German Volume Training Routine By Mike Westerdal of CriticalBench.com
You've got to love the Germans. They've always been famous for innovation, their cars, their engineering and their design. And now they're becoming famous for their super pumping weightlifting routines. Yes, they've done it again—found a way to take a process and make it better. The great thing here though is their improvement is not all that complicated. It's just painful. Advocates of the German Volume Training (GVT) routine tout it is a phenomenal strategy for busting out of a rut or have hit a particularly nasty plateau. GVT faithful says it's an unbeatable way to shock your muscles into high growth overdrive. Let's take a look.
German Volume Training was developed sometime during the mid-70s. The method was used by weightlifters in Germany during the off-season to help them gain lean body mass. It was popularized by a weightlifting coach named Rolf Feser.
At first glance I can say I like what I see. The overall concept is pretty basic and easy to grasp. There are no complicated forms, charts or graphs and you don't have to learn any very complicated or dangerous moves. The basic GVT concept is based on three primary principles:
1. One exercise per body part: Yep, it's that simple. Unlike most routines where you perform three to five different exercises per body part, with GVT it's just one simple exercise. But, there's a caveat—it can't be just any old exercise. The selection of the limited number of exercises you'll perform each week is critical if you expect to meet with any degree of success. You'll particularly want to focus on compound movements that recruit multiple muscle groups. Limit or avoid isolation exercises to maximize GVT's impact on muscle gains.
2. Super high reps: For the one exercise you'll be doing for each body part, you will perform ten sets of ten for a total of 100 reps. Because you'll be performing a high number of reps you'll need to lift about 50% - 60% of your one-rep max. At first, you may find it difficult to do 10 sets of 10 so just do as many as you can for each set. When you are able to do 10 sets of 10, you can increase the weight by 5-10 pounds next time.
3. Rest-pause: Because of the high intensity of GVT, you'll want to rest a full 60 seconds between sets. When doing squats you can increase the rest period between sets to a full 90 seconds. When you first start out using GVT the weight may feel really light, but resist the urge to cut back the rest period or start out using heavier weight. It may be easy for first 6-7 sets but by the time you get to 8, 9 and 10, it will be a lot more difficult.
GVT is based on a three-day weekly routine. The workouts are broken down into three categories:
Based on this, you would do chest, shoulders and triceps on day one; back, biceps and abs on day two; and quads, hamstrings and calves on day three. There is a one-day rest period between workouts as well as on days six and seven. Because of the high intensity of GVT, it is okay to lower the number of reps and sets you do for both triceps and biceps.
Because it is so intense, you definitely want to stick with simple exercises--stay away from complicated movements. Also remember to focus on compound exercises, not isolation. Here are some GVT routine options to get you started:
Day two: Back (pull-ups; t-bar row; lat pull-downs); Biceps (one-arm curls; barbell curls; preacher curls); Abs (ab curls; leg lifts)
Day three: Quads (squats; leg press); Hamstrings (leg curl; deadlifts); Calves (standing calf raises, seated calf raises).
You can of course choose whatever exercises best work for you but it is recommended that you stick with the same routine throughout the GVT period, which generally runs from four to six weeks. This isn't meant to be a year-round program so you don't need to worry about your muscles getting too accustomed to the routine. Besides, you'll be blasting them so hard, they won't have a chance to get used to anything except pain. If you're looking for something different to shake things up and give your muscles a powerful, growth-inducing shock, then you ought to consider trying German Volume Training.