German Volume Training program (GVT) is used by powerlifters, bodybuilders and other athletes to reach new heights in terms of training goals, building muscle, breaking through plateaus or to simply switch up the workouts and challenge themselves to see if they can do it.
If you want to be successful in the world of weightlifting, regardless of your goals, you should be aware of this training method and learn what German Volume Training actually is.
Every person is different and some people respond better to certain training methods than others. Generally speaking, if you want to bulk up, fill out your frame and increase your strength in the process, then you’ll need to put in some hard work at the gym.
German Volume Training has received a great deal of attention since its inception, much of it for all of the right reasons, and rightfully so. It has been described as the best old school way of building strength and mass, with a number of IFBB bodybuilders, professional athletes and strength & conditioning coaches swearing by it.
In strength-coaching circles the German Volume Training program is also often called the 10 Sets Method. Let’s take a closer look.
What exactly is German Volume Training?
German Volume Training or 10 Sets Method is believed to have originated in Germany back in the mid 1970’s and was brought into the mainstream by Rolf Feser, who was then the National Coach of Weightlifting. This method of training was used primarily by bodybuilders and weight lifters in the off-season, to pack on as much muscle mass as they possibly could.
The main idea behind the German Volume Training program is to perform just 1 exercise per body part that you’re training, doing 10 reps x 10 sets. The main focus is on doing compound exercises.
So for example, if you’re training chest and back, you would do 10 sets of bench press, followed by 10 sets of bent-over row.
How do you do it?
Completing 10 sets of 10 repetitions per body part using the exact same weight for every set is going to be a challenge even for the most experienced lifters – especially as you get to the later sets.
Ideally, you should start with a weight that you can do 20 repetitions with normally, which typically stands at around 60% of your 1RM. If you can bench press 100 kg (220 lbs) for 1 repetition, you should go with around 60 kg (132 lbs) for this training method. You’d then complete 10 sets of 10 reps on the bench press taking around 60–90 seconds of rest in-between your sets.
It’s important to keep your resting phase consistent between each set, no matter how tired you may get. As you get more fatigued with huge amounts of lactic acid accumulating in your muscles you will be tempted to rest for longer in-between sets.
You must resist the urge and power through as lactate plays a vital role in generating the “growth hormone” that’s responsible for increasing muscle mass. In German Volume Training you always choose compound exercises like Bench Press, Squats, Deadlift, Bent-Over Row, OHP and others.
Make sure to rest and keep growing
On paper, the German Volume Training program sounds much easier than it actually is. Just 1 exercise per body part? Pfft. But in reality, when you’re pushing the weight for the 6th, 7th set, all the way through to 10 with your muscles so pumped from all the lactic acid, feeling like they’re on fire, it’s a whole different story.
It is an extremely intense training program and for that reason your body is going to require longer to recovery periods. One training session of GVT every 2–3 days or so is considered the norm. As time goes by, your body will adjust to the new physical demands and you will notice an improvement is your mass and strength. When this happens you can should implement progressive overload, increasing the weight you’re using by around 5%.
Example beginner/intermediate German Volume Training program
Here in an example German Volume Training routine based on a five-day training routine from Charles Poliquin, a Canadian strength and conditioning coach, exercise physiologist and author of eight books.
He is one of the most accomplished strength and conditioning coaches in the world. His designed workouts have been used by Olympic medalists in 17 different sports, world record holders in 10 different sports, and professional athletes in the NBA, NFL, NHL, MLB, and UK Premier League. Charles has lectured or consulted for a variety of high-profile organizations such as the US Secret Service, Walt Disney Corporation and the World Swimming Congress.
With over 600 articles and 10 books written, his works have been translated into 12 different languages: English, French, Chinese, Finnish, German, Italian, Czech, Slovak, Spanish, Japanese, Dutch and Swedish. His innovative work in strength training is frequently cited in peer-reviewed literature.
You can check out his German Volume Training book HERE.
Below you will find his Beginner/Intermediate German Volume Training program.
|Chest and Back|
|A-1 Decline Dumbbell Press||10||10||90 sec|
|A-2 Chin Ups (Palms facing each other)||10||10||90 sec|
|B-1 Incline Dumbbell Flyes||3||10-12||60 sec|
|B-2 One-Arm Dumbbell Rows||3||10-12||60 sec|
Notes: Rest 90 seconds between each “A” exercise and each superset; rest 60 seconds between each “B” exercise and each superset. Incidentally, I recommend only 3 sets of 10 in this program for the “B” exercises. The “B” exercises constitute supplementary work, and doing 10 sets of them would result in overtraining.
|Legs and Abs|
|A-1 Back Squats||10||10||90 sec|
|A-2 Lying Leg Curls Feet Outward||10||10||90 sec|
|B-1 Low-Cable Pull-Ins||3||15-20||60 sec|
|B-2 Seated Calf Raises||3||15-20||60 sec|
Notes: Get a weightlifting belt and buckle it. Attach it to the low pulley of a cable crossover machine. Lie down on your back in front of the machine, and hook your feet in the belt. Then pull your knees towards your chest.
Notes: Rest Day
|Arms and Shoulders|
|A-1 Parallel Bar Dips||10||10||90 sec|
|A-2 Incline Hammer Curls||10||10||90 sec|
|B-1 Bent-Over Dumbbell Lateral Raises||3||10-12||60 sec|
|B-2 Seated Dumbbell Lateral Raises||3||10-12||60 sec|
Notes: While seated on the edge of a bench with your torso bent over, raise the dumbbells out to the side, making sure the top two knuckles (the ones closest to your thumb) are in line with your ears at the top of the movement.
Notes: Rest Day
This article first appeared on GYMNASIUMPOST.com on 16th July, 2020.