German Volume Training (GVT) will shock your body into gaining lean muscle mass with its ability to place vast amounts of stress onto one motor unit (group of muscle fibres).
Developed in Germany in the 70s, German volume training (GVT) was taken up by national weightlifting coach Rolf Feser and used primarily in the off-season to bulk athletes up, increasing their lean body mass.
“…WORLD RENOWNED FOR PROMOTING HYPERTROPHY…”
GVT is sometimes called the ‘Ten Sets Method’ the workout consisting of 10 sets of 10 repetitions, with minimal rest between sets. Used by Olympic weightlifters and professional bodybuilders, GVT is world renowned for promoting hypertrophy; this means increasing cell size of skeletal muscle. Highly recommended by one of the most successful strength coaches, Charles Poliquin – GVT has been used time and time again for over 40 years in building muscle mass effectively in short time frames.
Over a 6 week period the goal is to complete 10 sets of 10 reps with 60% of your one rep max (1RM), due to cumulative fatigue this will take some weeks to accomplish!
Why it works.
“GVT places extraordinary stress on the same muscle fibres…”
GVT works by recruiting the same motor units every set so as to place the greatest stress on muscle fibres leading to maximum muscle growth. Using one compound exercise the 10 rep range ensures the maximum hypertrophy benefits by training the same group of motor units with a large amount of volume. This means the exercise and angle stays the same for 10 sets putting extraordinary stress on the SAME muscle fibres.
How to use GVT.
Pick one compound lift for each GVT section of your workout, the focus for each session should be on one muscle group. For example ‘bench press day’, here you use the bench press to carry out GVT before moving on to the rest of the session.
The aim is to complete 10 sets of 10 reps with a weight roughly 60% of your 1 rep max for the compound lift, so if your 1RM is 100kg for the bench press, shoot for 10 sets with 60kg. Ideal rest between sets is short at only 90 seconds, which further challenges your recovery time.
For the majority of lifters, 10 reps consistently every set will be very challenging, cumulative fatigue may only allow for 4 – 6 reps in the last few sets. If this is the case don’t worry, you are aiming to get 10 reps, but if you fail before that point your muscles have succeeded in being sufficiently fatigued so stop, rest and move on to the next set.
After completing the GVT part in each workout, complete 1-2 more exercises on the SAME muscle group for 3 sets, 8-12 reps. This will ensure, firstly you are not overtraining – which is detrimental to muscle growth, and secondly that you stick to a hypertrophy rep range for the remainder of the workout.
Try GVT by rotating four different workouts with a specific focus for each.
Have a look at the sample workout and weekly plan below.
Sample bench-press day workout.
- Bench Press GVT – 10 x 10 rest 90s between sets.
- Incline Flyes – 3 x 12 rest 90s between sets.
- DB Shoulder Press – 3 x 12 rest 90s between sets.
Each GVT lift followed by two additional exercises on the same bodypart.
For this classic GVT plan, follow each training day with one rest day.
After completing the 6 days, start cycle again on ‘Day 1’ for 6 weeks.
- Day 1 – Squat Day GVT
- Day 2 – Bench Press GVT
- Day 3 – T-Bar Row GVT
FOR A FULL 9 WEEK GVT PROGRAMME visit our Let’s Train workouts page.
GVT may be the very thing you need to break your plateaus and gain MASS! But with such a high volume training plan, it’s important you feed your body for success. The post-workout window is the perfect time to replenish with vital nutrients. Make sure you’re taking on board a quality supply of protein and carbohydrates. A supplement like AFTERMATH™ is ideal, or for those looking for larger size gains, INFORMED MASS™ will deliver a greater calorie load.
Due to the high demands placed on the Central Nervous System, make sure you incorporate the alternate rest days between GVT sessions, as mentioned above. In addition, supplementing with Magnesium Bisglycinate can be beneficial. Magnesium plays an important part on neurotransmission at the synapse. This is where you need chemicals to either carry the impulse forward, or block the signal (in some instances this can be advantageous). In addition to neurotransmission, Magnesium is also important in the production of Dopamine – which can have a calming effect on the brain. It is important to stimulate CNS relaxation after German Volume Training, as the CNS takes a big whack from all the stimulation.
Dejan and Jonny are both fitness professionals stemming from a vast sporting background. Based in London they are the founders of ‘LetsTrain’ – an online, forward-thinking, fitness and nutrition resource.