German Volume Training (GVT) is a good workout plan used by bodybuilders and powerlifters to overcome plateau in strength and mass gains. It was created in Germany in the 70s, although it gained popularity in 1996 thanks to Charles Poliquin and his article in “Muscle Media 2000” magazine. So what is GVT and what are its features?

Features of German Volume Training

10 Sets of 10 Reps

The main feature of GVT is that the athlete performs 10 sets of 10 repetitions for each exercise, thereby making about 100 hard reps. In addition, the weight of the apparatus (barbell or dumbbell) should be the same from the first to the last set. In order for you to be able to withstand all 10 sets, the weight must be appropriate from the very beginning. For example, you are going to do bench press. In this case, adjust the weight with which you achieve failure in the region of 20 repetitions. Or, if you know your 1RM, then load the bar by 60%. After completing the approach, the rest time should be about 60-90 seconds.

The Pace of Exercises

An important condition is also the pace of the exercise. The movement of the projectile during the exercise is divided into 3 phases – concentric, peak contraction and eccentric. Take bench press as an example. The trajectory of the bar from the top position to touching the chest is the eccentric phase of the movement, from the chest back up – concentric, in the upper position – peak contraction. Returning to the pace of the exercises, it should be noted that the eccentric phase should be slow (3-4 seconds), that is, the barbell should be lowered to the chest without haste. After touching her chest, you need to squeeze it up twice as fast. The same will apply to other exercises. For example, when squatting, you first go down with a barbell for four seconds, and then get up in two seconds.

exercises for gvt program

Use Multi-Joint Exercises

It should be remembered that when drawing up your own German Volume Training plan, not every exercise may be suitable. For 10 sets of 10 reps, choose multi-joint movements over isolation movements. For example, squats would be the best option for leg training, but not a leg extension with a machine, or for triceps it would definitely be better to do a close-grip bench press with rather than a dumbbell tricep extension.

Also, exercise for one muscle group should be one, since the volume of the load is already very large. This is another reason to choose multi-joint exercises that involve a lot of muscle fibers.

To work out additional muscle groups, you can add three sets of 10-12 repetitions per exercise to your split workout (we also choose one for one muscle group). I will give an example of a GVT program at the end of this article.

Forget about any intensification techniques while doing German Volume Training. The amount of work that your muscles will do is already very large, and it is more than enough for good hypertrophy. Aim for 10 sets of 10 reps with one weight. When you can do this, increase the weight by about 5% and try to work out with it.

german volume training program

German Volume Training Plan

This GVT program is based on the principle of supersets (exercises performed without rest, one after the other) for the muscles of the antagonists, that is, located parallel to each other and performing opposite actions in direction. For example, biceps and triceps, which are needed to flex and extend the arm, respectively. The pace of exercise performance: 4 and 3 seconds for the eccentric phase and 2 for the concentric one, for supersets 10×10 and 3×10-12, respectively. It should be performed for 6 weeks.

Read on to see what your weekly split will look like.

Monday: Chest and Back

  1. Superset: bench press + wide grip pull-ups; 10 sets of 10 reps, rest between supersets no more than 90 seconds.
  2. Superset: lying dumbbell flyes + seated cable row; 3 sets of 10-12 reps, rest between supersets no more than 60 seconds.

Tuesday: Legs and Abs

  1. Superset: barbell back squat + lying hamstring curl; 10 sets of 10 reps, rest between supersets no more than 90 seconds.
  2. Superset: crunches + standing calf raise with machine; 3 sets of 15-20 reps, rest between supersets no more than 60 seconds.

Thursday: Biceps, Triceps and Shoulders

  1. Superset: parallel bar dips + dumbbell bicep curl; 10 sets of 10 reps, rest between supersets no more than 90 seconds.
  2. Superset: dumbbell side lateral raise + dumbbell bent-over lateral raise; 3 sets of 10-12 reps, rest between supersets no more than 60 seconds.

After 6 weeks of this German Volume Training plan, the exercises should be changed to other exercises that use the same muscle groups. You also need to change the number of repetitions in 10 sets, that is, now you will not do 10 sets of 10 reps, but 6 reps. For example, for the first day, bench press could be replaced with incline bench press, and pull-ups could be replaced with lat pulldown. This version of the GVT program can be used up to the moment of plateau in the set of strength or mass.


German Volume Training (GVT) is a rather difficult type of workouts, which, if all principles are followed, gives very good results in terms of strength and muscle mass growth. For this reason, do not forget about proper nutrition: before training, you should definitely be loaded with slow carbohydrates (for example, you can consume 30-60 g of palatinose half an hour before training), and after that, to restore glycogen stores and improve anabolic effects, take a sufficient amount protein with carbohydrates (a weight gainer is great).

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