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German Volume Training

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German Volume Training

Is your training stuck in a rut? Desperate for an intense routine that will blast your body into new levels of mass and strength? Be careful what you wish for…because German Volume Training is your dream come true, and your worst nightmare.

Never has there been one bodybuilding routine so simple to understand, yet capable of delivering devastating results.

Basics. There is nothing complex about German Volume Training, but don’t let that fool you. Here are the basics…

  1. 10×10. Pick an exercise, and perform 10 sets of 10 reps. For smaller bodyparts, such as arms, calves and abs, perform 3 sets of 10 reps.
  2. Rest. Rest only 60-90 seconds between each set. For hardcore exercises such as squat, a 90 second rest is needed. For less taxing exercises, such as bicep curls, 60 second rests are preferable.
  3. Weight. Begin the program by using 50-60% of your one rep maximum (1RM) for each exercise. This weight might seem extremely light, until you actually perform the workout.

Workouts. German Volume Training workouts are simple and straightforward.

  1. Frequency. Workout only 3 times per week. Day 1 is for chest and back, day 2 is for legs and abs, and on day 3 you train shoulders and arms.
  2. Exercises. Stick with heavy compound exercises, such as squats, bench press, overhead barbell press, etc.
  3. Progression. When you can complete 10 sets of 10 reps with a given weight, use 5 % more during your next workout.
  4. Fudge. Don’t fudge with this template. German Volume Training is all about simplicity. Try it for 4-6 weeks. It is not unusual for lifters to smash through plateaus and add more than 5 pounds of mass during this time.

German Volume TrainingThe Routine.

  • Monday. Back and chest. Pick one exercise for back, and one for chest. Perform 10 sets of 10 reps for each.
  • Tuesday. Rest day.
  • Wednesday. Legs, calves and abs. Perform 10 sets of 10 reps for legs, preferably barbell squats. For calves and abs, perform 3 sets of 10 (plus) reps, using the same rest pattern of 60-90 seconds.
  • Thursday. Rest day.
  • Friday. Shoulders and arms. Pick an exercise for shoulders, and perform 10 sets of 10 reps. Dumbbell or barbell overhead pressing will provide the most effective results. For biceps and triceps, perform 3 sets of 10 (plus) reps, using the same rest pattern of 60-90 seconds.
  • Weekend. Rest days.

Expect some intense muscle soreness, and amazing results.

Steve Shaw
Steve Shaw is the primary content manager for Muscle and Brawn. Questions? Please visit the forum.
  • blue Oct 8,2012 at 12:59 am

    I actually prefer doing chest and tris on the same day, back and bis on the same day, and legs and shoulders on the same day.

    That way you can just superset curls with compound back exercises to get killer bicep pump and really blast them. Same thing with pecs and tris.

  • butcher Feb 20,2012 at 1:00 pm

    The 10×10, 8×8, 5×5 etc, are all arbitrary, there no science behind them. In my first year of training i used these high volume approach’s with little in the way of results. It wasn’t until i switched to high intensity training, using just one set to failure that i seen results, my size and strength went up in leaps and bounds (and have continued to over the last 12 years.

    As Mike Mentzer stated, the greater the intensity, the greater the growth stimulus……

  • butcher Feb 20,2012 at 12:53 pm

    the 10×10 or 8×8 or whatever are all arbitrary, it is intensity that stimulates growth, not volume, i trained with volume for the first 1 year of my training, with little to show it. When i switched to high intensity training, using one all out set to failure per movement my strength and size went up in leaps and bounds.


  • brian Feb 4,2012 at 5:20 am

    Gvt is awesome after two week already peeked past my chest and arms. The legs have completely helped increase power

  • Mick Madden Oct 18,2010 at 3:28 pm

    @ Lee,

    I’ve never trained deadlifts with a 10×10, but with your experience I think it would be a very effective approach. My best advice would be to try and see what happens.

    My primary concern is leg soreness from squat day. My legs were very sore on GVT to the point where I don’t think i could have deadlifted.

    I would play it be ear and see how you feel.

  • lee Oct 17,2010 at 10:11 am

    just started gvt and iam a powerlifter. is it ok to do deadlifts for my back workout? or should i stay away form them for a few weeks?? thanks.

  • Mick Madden Sep 16,2010 at 1:11 pm

    @ Kris,

    I won’t argue with that at all. I’m a bit older and am pretty much spent after a 10×10.

  • Kris Sep 14,2010 at 10:44 pm

    Mick, not necessarily. You can do, for example, bicep 10×10 once you’re done with shoulders (if you’re doing the split outlined in the article) if you really have it in you to keep going. Triceps, I can see why you’d do 3 sets because Shoulders hit them well already, but like I said, it all depends on how much you have left in the tank once you’re done with your main body part.

  • Mick Madden Jul 28,2010 at 12:15 pm

    Hi Sebas,

    You perform 10 sets of 10 reps for one exercise before moving to the next. You also perform all of your 10×10 work before performing smaller body parts for 3 sets.

  • Sebas Jul 28,2010 at 6:47 am

    or u have to do:
    benche press 10*10 (60-90 sec rest)
    Incline flies (3*10) (60 sec rest)

    Chins up 10*10 (60-90 sec rest)
    One-Arm Dumbbell Rows ( (60 sec rest)

  • Sebas Jul 28,2010 at 6:39 am

    Someone could explain me this a lit bit more?
    Let me see if i got this work out the idea is to do like for example:

    1*10 benche press rest 90 sec

    1*10 chins up rest 90 sec

    until you finish the work out and then do the suplementary work out??

  • MuscleRipper Jun 22,2010 at 8:58 pm

    I am currently doing the GVT and love it! You get such a deep soreness from it. I know it’s working you can feel the muscle being worked from every aspect. It is hitting every fiber there.. It’s hitting slow twitch and fast twitch!!

  • Bernard Jun 14,2010 at 8:20 pm


    Can you do GVT jsut for certain body parts. I have had great success using GVT for my entire body in the past. I would like increase the mass in my Back/Shoulders/Biceps specifically. Has anyone used this approach? I’m guessing it will still be effective.

    Any comments would be appreciated

    • Mick Madden Jun 14,2010 at 10:20 pm

      Sure, you could do GVT for one, or several bodyparts.

  • Gareth oconnell Mar 8,2010 at 7:57 am

    Hi Martin, while i respect your hard work in the gym, if you carry on with the current workout load you will soon be faced with burnout as you are allready overtraining, the gains you have made are already proving to me you are facing atrophy rather than hypertrophy and you are heavily taxing your neural capabilities.

  • Martin Berry Nov 23,2009 at 2:48 am

    I have completed 9 weeks of the German volume training but I have added a twist to the routine. For the first week, I maintained the prescribed method of the workout by using one weight for ten sets and one secondary movement thereafter. Starting week two is when I added a twist. Here is the workout I have adopted scince week one:
    Day 1: Chest / Triceps
    Set Weight Reps
    Incline Bench Press 1 135 10
    2 140 10
    3 145 10
    4 150 10
    5 155 10
    6 160 10
    7 165 10
    8 170 10
    9 175 10
    10 180 10
    Flat Bench flyes 1 45 10
    2 50 10
    3 55 10
    4 60 10
    Dips 4 X 10
    Cable Crossovers 4 X 10

    Day 2: Legs / Biceps
    Front Squats 1 135 10
    2 145 10
    3 155 10
    4 165 10
    5 175 10
    6 185 10
    7 190 10
    8 195 10
    9 200 10
    10 205 10
    Hack Squats 1 90 10
    2 180 10
    3 270 10
    4 360 10
    Leg Press 4 X 10 (Adding 90lbs. each set)
    Leg Ext. 3 X 15
    Leg Curls 3 X 15
    Still-legged deads 3 X 15
    Calf Press 3 X 15
    Seated Calf raise 3 X 15
    Head Bangers 5 X 10 (add 5lbs each set)
    Push Downs 5 X 10 (add 5lbs each set)
    Barbell Curls 1 40 10
    2 45 10
    3 50 10
    4 55 10
    Preacher Curls 4 X 10
    Reverse Curls 4 X 10
    Wrist Curls 4 X 20

    Day 3 Shoulders / Back
    Setted Military Press 1 135 10
    2 140 10
    3 145 10
    4 150 10
    5 155 10
    6 160 10
    7 165 10
    8 170 10
    9 175 10
    10 180 10
    Barbell Shrugs 1 225 10
    2 275 10
    3 315 10
    4 325 10
    5 350 10
    6 365 10
    7 375 10
    8 385 10
    9 395 10
    10 405 10
    Dumbell Laterals 3 X 15
    Front Laterals 3 X 15
    Rear Laterals 3 X 15
    T Bar Row 5 X 10 (add 45lbs. each set)
    Cable pulldowns 5 X 10 (add 15lbs each set)
    Dumbell Pullovers 3 X 10
    30 minutes of abs each day of weight training
    **** After day 3, day 4 is rest day concerning weight training but 60 minutes of cardio.
    **** Days 5 through 6
    Same routine but cut reps down to 5 reps per 10 sets and add 10 pounds
    between sets.
    Now don’t tell me this will not work; I’m 45 years old and in the best shape I’ve ever been in. In a workout like this, “WILL” means everything. I eat a balanced diet and supplement with a daily multi vitamin and EAS protein drinks twice a day.

    When I started this routine I was 247lbs at 27% body fat. Now I’m 212 at 14% body fat and I’ve gained about an inch on my arms, thighs,calves, and neck plus I can see considerable size in my chest while reducing my waist from a +38 to a -33.

    Give this a try…If you get through it, you’ll see it. Trust me.

  • 6 Intense Workout Routines Oct 24,2009 at 2:27 am

    […] German volume training is the very definition of an intense workout. Instead of performing a set, taking a long rest, and knocking out another, German volume training has you perform 10 total sets – with only 60 to 90 seconds of rest between each set. Sounds relatively easy, doesn’t it? […]

  • […] German volume training is the very definition of an intense workout. Instead of performing a set, taking a long rest, and knocking out another, German volume training has you perform 10 total sets – with only 60 to 90 seconds of rest between each set. Sounds relatively easy, doesn’t it? […]

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