German volume training applies very high volume to specific muscle groups. It is known to be brutally hard, yet effective at packing on lean muscle fast. Don’t be fooled by its simplicity or small numbers, this will bring you pain. It has been effective for many weightlifters and bodybuilders.
Is German Volume Training For You?
If you are an intermediate or advanced lifter looking to put on massive muscle gains, then German Volume Training (GVT) is for you.
Weightlifters in Germany used this method during off season to gain lean body mass. This method was so effective some lifters moved up a whole weight class within 12 weeks.
Although GVT may not help much with strength gains, it can help with improving and perfecting form.
TO SAY THIS PROGRAM ADDS MUSCLE FAST IS PROBABLY AN UNDERSTATEMENT. GAINS OF TEN POUNDS OR MORE IN SIX WEEKS ARE NOT UNCOMMON, EVEN IN EXPERIENCED LIFTERS.
This was Canadian weightlifter Jacques Demers go to method of training. During his weightlifting career he was known for his massive thighs, which he attributes to GVT.
If you are a beginner, it is recommended you ignore this routine and head over to the beginners routines. There, you will find programs to build both size and strength gains more quickly.
German Volume Training Explained
German Volume Training is as simple as performing 10 sets of 10 reps with the same weight on your exercises. Sounds simple, but this program is difficult. By repeatedly exposing muscle units to high volume and stress, the body begins to adapt by hypertrophying the targeted muscle fibers.
Finishing 10 sets of 10 reps is the goal. To find your starting numbers you will want to find a weight you could perform 20 reps to failure (if possible) with. This is roughly 60% of your 1RM (1 rep max).
In the beginning the weight may feel light, but the minimal rest periods will fatigue you. The rest intervals are extremely important, and should be tracked using a stopwatch.
Rest intervals range between 60 and 90 seconds (60 seconds between accessory work and 90 seconds between the main lifts).
Some coaches recommend a 4-0-2 tempo for long range movements; Squats, Bench Press, Dips, and a 3-0-2 tempo for short range movements; Curls.
You should be performing 1, and only 1, exercise per body part so choose an exercise that recruits a lot of muscle mass.
Because it will take your body longer to recover, working one body part about every 4 to 5 days is sufficient. Accessory work may be added for individual body parts for 3 sets of 10-20 reps.
Each cycle is 5 days, after the 5th day you start again at day 1. Once you have completed 10 sets of 10 reps with proper rest intervals, consider increasing the weight by 4 to 5 percent and continue.
The German Volume Training Routine
German Volume Training involves only three workouts per week. Resist the urge to break this routine up into a four or five day split before actually trying it. It’s best to try GVT for several weeks before tweaking with it.
My first GVT chest and back day left me so sore that I had a hard time bench pressing days later, so I recommend not changing the program at all.
I have not changed the original method although some people complain that after arms and shoulders its tough to do a chest and back session but i say suck it up!
Gain some muscle!!
The structure of the workouts is as follows:
Beginner/Intermediate Phase 1
Beginner/Intermediate Phase 2
- Day 1: Chest and Back
- Day 2: Legs and Abs
- Day 3: Rest
- Day 4: Shoulders and Arms
- Day 5: Rest
When using this program or any other, you should keep a detailed journal of the exact sets/reps and rest intervals performed, and only count the repetitions completed in strict form.
Progression and Gain
It has been said that many lifters have gained 10 pounds or more of lean body mass within 6 weeks of this program.
You may increase the weight for your work sets by 5% once you can perform the prescribed 10 sets of 10 reps with proper form and rest intervals.
Tips For German Volume Training
- Eat and sleep like it is going out of style. Since this program is designed to increase muscle mass, food and rest must be priority.
- You should keep a detailed training log of the exact sets, reps, and rest intervals you have completed. You should only count the repetitions completed in strict form.
- Rest intervals are key! You must perform the rest intervals as prescribed.
- Don’t sweat missed reps. Not completing all 10 reps out of 10 sets will not ruin the program.
- Typically used for approximately 8 to 12 week training cycles.
- Use taxing compound lifts!
- Perform Phase 1 for a minimum of 6 cycles, once you have completed a full 6 cycles you can move on to phase 2.