Feb 23 2013
German Volume Training
Have you ever heard of German Volume Training or GVT? It’s basically a workout when towards the end of the routine you are trying to decide whether to cry or to throw up. I think it pretty much sums it up.
But on a serious note, it is 10 sets of 10 reps workout with 60 second rest between the sets. It is called German because it comes from Germany from a guy called Rolf Feser who at the time was the national coach of weightlifting. And as we know and what has been proven over the years, anything that comes from Germany is usually pretty good. Just look at their cars, footballers (if you are an American, it’s soccer players), they are great inventors of stuff, they gave us Einstein, etc.
Rolf used this method mainly in off-season to help his athletes gain a bit of lean body mass. Apparently it was so efficient that the weightlifters moved up a weight class just after 12 weeks. That sounds promising for everyone who struggles to gain weight (I’m one of them). Many Olympic weightlifters added the GVT to their training program.
The GVT works because it literally exhausts one muscle group. Do the math yourself. You’re doing 100 reps in a very short time (15-20 minutes). It is all about the volume. Forget doing 3 workouts of 4 sets of 6-8 reps. It doesn’t work that much. Try this and I promise you will hate me. But after the workout you look in the mirror and you will be amazed. For example I did a GVT superset today of 10 sets of 10 reps bench press and wide grip pull ups. My chest and back have never been this big. It felt like they were going to explode.
Now obviously 60s rest isn’t enough when you do supersets. I had 90 second rest and it was just enough.
One very important thing I forgot to mention is that you should never change the weight. So choose wisely. It is advised to use about 60% of your max. So in my case I benched with 60kg (130 lbs) because my max is 100kg (IDK lbs).
If you’re not tired after those 10 sets, you’re doing something wrong or you’re just f-ing strong. In this case you finish you workout with some isolated exercise such as dumbbell fly or something like that. You don’t have to go 10 sets, just the regular 3 sets of 8-10 reps.
The great part about this workout is that you don’t spend that much time in the gym. That’s why I love it. You’re in and out really quickly. I started doing Crossfit for the same reason. Who has got time to be spending 1-2 hours in a gym? I certainly don’t.
Ok, now some basic guidelines
- Your rest intervals should always be exact. I use this timer for that and it works great. If you only do one body part then your rest should be 60 seconds, if you’re superseting rest for 90 seconds.
- One body part only once a week. This is sort of given because you won’t feel like doing it more than once. I had chest and back on Sunday and I was still sore on Thursday. It’s not smart to overdo it. It’d be overtraining which usually leads to injury. Make sure you have enough rest.
- Once it becomes easy for you, add extra 5% to your weight. Or what I would do is just add those extra 5% every week.
- Vary it. In other words do different kinds of exercises targeting the same muscle group. If you are targeting chest then do flat bench press one week, than do incline bench press and on the third week do decline bench-press. After that you can move to dumbbells…. You get the point. It’s the same with pull-ups. You have many to choose from; wide grip, narrow grip, palms facing you, kipping pull-ups, etc.
- One very important thing…. Do only the basic exercises. This is crucial. So forget doing anything using cable machines. Do only dead lifts, squats (front and back), bench-press, shoulder-press, pull-ups, dips, barbell biceps curls and calf raises. That’s it. Do try to be fancy doing the girly stuff.
Day 1: Chest and Back
- 10 sets of 10 reps flat bench-press
- 10 sets of 10 reps wide grip pull-ups
Day 2: Legs and Abs
- 10 sets of 10 reps back squats
- 10 sets of 10 reps floor wipers
Day 3: Rest
Day 4: Arms and Shoulders
- 10 sets of 10 reps standing barbell shoulder press
- 10 sets of 10 reps barbell bicep curls
- 3 sets of 10-12 reps dips
Day 5: Rest
And repeat using different exercising targeting the same muscle group.
That’s it. It’s very simple but very effective. I suggest you check out Charles Poliquins website where he is even more thorough.
If you have tried it already, just let me know what you think of this workout in the comment section below.