German Volume Training Routine EXPLAINED!
Quick note: German Volume Training (GVT) can be used by any athlete that is looking to gain size and strength. Even CrossFit athletes such as Chris Spealler have used a German Volume Training Routine to put on some size in the off season for the CrossFit Games.
German Volume Training is a physically demanding training system that follows a 10 sets of 10 rep superset system, with a slow tempo on the eccentric part of the lift and short rest periods in between each superset. It is an extremely effective way to put on muscle mass fast but you have to train with intensity and purpose.
German Volume Training, as the name suggests, stems from Germany and was made popular by Rolf Feser, a weightlifting national coach in the mid-70s. In the US, a similar version of German Volume Training was developed by Vince Gironda. GVT, which is also called the “۱۰ sets method”, is a great alternative training system for those people who are tired of doing the same old routine but don’t see improvements in muscle growth and hypertrophy.
GVT is all about volume and involves performing 10 sets of a single exercise, it puts the muscles under large amount of extraordinary stress, which results in hypertrophy of the targeted muscle fibers. With German Volume Training you can add muscle fast and people have known to have gained 10 pounds of solid muscle within a small 6 week window period using this style of training method. Although GVT is tough, it can work more than any other training system providing you follow the principles correctly.
German Volume Training is built around several core principles:
Number of Exercises. One exercise is done per body part using heavier compound movements that put increased pressure on the major muscle groups being worked. So choosing the correct exercise is crucial and only perform a limited number of exercises per week. If you want to work the more minor muscle groups like biceps, just perform 3 sets of 1-10 repetitions.
۱۰ Sets of 10. 10 Sets of 10 Reps are done with the same weight for each exercise. Begin with 60% of your one rep max and perform 10 reps. So if you can bench press 100kg for 1RM, use 60kg for your 10 sets of 10.
Rest Pauses. This is where the method gets tough. The weight isn’t that tough to lift, you can comfortably perform 10 reps of your 60% 1RM weight, right! But the volume of sets and the rest pauses between supersets is what makes German Volume Training so tough and physically challenging. If you decide not to superset exercises then you should rest 60 seconds between each set. If you decide to follow the superset method which incurs cumulative fatigue, then you can allow yourself 90-120 seconds rest between sets.
ICON Tip: Use a stopwatch to time your rest pauses. Resist the urge to rest longer, don’t put off the inevitable: you are finishing this thing whether you like it or not!
Tempo. A simple tempo is used when performing GVT. This is the 4-0-2 tempo. Simply meaning lowering for 4 seconds then instantly changing direction and raising for 2 seconds. The 0 is the amount of time you hold the position at the bottom of the lift. In this case there is not hold and you intently come back up to the starting position over a 2 second period. For exercises on smaller muscle groups like the bicep, use a tempo of 3-0-2.
Increase slowly. Take on enough weight that puts your muscles in a state of shock. Each week try and increase the wight by 5% to continually shock the muscles. Shock equals new growth. New growth equals new you.
Weekly Training Frequency. Due to the intensity of this workout system it is advised that you train one body part and then allow it 4-5 days to become fully rested. This allows each major muscle group ample time to recover.
REMEMBER. The volume of the work performed in GVT will take care of hypertrophy. Stick with, follow the above core principles and you will see results.
German Volume Training and Sleep:
An often overlooked aspect of training is getting in enough sleep to allow the body to rest, recover and grow stronger than it was yesterday. Try and get 8 hours of rest whilst following the German Volume Training method. Your body will thank you for it. If you struggle sleeping perhaps try adding in ZMA to your supplement plan to improve sleep quality.
German Volume Training and Protein Consumption:
When attempting to add on muscle or achieve any other body transformation goal, the general principle is 80:20. 80% nutrition and 20% work done in the gym. If you are looking to try gain 10 pounds in 6 weeks from following GVT you will need to be consuming enough protein in your diet to fuel growth. Your body needs food for fuel, don’t expect to be able to grow without the proper daily protein intake.
To workout your daily calorie requirements, check out our other blog article here.
You may see numbers for daily protein amounts in the 200 grams and above. Whilst this may seem like a lot, it is completely normal. Bodybuilders such as Ronnie Colemen consume 100g of protein with every meal and he typically eats 8 meals a day. That’s 800g of protein per day. This is likely to be too much for the recreational gym-goer but you should aim to get between 1-2g of protein for every pound that you weigh. Food is the preferred choice to try hit your daily macros but if your appetite or lifestyle doesn’t allow you to take that amount of protein in from whole foods you should consider supplementing your diet with a whey protein powder such as ICON Nutrition’s grass fed 100% whey protein.
German Volume Training aims at bulking up your muscles; in the process you can lose significant fat as well. Stick to basic exercises with this training method. Some GVT systems are modified from the original to add a bit of variety from the old school way. The workouts performed in this training method pumps a lot of blood to your muscles. It is therefore important to stretch the muscles out to give them flexibility, which prevents injury.
Aim to stretch the muscles directly after volume training. So after performing 10 sets of squats, stretch your quads. It is recommended not to perform GVT workouts longer than for 4-6 weeks based on the fact that it involves extreme muscle stress and strain.
Try to take a break after this time for a couple of weeks and just stick to your normal gym routine. Then move back onto GVT when you feel rested again. A typical GVT plan involves working out three times per week. It is best to try the standard routine before breaking it and adding in your own style and workouts. Sticking to the basics is often better.
German Volume Training Routine
Monday: Chest and Back.
A: Incline dumbbell press (10 sets of 10 reps)
B: Close Grip pull-ups (10 sets of 10 reps)
A: Bent over dumbbell rows (3 sets of 10)
B: Dumbbell chest fly (3 sets of 10)
Tuesday: Legs and Abs
A: Leg press (10 sets of 10)
B: Hamstring Curls (10 sets of 10)
A: Calf raises (3 sets of 10)
B: Lying leg raises (or hanging leg raises) (3 sets of 10)
Thursday: Arms & Shoulders
A : Parallel bar tricep dips (10 sets of 10)
B: Seated incline dumbbell curls (10 sets of 10)
A: Front raises (3 sets of 10)
B: Side lateral raises (3 sets of 10)
ICON TIP: What gets measured, gets managed. Try keep a workout log book and record everything you do. If you take longer to rest between a set, log it down. If you only perform 9 sets and not 10, log it down. Be honest with yourself and log everything accurately and diligently. This will help monitor progression and lead to all round better results.