German Volume Training For Serious Mass

When trying to increase muscle mass there are few training methods that are proven to work as well as German Volume Training (also known in the world of Strength and Conditioning as the “ten sets method”.) Believed to have been founded in Germany in the mid 70’s and later popularised by the National Coach of Weightlifting Rolf Feser, it’s now used by strength athletes and bodybuilders the world over. Here we explore how GVT could be used in your workouts to add muscle mass.

Training Principles:

Pick 1 Exercise Per Muscle: Essentially the program works by targeting a group of motor units, exposing them to an extensive volume of repeated efforts, specifically, 10 sets of a single exercise. This forces the body to adapt to the huge amount of stress it’s put under by hypertrophying the targeted fibres (put simply, the muscles get bigger and stronger to cope with the stress.) It’s important to choose a large compound movement for each body part (e.g. bench for chest, squat for legs.

Perform 100 reps: For each one of these exercises, you will be performing 10 sets of 10 reps. Begin with 50% – 60% of your one rep max and aim to perform each rep with strict form. There is no need to train to failure, use forced reps or negatives since German Volume Training is taxing enough on the body.

Tempo: Since you are performing such long-range movements (such as dips, squats, bench and chin ups) try using the 4-0-2 tempo, this is basically where you lower the weight for 4 seconds and then straight away begin lifting the weight for 2 seconds.
Rest: Whilst there are many variations of this type of training, experts tend to agree that 60-90 seconds is the perfect amount of time between sets. Any less than 60 seconds and you may find you have to drop the weight since your muscles aren’t being given enough time to recover.

Incremental Changes: Once you are able to do 10 sets of 10, with strict form, 60-90 seconds of rest and the perfect 4-0-2 tempo, try increasing the weight you lift by 5% and repeat the entire process.

Since German Volume Training puts such a lot of stress on the body, it’s important that you stick to a strict routine and resist the urge put superset or throw in isolation moves. One of the most popular routines is as follows:

Day 1: Chest and Back

Day2: Rest Day

Day 3: Legs and Abs


Day 4: Rest Day

Day 5: Shoulders and Arms

Day 6: Rest Day

Day 7: Rest Day

About Steph 768 Articles
I'm a 1st Dan Black Belt & certified coach in Japanese Atemi Ju Jitsu, have trained in BJJ and Muay Thai and currently train in CSW (Combat Submission Wrestling) at MCKG under Mel Corrigan. I love to compete and have medalled at openweight events. I've a total appreciation for all martial arts and always eager to learn new techniques!

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