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Training Style to Know: German Volume Training

Get bigger, stronger and faster by using the right training style for you. This week, "German Volume Training."

Google the words ‘strength training program’ and you’ll get over 30 million different results, each one promising to be the ultimate program to make you stronger, faster, and leaner than the next. With so many training protocols out there, it’s hard to separate the strength-builders from the time-wasters. In this series, we break down some of the top programs and lay out the foundations of their success.

[see: Stop Wasting Time in the Gym]

It’s important to note that each program has its own specific benefit. One approach isn’t perfect for everyone. Choose the one that most closely resembles your own needs and goals. However, each program does include one element – consistency. Program hopping (switch programs every week) is one of the biggest mistakes a lifter can make.

[see: Trainer Q&A: When Should I Change Programs?]

No matter what program you choose, stick with it for at least a few months before ditching it in favor of a different regimen. This week, we'll take a look at "German Volume Training"

Check out last week's feature on Block Training >>>

Method: German Volume Training


Lifters popularized the German Volume Training (GVT) method in the 1970’s. The pure focus is on gaining lean mass by exposing the muscle fibers to a tremendous amount of overload. The goal is to perform 10 sets of 10 repetitions for one exercise per body part during a workout, so each workout may consist of only 3-4 exercises depending on the day. Lifters should focus on one big exercise for each body part for the 10x10 approach and include some accessory lifts to wrap up the workout with 3 sets of 10 reps. The method works by providing a huge load on the muscle so tempo should be slow. Rest times should be short between sets (between 60 and 90 seconds). Because the volume is so high, lifters should start with a lighter weight than normal to combat fatigue on the later sets.

A sample schedule would have lifters working out on the following schedule:

Monday - Chest/Back
Tuesday - Legs/Abs
Thursday - Arms/Shoulders

Due to the difficulty of the workouts, trainees will recover much slower so each body part is only hit once per week.


Although it may seem simple in nature, the GVT method promises big gains in lean muscle. The intense amount of volume will spur muscle growth in both beginner and advanced lifters. Because the volume is so high, lifters should monitor their progress carefully and watch out for overtraining.

Sample workout:


1A) Incline Bench Press - 10 sets of 10 reps
1B) Chin-up - 10 sets of 10 reps
2A) Tricep Extensions - 3 sets of 10 reps
2B) Bicep Curls - 3 sets of 10 reps


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