‘Protector Sets’ Are The Most Underrated Muscle-Building Hack Out There

Protect those gains.

‘Protector Sets’ Are The Most Underrated Muscle-Building Hack Out There

Image: Very Well

Building muscle isn’t easy. It requires a careful approach to nutrition β€” especially your protein intake and calorie counting β€” as well as a dedicated workout regime, usually centred around throwing weights around as often as reasonably possible.

But, as we all know, hitting every single body part in the gym with equal amounts of time and effort is no mean feat; it can require several days in the gym week after week without missing a session. While pro-bodybuilders can dedicate as much time to this as necessary. it’s not quite so easy for your average working stiff.

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That’s where this game-changing hack β€” put on our radar by massively underrated fitness influencer mattgarbarino β€” shows how you can overcome that particular obstacle using something called ‘protector sets’. In short, these allow you to maximise muscle growth for any given body part even if you miss an entire session by only adding a single set to any other workout of your choice.

Sometimes called an anticatabolic set, the approach is as follows: if you miss a session or a certain bod part isn’t coming up quite so often in your workout split, for whatever reason, you can add a single set of any exercise that trains that muscle group to any other workout that suits you and, in doing so, keep protein synthesis going without doing a full session.

Garbarino gives this example:

“Today, I came back to the gym after being off for a few days. I last hit arms 4 days ago and I’m not going to hit them again for another 4 days. So, I three in one set, like one brutal set, of bicep curls to failure just to make sure we’re not getting any atrophy. We want muscle synthesis to keep exceeding breakdown.”


As Garbarino clarifies at the close, this set alone may not promote massive muscle growth but what it will do is keep your hard-earned gains intact until your next workout, staving off muscle shrinkage in the meantime.

As we said at the start, there’s no silver bullet or one-fits-all approach to locking in muscle growth β€” though, a word to the wise, slow eccentric reps can be a massive help too β€” it’s all about consistent hard work and nutritional graft but, we hope this hack shows, there are some sneaky tricks for keeping your progress intact, even when real life gets in the way.