every workout out isn’t a big priority. Try lifting just five more pounds, go for one or two more reps or fit in some ab work during your rest periods. As long as you are challenging your body with something new it will progress.
  6. Adjust when necessary. Not everyone can do the same routine and not everyone can perform the same exercises without some sort of tailoring. Old injuries, body structure and lack of practice can all lead to the necessity to adjust workouts according to your own abilities. Let’s face it, you are just plain better at some things and enjoy doing those things so why not include them in your routine? Nothing is set in stone. Look at your training, adjust where you need to and press on.
  7. Find the joy in the challenge. Someone once said, if you aren’t having fun in the process, find something else to do. I know not everyone likes to beat themselves up in the gym like I do, but it’s so important to find a plan/program that you enjoy- at least a little. I have a personal rule that I share with a lot of people: Find what you need to do and find what you like to do and let them meet in the middle. You get the best of both worlds.

With the right training and diet plan you will turn your body into a fat-burning furnace long after you say bye-bye to the front desk girl at your gym.

Advantages of a fat-loss workout

There are some hidden advantages to a fat-loss workout other than the obvious. Since you will be training in an efficient manner you will also become efficient with your time as well. Using supersets, giant sets and limited rest periods you will guarantee every minute will be well spent. Another advantage is the fact that you will actually gain muscle. Yes, you read that right. By pushing your body to the edge with new techniques you will spur muscle gain along with your fat loss. Finally, this fat-loss workout will break the boredom and introduce you to new challenges. This program isn’t your typical go-through-the-motions routine.

What you’ll need
  • A watch to time your rest periods and subsequently improve your progression.
  • Focus to keep you engaged in the task at hand sans cell phone.
  • Guts to get through the workouts and never back down from the challenge.

The fat loss program

Perform the program four days per week such as Monday, Tuesday, Thursday and Friday with Wednesday and the weekends off. Pay close attention to rest periods as each session should take you less than an hour.

Perform the following dynamic warm-up prior to each session:

  • Jumping jacks – 20 reps
  • Push-ups – 10 reps
  • Inverted row – 10 reps
  • Prisoner squat or lunge – 10 reps
Monday
Upper Body
Exercise Warm-up Sets Working Sets Rest
Superset: Plyo push-up and inverted row   3 x as many as possible 60 seconds after all supersets
Superset: Incline bench dumbbell press and V-up on bench 1 x 12 3 x 8-12 60 seconds after all supersets
Superset: Dumbbell row and leg lift   3 x 8-12 60 seconds after all supersets
Superset: Reverse-grip chin-up and neutral-grip dumbbell flat bench press   3 x 8-12 60 seconds after all supersets
Giant set: Dumbbell side lateral raise, dumbbell upright row and burpees   3 x 15-20 60 seconds after all giant sets
Intervals on cardio of choice 3 minutes 6-10 intervals of 1 minute low intensity, 30 seconds high intensity
Tuesday
Legs and Arms
Exercise Warm-up Sets Working Sets Rest
Superset: Incline bench dumbbell curl and parallel bar dip 1 x 12 4 x 8-12 60 seconds after all supersets
Superset: Box jump and barbell squat or leg press 2 x 12 3 x 10-16 60 seconds after all supersets
Giant set: Reverse lunge, single leg calf raise and bicycle crunch   3 x 10-16 60 seconds after all giant sets
Superset: Dumbbell Romanian deadlift and lying leg lift   3 x 8-12 60 seconds after all supersets
Steady-state cardio of choice 3 minutes 20-30 minutes  
Thursday
Upper Body
Exercise Warm-up Sets Working Sets Rest
Superset: Flat bench dumbbell press and wide-grip pull-up 1 x 12 3 x 6-8 60 seconds after all supersets
Superset: Feet-elevated push-up and T-bar or barbell row 1 x 10 3 x 6-8 60 seconds after all supersets
Superset: Pulley rope or band face pull and Russian med ball twist (optional on incline bench)   3 x 16 60 seconds after all supersets
Superset: Standing dumbbell or barbell shoulder press and plank   3 x 6-8/20-30 seconds 60 seconds after all supersets
Superset: Barbell hang clean and floor crunch   3 x 6-10 60 seconds after all supersets
Intervals on cardio of choice 3 minutes 6-10 intervals of 1 minute low intensity, 30 seconds high intensity
Friday
Legs and Arms
Exercise Warm-up Sets Working Sets Rest
Superset: Close-grip push-up and barbell spider curl 1 x 12 4 x 8-12 60 seconds after all supersets
Superset: Bulgarian split squat and lateral bench jump 2 x 12 3 x 8-10 60 seconds after all supersets
Giant set: Barbell front squat, single leg calf raise and ab windshield wiper   3 x 8-10 60 seconds after all giant sets
Superset: Glute/ham raise (assisted if needed) and 3-way incline sit-up   3 x 8-10 60 seconds after all supersets
Steady-state cardio of choice 3 minutes 20-30 minutes  

Sample fat-loss diet plan

What’s a fat-loss training program without a fat-loss diet plan? By now it’s common knowledge that half the battle of the bulge is fought on our pallets. You can have the perfect training plan and get some decent results, but if you want outstanding results and put your fat-burning furnace in overdrive then a carefully though-out eating plan is in store.

The meal plan below (approximately 2100 calories) is only a sample diet for a 180 pound individual providing 1 gram of protein per pound of bodyweight, complex carbs and plenty of healthy fats.

Cutting Diet
2100 calories Per Day
Meal Warm-up Sets
Meal 1

½ cup oatmeal mixed with 2 tbsp of natural peanut butter. 1 scoop of whey protein powder or 5 egg whites.

Meal 2 4-6 ounces of chicken breast in a salad with 2 tbsp of oil-based dressing and mixed vegetable medley. 1 cup of Greek yogurt. 1 ounce of almonds or mixed nuts or 1 cup (cooked) rice.
Pre-workout 1 apple, 1 scoop of whey protein powder.
Post-workout 2 scoops of whey protein powder, 1 cup of berries.
Meal 3 6 ounces of tilapia, 1 cup green veggies, 1 cup of sweet potato.

Totals:

  • Protein – 181 grams
  • Carbohydrate – 187 grams
  • Fat – 57 grams
  • Calories – 2070 kcal.

16 Comments+ Post Comment

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Posted Thu, 01/08/2015 - 18:16
Tomas

The rest time has to be between each superset.

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Posted Thu, 11/13/2014 - 21:31
Cal

I fux wit Brad Borland. All of his workouts r Awezome! Bee otch!!!!!

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Posted Mon, 10/20/2014 - 17:51
Nathan

Are the preworkout and post workout meals eaten on rest days?

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Posted Sat, 02/28/2015 - 12:00
homeruler

that is why it's called workout, meaning before and after your workout,how can you say workout when your on a rest day?

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Posted Tue, 10/07/2014 - 23:38
Raj

Hey Brad,
I am also doing fat loss routine. I am 217 LBS and i am following diet of 200 LBS ( which is my first target). I am hitting Gym 5 days a week with weekend rest. I am on 50% Carbs, 30% Protein, 20% Fat for 3000 Calorie plan. Am i following correct plan?

Thansk
Raj

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Posted Tue, 10/07/2014 - 21:09
Alex

This workout looks like the workouts that appeared on the Joe Manganiello s book Evolution would you post how to get a werewolf physique Brad?

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Posted Mon, 09/08/2014 - 01:17
santosh parthiban

Hi i am 120kgs is it good to start this workput

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Posted Mon, 09/08/2014 - 01:15
santosh parthiban

Hi m 120kgs after an year i am starting my workout ... is it good to start this workout

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Posted Sun, 09/07/2014 - 18:20
joseph

So do I rest a min after all three sets of each exercise or rest a min after one set of each exercise?

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Posted Thu, 08/28/2014 - 10:35
Dan

How much weight is typical for the squats?

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Posted Tue, 08/26/2014 - 22:20
Anthony

Can you give me examples of intervals on cardio and steady-state cardio?

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Posted Tue, 09/09/2014 - 06:27
Rod

Intervals you can run/jog for 30 seconds and walk for 1 minute. Or run at a sprint for 30 seconds and jog for 1 minute. Steady-state is doing your favorite cardio excercise for a period of time.

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Posted Mon, 08/25/2014 - 19:52
Eugene

Just to clarify, do i get
Rest in between supersets? Or just 60sec rest after doing all 3
Supersets? Thanks

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Posted Wed, 08/27/2014 - 18:01
Paul

Hey Eugene, between supersets and giant sets there's usually no break, just jump from one exercise to the next and then when you're done one set of the entire superset take the 60 sec break, for example do the plyo-pushups and inverted rows take a 60 sec break then jump back in on another round.. I have been on this program for the first week now and with high intensity you'll be dripping in sweat by the time you leave the gym.

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Posted Fri, 08/29/2014 - 06:44
Panos

No, it says that you take a 60 sec break after ALL supersets, so you do the plyo pushups and the inverted rows (and you do this 3 times) with NO rest and after you do the superset 3 times you take a 1 min break.

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Posted Fri, 08/29/2014 - 06:49
Panos

You take a 60 sec break after all 3 supersets.