Ever heard of German Volume Training?

Guten Tag!

Nowadays, when it comes to “Ze Germans” there is little they get wrong. Let’s take the German national football team: Strong, reliable, efficient, they’re well drilled machines.

Then let’s take German automobiles: sturdy, reliable, efficient, they’re well built machines.

So when it comes to an exercise program, which originated in Germany, you can almost guarantee it’s going to....You guessed it. Be reliable, efficient and make you big and strong!

If lockdown has left you faced with minimal equipment, or minimal increments of weights, then this might just be for you. There’s no fancy equipment needed, no ridiculous exercises and no drastic changes of weights needed. Just simple, basic compound exercises.

The History:

Originating as the 10 sets method, It’s roots date

So What is it?

As the name suggests, there is VOLUME involved, roughly 100 reps per muscle group to be exact (now to achieve hypertrophy, there must be an increase in the VOLUME of an organ or its tissue cells - see where this is going?) The goal is to complete 10 sets of 10 reps on the same weight on ONE exercise (sounds simple right? Wait till you’ve tried it)

The idea is that you are asking a muscle group and it’s motor units for repeated effort and thus exposing them to repeated extraordinary volume.

How is it done?

Choose compound exercises for maximum gains in both size and strength. Think squats, rows, bench presses.

Choose a weight that is around 60% of your one rep max NOT A POUND HEAVIER! Starting too heavy will simply lead to failure. If you’re not sure of your one rep max. Select a weight you can perform for around 20 reps.

The method?

There are 2 ways to go about this training style.

1 - Superset antagonistic exercises (opposites) - E.g: 1 set of bench press into 1 set of bent over rows followed by rest, for 10 sets

2 - Sequential sets - 10 sets of bench press, followed by 10 sets of bent over rows (with rest between each set)

For method 1, you’ll give yourself 90 and ONLY 90s rest in between sets (following the 2 exercises)

For method 2, you’ll give yourself 60s rest between sets.


  • Don’t cheat. Set a timer and have STRICTLY 60/90s rest. This is essential for creating an increase in the level of lactate which, associated with anabolic hormonal stimulus will create the physiological adaptation that is muscle hypertrophy (size)

  • Use one exercise and only ONE per muscle group, ensure it’s a compound exercise.

  • Use a notepad to keep track of weight and sets and a timer to keep track of rest.

  • If you don’t hit 10 reps (it’s likely around set 5 you’ll start to fatigue) DO NOT compromise form, have a slight rest, shake it off and complete the remaining reps (it’s likely around set 7/8 you’ll become “stronger” or get a “second wind” due to neural adaptations taking place)

  • Once you’re able to complete a full 10 sets of 10 reps without any breaks during sets, it’s time to overload those muscles, increase the weight by 2.5-5% and go again!

  • REST! Let’s show you an example. 10 reps of 60kg = 600kg of volume moved in a set. Multiply this by 10 sets, that’s now 6000kg moved in one session PER BODY PART. It’s pivotal that you rest due to the volume of work muscles are being exposed to. Aim to hit the same body part once every 4-5 days.

Example GVT Program:

Day 1 - Legs

Squats - 10 reps, 10 sets, 60s rest, 4-0-2 tempo

RDL’s - 10 reps, 10 sets, 60s rest, 4-0-2 tempo

Day 2 - Back & Chest (superset)

Bent Over Row into Bench Press: 10 reps, 10 sets, 90s rest, 4-0-2 tempo

Day 3 - Shoulders & Trapezius

Overhead Press - 10 reps, 10 sets, 60s rest, 4-0-2 tempo

Upright Row - 10 reps, 10 sets, 60s rest, 4-0-2 tempo

Day 4 - Rest

Return to day 1

As you can see, exercises such as bicep curls, lateral raises and pec flys are all out. Isolation work can be done, but after the compound work is complete and should be kept to a minimum (2-3 sets of 10) as to not pre exhaust working muscles.

Give it a try and keep us posted with your progress.

Viel Glück und Auf Wiedersehen!

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