Going Beyond Giant Sets...
Monster Sets

By Warren Sicloces

In the beginning, a bodybuilder picked up a bar and did as many repetitions as he could until he could do no more and, thus, the set was born, the basic unit that drives training routines. Then, in search of ways to boost muscle growth, high-intensity sets began to appear. Supersets, tri-sets and, finally, giant sets, as the maximum expression of forcing muscles beyond their limits. Giants sets were the business. But now monster sets have hit the scene, leaving other high-intensity sets in their wake. Do you have what it takes to try them?
The clear objective of any bodybuilder is to develop his or her muscles to their maximum potential, for which they train with blood sweat and tears. And every bodybuilder’s dream is to find the perfect technique or approach to training that guarantees him or her constant muscle growth, whatever the cost. In the early days of the sport it was all about moving big weights, the more the better, but that was in the dark ages of bodybuilding. Sports science has advanced a lot since then, and today the weight is not the main player in muscle growth. We now know that the key to development is stimulating the muscle fibres.

A brief history of training
Who knows at what point in history did a human individual first realize that lifting weight made the body stronger? I suppose someone that was obliged to repeatedly lift heavy objects noticed at some stage that it was getting easier to do. But that discovery would have been made numerous times in many different places, and there are myths from both Ancient Egypt and Greece to prove it. From the latter legend has it a calf was born and a particular soldier threw it on his back and carried it up the mountain to graze. This he did every day and declared that each time it became easier. Of course, over time the calf became a huge bull and the soldier an absolute colossus. Greek mythology contains abundant tales of superhuman strength, in fact, and particularly well-known are those of the god Zeus’s son, Hercules.
However, let’s get back to bodybuilding. There are many examples in the past of men who confronted daily physical labour to build strength – take the Celts or the Vikings, for example – but only from the beginning of last century is there evidence of it being done to increase muscle size.
The basic unit of exercise used to achieve this is the set, which is nothing more than the repetition of an exercise until it can no longer be performed correctly. Added to this, gradually increasing the weight used in the exercise performed is the major concept behind muscle development. This is why bodybuilders are always making an effort to work out with heavier loads.

Mario Waters
Thoroughbred Bodybuilder

By Marie Escamilla
Photos Jason Mathas 

At first glance you might imagine that Mario Waters was a tough guy who bounced around from party to party in Las Vegas, because he has a great body and the perfect look for it, but if you get the chance to sit down and talk to the guy you get the truth. The guy loves his sport and declares that nothing that isn’t about bodybuilding truly interests him. Yes, when you look at the mind and body of Mario Waters, you see a thoroughbred bodybuilder.
Ok, the guy admit he also likes a party, but his routine and hard training sessions always take priority… always! When the weekly routine is through, of course, and cardio is done and the day off arrives then yes, Mario hits the Las Vegas clubs until the early hours. Unless he is in pre-contest prep, when things get really serious and Mario is as focussed as a tiger about to pounce on its prey. So let’s get to know Mario the thoroughbred a little better. 

The Thoroughbred’s Beginnings
Mario was actually born on September 11 1980 in the north of the US in Flint, Michigan. He has two sisters and a brother, but none of them are into fitness or bodybuilding and, surprisingly, as a boy Mario was not particularly athletic. He liked American football and played for a time, but wasn’t especially good at it. When he discovered the weights at 14, however, he immediately fell in love and began to work out.
“I discovered that my body responded well to weight training and as I am competitive by nature, competing was the natural way to show off the fruits of my labour in the gym. But what really matters to me is bodybuilding training, and any benefits that come from bodybuilding are welcome and anything that has nothing to do with I am not interested in.” 

Training Concepts
Mario trains in what he believes is the best gym in the world, Gold’s Gym in Las Vegas. He almost always works out alone, because otherwise he would constantly be on the phone cancelling sessions with a buddy, since his timetable is always changing. Training solo suits the guy, because he can do it whenever he pleases without letting anyone down and vice versa.
In principle Waters works out three or four days a week in the off-season and six pre-contest, but in reality he trains six days a week most of the time, since he doesn’t have a classic off-season period.
“I am always trying to improve some body part, so I never really relax and I put a lot into preparation. Basically in the lead-up to a show I like to contract the muscles harder and longer, and do more sets with higher rep counts as well.”


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