German Volume Training 

One of the most physically and mentally challenging training methods to use while training in the gym, but if you are looking to pack on some serious muscle mass then this method is certainly worth trying out!

Originally used by the German Olympic Lifters in the 1970's during the offseason to put on some extra size to help go up a weight category. Coach Rolf Feser was the leader of this method and has recently been popularised by the great Charles Poliquin. 

The aim of the German Volume Training (GVT) is for the athlete to gain some lean body mass and muscle size. In its most basic format the athlete will perform 10 sets of 10 repetitions of one exercise using approximately 60% of the 1RM for every rep. By the last few sets if the athlete cant complete all 10 reps then drop the weight by 2.5 or 5kg so that all 10 reps can be completed. The rest periods are 60 seconds between each set. 

GVT is best performed on a major compound lift eg squat, deadlift, bench press and pull up. This method is a great way to get some serious volume into a specific lift, increasing muscle size and developing more efficient neuromuscular pathways, overall increasing the strength of the movement.

Beginner GVT program

A sample German Volume Training program at its most simplest form: 

* Pick one exercise (for this example we will use the Squat)

* Set up the bar and plates with the desired weight - approx 60% of 1RM and a timer for your rest periods

If I have a 1RM squat of 200kg then I will be completing the 10 reps with 120kg.

10 x 10  - Squat @120kg - 60 seconds rest


GVT variations 

Once you have mastered the beginner GVT workout then there are multiple ways in which you can play around with this training method. 

Combining Supersets and GVT together

Pair two exercises together - an agonist and antagonist (a push and a pull movement) eg. a Bench press (1RM = 120kg) and a Bench pull (110kg).

A1 - Bench Press - 10 x 10 @72kg

A2 - Bench Pull - 10 x 10 @66kg

60 seconds rest between each movement.


GVT workout session

To get a complete workout using the German Volume Training method one option you can use is by group three exercises all different muscle groups together eg Squat (1RM = 200kg) Pull up (BW) and Bench Press (1RM = 120kg)

A1 - Squat - 10 x 10 @ 120kg - 30 sec rest

A2 - Bench Press - 10 x 10@ 72kg - 30 sec rest

A3 - Pull up - 10 x 10 @ Body weight - 30 sec rest

Aim to complete a complex every 4 minutes.



German Volume Training can be a great method to add to your training routine. It is best used for a training block of 4 weeks, particularly during an offseason period where you are chasing some extra improvements in muscle size. Obvious improvements in muscle size, and motor pathways but due to the rest periods there are also some moderate cardiovascular effects

It is certainly a very demanding method and will cause some serious fatigue but the improvements are worth it! .