Training

German Volume Training | Training Programme

What is German Volume Training? 

Charles Poliquin, a Canadian strength coach, adopted a training method designed in the 1970s by a German weightlifting team coach. This was a new training method in order to bulk his athletes up. This is known as German Volume Training or GVT.  Rolf Feser was the coach who invented this style of training. 

 If you’re reading the name and thinking, ‘ouch’, that sounds about right as it is likely one of the most demanding training methods out there however, if you have the drive to try it, the results are worth the grind. 

 GVT is a method of training with a high set and rep workload.  Essentially, the first part of your workout will include two exercises targeting opposite muscle groups and working for 10 sets of 10 repetitions.  Your rest periods, however, will be rather short at around 60 seconds. 

The law of repeated effort 

 When performing something over, and over, and over again, your body will respond in a massively effective way and this is what German Volume Training does. Repeating the exercise 100 times through one single workout will shock the body and ensure hypertrophy. 

German Volume Training Plan 

 When working out, our bodies and minds fatigue at the best of times., When you are participating in a programme as gruelling as German Volume Training, it is vital that you keep to the time periods set, as well as noting down each set and weight once completed. This is something that will be of huge help to you come set 7 or 8 and you can’t think of anything else other than lifting the weight in your next set. 

 It is also important not to be working to complete failure at every set. Blowing your muscles out at every set will only mean failure to complete your workout. Remembering that this workout is not about strength increments, it’s a high volume to achieve hypertrophy. I would advise you to find a weight you can realistically do 12-15 reps with for 3 sets to do 10 sets of 10 reps. If you find this too easy, in the following session you should look to increase the weight slightly. 

 To add to the torture, you’ll need to perform the exercises with a specific tempo. Lifts that have a big range of motion (squats, deadlifts) should be completed with a 4-0-2-0 tempo (4 seconds downward for the eccentric portion, 0-second pause at the bottom, 2 seconds up for the concentric portion, 0 seconds at the top); shorter-range moves (leg curls, cable rows) can be done with at 3-0-2-0. 

 Completing a plan over 4 weeks will certainly provide results.  Below is an example plan.  

Chest and Back Week 1

Order Exercise Sets Reps Tempo

Rest

A1

Incline Barbell Press 10 10 3010 30s

A2

Wide Lat Pull Down 10 10 3010

60s

B1

Flat Dumbbell Flies 3 12 3110

10s

B2

Low Seated Row 3 12 3110

60s

C1 Machine Chest Press 1 D/S 2010

X

Legs Week 1
Order Exercise Sets Reps Tempo Rest
A1 Barbell Front Squat 10 10 3010 30s
A2 Lying Leg Curl 10 10 3010 60s
B1 Leg Extension 3 12 3110 10s
B2 Seated Leg Curl 3 12 3110 60s
C1 Hack Squat 1 D/S 2010 X
Arms and Shoulders 1
Order Exercise Sets Reps Tempo Rest
A1 Dumbbell Shoulder Press 10 10 3010 30s
A2 Seated Lateral Raises 10 10 3010 60s
B1 Close Grip Barbell Press 3 12 3110 10s
B2 EZ Bar Preacher Curl 3 12 3110 60s
C1 Cable Bicep Curl 1 D/S 2010 X
Chest and Back Week 2
Order Exercise Sets Reps Tempo Rest
A1 Flat Dumbbell Press 10 10 3010 30s
A2 Semi Supinated Lat Pull Down 10 10 3010 60s
B1 Seated Cable Flies 3 12 3110 10s
B2 Barbell Bent Over Row 3 12 3110 60s
C1 Seated Row 1 D/S 2010 X
Legs Week 2
Order Exercise Sets Reps Tempo Rest
A1 Barbell Back Squat 10 10 3010 30s
A2 Hip Flexed Lying Leg Curl 10 10 3010 60s
B1 Leg Press Low Foot 3 12 3110 10s
B2 Leg Extension 3 12 3110 60s
C1 Standing Calf Raise 1 D/S 2010 X
Arms and Shoulders 2
Order Exercise Sets Reps Tempo Rest
A1 Cable Preacher Bicep Curl 10 10 3010 30s
A2 Duel Rope Extension 10 10 3010 60s
B1 Reverse Shoulder Press 3 12 3110 10s
B2 High Face Pull 3 12 3110 60s
C1 Dumbbell Lateral Raise 1 D/S 2010 X

 

What are the benefits of German Volume Training? 

German Volume Training is designed to spike muscle growth and strength.  This method has been used, and is useful, to break through plataeu’s. 

Muscle Growth 

The main reason for GVT is the ability to pack on muscle on muscle.  The German weightlifting team used it in the off season solely to load on muscle mass.   

Increased Strength 

The program is designed to increase hypertrophy however, naturally when building muscle and progressively overloading your training, your strength will increase. 

Take Home Message 

It has been evidenced in a 2017 study that 5×10 methods are just as effective as GVT so, if you are worried about consuming too much time, it may be worth considering the more conventional approach. 

 If you are considering GVT, it is hard graft and would ensure you are prepared physically to complete the method and do so over a short period of 4-6 weeks. 

Our articles should be used for informational and educational purposes only and are not intended to be taken as medical advice. If you’re concerned, consult a health professional before taking dietary supplements or introducing any major changes to your diet.



Chris Appleton

Chris Appleton

Writer and expert

Chris is an editor and a level 3 qualified Personal Trainer, with a BA honours degree in Sports Coaching and Development, and a level 3 qualification in Sports Nutrition. He has experience providing fitness classes and programs for beginners and advanced levels of clients and sports athletes. Chris is also a qualified football coach, delivering high-level goalkeeping and fitness training at a semi-professional level, with nutritional advice to help maintain optimal performance. His experience in the sports and fitness industry spans 15 years and is continuously looking to improve. In his spare time, Chris likes to dedicate it to his family while training in the gym.


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