German bodybuilders have a reputation for being large, well-defined and for their ability to put on muscle very efficiently. This is likely due to many different lifestyles and weightlifting decisions, but many experts believe some of their success is because of German Volume Training.
This special training technique is designed to help weightlifters put on large amounts of muscle fast and to supercharge the progress of even a seasoned bodybuilder. It’s unknown whether this training technique originated in Germany or not, but there are many well-known strength coaches that have used the technique, many from Germany.
That’s what led Charles Poliquin to name the training technique the German Volume Training program. Below we’ll go into detail about how German Volume Training works and overview a well-tested program as well.
What is German Volume Training?
German Volume Training is a special lifting routine that pushes lifters to do a series of lifts for 10 sets each. This massive volume of lifting pushes the muscles to break down and grow to dramatic levels and leads to serious mass gains. There are many different programs, and nailing down the best German Volume Training program is likely impossible, but we’ll look more closely at a leading program below.
With this training technique, you’ll be pushing out 10 sets of each exercise during your workouts to really push your muscles to their limits. The trick to avoiding overtraining problems and injuries is to only go through six cycles of your different workouts before stopping for at least six months. Since each cycle should take about five days this program can be completed in a single month.
Preparing for GVT
German Volume Training is an intense activity and a commitment to be in some serious discomfort for a full month. That means that you should prepare to deal with loads of muscle soreness during your off time. You should invest in some Epsom salts, muscle rollers, lots of ice packs and prepare to really take the time to stretch out and work hard on recovery to help keep your muscles in shape throughout the period.
Also, prepare to sleep and eat more than usual. While going through training it’s important to take in more calories to facilitate that muscle growth, and you’ll need more sleep at night to encourage muscle growth and repair. If you do all of these things you’ll enjoy the biggest set of benefits from your training efforts.
Let’s Get into the Program
Monday (Chest and Back Day)
Incline DB Press – 10 sets of 10 reps (60 seconds rest between sets)
Wide-Grip Lat Pull Down – 10 sets of 10 reps (60 seconds rest between sets)
Flat Bench Press – 3 sets of 8 to 10 reps (90 to 120 seconds rest between sets)
Neutral Grip T-Bar Row – 3 x 8 to 10 reps (90 to 120 seconds rest between sets)
Tuesday (Rest Day)
Don’t do any sort of workout on this day, take the time to rest your body. This is an essential step and will do more to help you build muscle than anything else.
Wednesday (Shoulders And Arms)
Standing Overhead Press – 10 sets of 10 reps (60 seconds rest between sets
Lateral raises – 3 sets of 10 reps (90 seconds rest between sets)
Reverse Flyes – 3 sets of 10 reps (90 seconds rest between sets)
Standing barbell curl – 10 sets of 10 reps (60 seconds rest between sets)
Tricep Cable Pushdowns – 10 sets of 10 reps (60 seconds rest between sets)
Thursday (Another Rest Day)
Legs And Calves
Back squats – 10 sets of 10 reps (60 seconds rest between sets)
45 degree leg press – 3 sets of 8 to 10 reps (90 to 120 seconds rest between sets)
Romanian Deadlifts – 3 sets of 10 reps (90 to 120 seconds rest between sets)
Standing Calf Raises – 10 sets of 10 reps (60 seconds rest between sets)
Rest again before starting back on the first day once again.
Repeat this circuit of workout and rest days for a total of 6 times to go through the full program.
Get the Weight Right
To make the most of German Volume Training it’s important to lift the proper amount of weight for each of the different lifts. I recommend moving about 60% of your single max rep weight for each of the lifts in the program. What starts off as easy will become gruellingly difficult over the course of the workout. If you’re able to complete the full workout without falling short on reps on any of the 10 sets, raise the weight you lift by 4% to 5% the following day that you must repeat the weight amount for best results. Do this each time you’re successful, and maintain the same weight when you aren’t.
Track Everything Meticulously
In order for this intense training program to work right, you must track all the details with care every time you start lifting. Mark down all your lift weights, your completed reps and use a timer to time each of your rest periods to make sure you aren’t slowing down. Make notes whenever a lift becomes too difficult so adjustments can be made for future workouts.
Get the Right Tempo
Lifting at the right pace is another important detail that can’t be skipped. Long lifts like squats should take four seconds during the upward lift and two seconds while dropping down. Take care to avoid pausing at the top or the bottom of each rep for maximum effectiveness. For shorter lifts, such as a curl, the lifting phase should take 3 or 2 seconds and the drop phase should take 2 seconds to maintain intensity.
Best German Volume Training Program Take Away
There’s no guarantee that German Volume Training will work to help you put on a huge amount of muscle, but there are many people that have gone through a similar program with effective results.
The key to getting the most out of the program is to sleep and eat enough as well as really pushing hard during each workout. It’s a tough program and not something that every lifter will be able to go through, but for those that stick with it, it’s an excellent way to push through plateaus and to achieve muscle and strength gains once again.
This isn’t a program for new lifters though, so take your time and work up to a strength and fitness level where this sort of program makes sense before committing to it.
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