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What Is German Volume Training?

Gain new lean muscle by overloading your muscles with this classic bodybuilding technique from the 1970s.

Bodybuilders popularized the German Volume Training (GVT) method in the 1970s, when they realized they could gain lots of lean muscle mass by subjecting their 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 three or four exercises. 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.

As the name implies, German Volume Training forces muscle to endure a huge volume of work, so the tempo of the workout should be slow. Rest times between sets are relatively short—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


Although it may seem simple, GVT can certainly stimulate big gains in lean muscle. The intense amount of volume will spur muscle growth in both beginner and advanced lifters.

Before You Start, Though:

Because the volume is so high, lifters should monitor their progress carefully and watch out for overtraining. Due to the difficulty of GVT-style workouts, you'll probably recover much slower than normal. For that reason so each body part is only hit once per week.

Sample Upper Body 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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