Pre-Fatigued Lower Back Giant Sets

winning Rehabilitation, Training (Body Comp), Training (Strength) Leave a Comment


This Protocol/Method is fantastic for increasing Erector Spinae muscle mass. I first came across it in a program written by Ryan Faehnle and now it’s one of my ‘Go To’ methods. The concept is relatively simple:

Pre-fatigue your hamstrings in knee flexion and then complete 3 more exercises for hip extension in a giant set/circuit fashion. To clarify:

A1) Knee Flexion: 10sec rest
A2) Hip Extension: 10sec rest
A3) Hip Extension: 10sec rest
A4) Hip Extension: 2-5 minute rest & complete 2-4 more rounds/circuits

Due to the pre-fatigue, the erector spinae now have to pick up the slack so the load here is essentially increased.

Who would benefit from this?lower-back-1

This protocol can be applied to quite a few populations

  • Anyone looking to increase their Deadlift (for reps or for maximum)
  • Athletes: strength in the lower back is a contributing factor to sports performance enhancement
  • Rehabilitation & General Population: Lower back injuries are common & an increase in muscle will act as protection
  • Physique: Balance out a potentially weak muscle group

This protocol though is quite unforgiving and I do recommend building up to it. Much of this is mental though. Loads of people search for a Biceps pump, but as soon as they feel this pump in their lower back instant panic sets in! If you need to build up to it simply change it into a superset (A1-A2) for 1-3 weeks, then a tri-set (A1-A3) for 1-3 weeks, then finally a giant set (A1-A4).

For those that like pain & in return want to build two huge rods of muscle down their back in search for a Deadlift PB or enhanced performance, read on!

Programming for a Deadlift Increase

For the first 2-3 weeks of a 10-12 week build up I want you to complete 2 of these Giant Sets each week

Day 1

A1) Lying Leg Curl (Plantarflexed, Inwards): 4-6 reps, 3210, 10sec rest
A2) Standing Good Morning (Safety Squat Bar): 6-8 reps, 4010, 10sec rest
A3) 40 Degree Incline Back Extension (DB Across Collarbone): 10-12, 3011, 10sec rest
A4) Reverse Hyperextension (Dorsiflexed, Neutral): 10-12 reps, 2011, 180sec rest

Complete 4 more rounds/circuits. Each week remove 1 set as a deloadlower-back-2

Day 2 (Complete this 2-3 Days after Day 1)

A1) Lying Leg Curl (Dorsi to Plantar, Neutral): 4-6 reps, 5010, 10sec rest
A2) Glute Ham Raise (BB on Back): 5-7 reps, 50X0, 10sec rest
A3) 70 Degree Incline Back Extension (Safety Squat Bar): 8-10 reps, 3012, 10sec rest
A4) Flat Back Extension (Snatch Grip Barbell): 8-10 reps, 2012, 180sec rest

Complete 4 more rounds/circuits. Each week remove 1 set as a deload

For those with no access to a Leg Curl Machine I recommend you substitute in Glute Ham Gastroc Raises/Nordic Hamstring Curl.

Starting your program out like this will increase posterior chain hypertrophy levels. If you then add your deadlift back in, you’ll peak 6-10 weeks later.

Alternatives include using this Protocol for weeks 1-2 & 5-6 of a 12 week program at a frequency of 1-2 giant sets per week. You can certainly get very specific with each Giant Set & hone in on the weakness of the individual or the specific angles/strength curves the Athlete might need to get strong in.

To Conclude

I’ve utilised this approach many times with great success. Be warned, you will finish this session at least 2 inches shorter prior to when you started it!

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