We have all been in this situation: training hard, seeing results, and then all of a sudden you stop making progress – it sucks! Plateauing like this is demoralising, but don’t fear, there is a solution, and it’s called German Volume Training.

What is German Volume Training?

German Volume Training (GVT) is without doubt one of the most effective training protocols out there for smashing through strength plateaus and building size fast.

It was developed in Germany in the 1970s, and made famous by the National Coach of Weightlifting at the time, Rolf Feser. Since then it has been championed by a number of esteemed strength coaches including the modern day ‘Strength Sensei’ Charles Poliquin, Canadian powerlifter Jacques Demers and female bodybuilder Bev Francis.

German Volume Training uses an exhaustive 10-set training method to achieve results fast. This extremely high training volume puts your muscles under a lot of stress, and its this stimulus that will force your muscles to adapt and grow. In fact, it has been found to be so effective that is had helped some lifters move up a whole weight class in just three months!

“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.”

Charles Poliquin  |  Strength Sensei

What are the Benefits of German Volume Training?

Here are some reasons you should consider German Volume Training:

1. Build more muscle faster: The workout exposes a specific group of motor units to a very high volume of extended effort. This forces your body to adapt to the effort, increasing muscle growth dramatically.

2. Better form and less injuries: You use less weight with the workout, so you can focus on your form while lifting and reduce the likelihood of injury.

3. You won’t get bored: It’s a workout that you will NOT get bored of, thanks to its excellent variety.

4. Recruit more muscle fibres: Performing a lot of reps on compound movements will recruit a lot of muscle fibres in just one exercise compared to isolation movements.

German Volume Training 1

How to do German Volume Training

There are four key points to consider in order to effectively follow the German Volume Training method: weight selection, tempo, reps & rest.

1. Weight selection

To effectively follow the German Volume Training method, first select a weight that is roughly 60% of your 1RM (1 rep max) load. For example, if you can bench press 200 pounds, you will use 120 pounds for this exercise. In theory, you should be able to lift this weight for 20 reps, reaching failure on the last rep.

With this weight, you will do one exercise per body part, but 10 sets on that one exercise.

2. Tempo

The tempo is 4 seconds to lower, no pause at the bottom, and 2 seconds to lift. For biceps, triceps, and other individual body parts, the tempo is 3 seconds to lower, no pause, and two seconds to lift.

3. Reps & Rest

You should complete 10 sets of 10 reps on each of the main exercises, with a 60 to 120-second rest interval between each set.

You only train each muscle group ONE day per week, as your muscles take longer to recover after this intense workout.

Sample German Volume Training Workout

Day 1: Chest and Back

  • 10 x 10 – Decline Bench Press
  • 10 x 10 – Chin-Up

Supplement with:

  • 3 x 10 – Face Pull
  • 3 x 10 – Incline Bench Press
  • 3 x 10 – Cable Lat Pulldown

Day 2: Legs and Abs

  • 10 x 10 – Back Squat
  • 10 x 10 – Hamstring Curl

Supplement with:

  • 3 x 10 – Leg Raise
  • 3 x 10 – Calf Raise

Day 3: Rest

Day 4: Arms and Shoulders

  • 10 x 10 – Parallel Bar Dips
  • 10 x 10 – Dumbbell Curls

Supplement with:

  • 3 x 15 – Resistance Band Pull Apart
  • 3 x 10 – Lying Rear Delt Fly
  • 3 x 10 – Seated Dumbbell Shoulder Press

Day 5: Rest

German Volume Training - Dips

Summary

You should definitely consider German Volume Training if you want to build muscle fast or you have hit a plateau with your training.

Here are the key points to consider when following a GVT programme:

  • Weight: 60% of your 1-rep-max
  • Tempo: 4-0-2 (eccentric-pause-concentric) for the 10 sets of 10, 2-0-2 for the supplementary sets
  • Rest: 90 seconds between 10 x 10s, but only 60 seconds in the supplementary sets
  • Recovery: stick to training each body part only once every 5 days to give it adequate recovery time