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German Volume Training Workout 101: How Powerlifters Train

Bodybuilding

German Volume Training Workout 101: How Powerlifters Train

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Today I’m going to break the ice around German Volume Training – a training regime used by powerlifters to gain muscle and get past your workout plateaus.

In fact, this is the same process that’s used by olympic lifters as well. It is considered as one of the most intense workout regimes ever designed.

But if you’re tired of the usual workout routine, not seeing significant gains in your muscles despite long hours in the gym then this volume training is something you should look at.

german volume training (g.v.t.) for serious muscle size

German Volume Training has its roots back in Germany dating as far back as in the 1940s. National weightlifting coaches introduced it to help some off-season weightlifters gain extra muscle and quickly lose accumulated fat.

However, it got popularity only after Charles Poliquin – a Canadian Strength Coach who founded Poliquin Performance and Strength Sensei. He trained numerous Olympic and professional athletes using the science of German Volume Training.

Most lifters opt for programs that keep the rep count at 8 or lower. It keeps muscles challenged and helps to release hypertrophy-stimulating hormones that are require to lift heavy loads. However, this training only focuses on general conditioning, fat loss and keeping lean. If you’re looking to gain SIZE and STRENGTH, this isn’t enough.

GVT comes in here – a training system to get BIG and STRONG. GVT comprises of doing 10 sets of 10 reps with slow tempo on the eccentric part of the lift with short rest periods of not more than 60-90 seconds based on the exercise you’re doing.

GERMAN VOLUME TRAINING (GVT)

  1. 10 SET METHOD
  2. TARGETS SPECIFIC MUSCLE GROUP
  3. HIGH VOLUME OF REPEATED SETS

Core Principles of German Volume Training

  1. One exercise per body part: You only have to train one body part with one exercise. Choose an exercise which is more taxing and affect the major muscle groups.
  2. More reps, No failures: Volume training starts with 10 sets of 10 repetitions each. This is one reason why you should not start with the maximum weight you can work with. You should start with half of that weight, because the large number of sets would become difficult to handle as you move on. You have to stay away from a failure set, and from taking support throughout the routine.
  3. Fixed resting time: When you are in between heavy exercises like squat, you should take 90 seconds of rest in between sets. For other relatively easier exercises, you should take only 60 seconds of rest. Keep in mind that you have to rest no more and no less. Resting less would make it difficult for you to go till the end and resting more would reduce the gain.

These core principles, also referred sometimes as the building blocks, are what differentiate volume training from any regular workout.

German Volume Training Schedule

To start with volume training, you don’t have to make many preparations. What’s important is to strictly follow a routine and stock up your diet with appropriate amount of calories.

You might see different training schedules on different websites relating to German Volume Training. All schedules could be based on the core-principles I shared above. They are only different with respect to the exercises they recommend.

If you are going to start with German Volume Training, it is important that you restrict the program to 5-6 weeks. After this you would find it difficult to carry on as this training method demands a lot from your body.

Essentially a training plan is split into 5 days:

  • Day 1 – Chest and Back
  • Day 2 – Legs and Abs
  • Day 3 – Rest Day
  • Day 4 – Arms and Shoulders
  • Day 5 – Rest Day

Once you are done with one 5 day cycle, you start it all over from the beginning. Originally, the volume training schedule included Arms and Shoulders on Day 2 while Legs and Abs were left for Day 4.

Over time, fitness experts modified this schedule because after the 2 days of exercise, your arms would become so sore that it would become difficult to even move.

In fact, doing Arms and Shoulders itself is difficult following the load they have taken on Day 1.

The rest days are very important because volume training is going to push your body to its limit. The rest day would let you pull yourself together and focus again.

You can also choose to put a rest day between Day 1 and Day 2 making it a six-day schedule.

There are a number of exercises that you can pick up during German Volume Training, however these are the exercises most fitness experts recommend:[1]

S.No

DAY

TARGET MUSCLE & EXERCISE

REPS

SETS

REST (seconds)

1 (A)

1

Chest and Back – Bench Press

10

10

90

1 (B)

1

Chest and Back – Chin Ups

10

10

90

2 (A)

1

Chest and Back – Incline Dumbbell Fly

3

12

60

2 (B)

1

Chest and Back – Seated Row

3

12-15

60

3 (A)

2

Legs and Abs – Squats

10

10

90

3 (B)

2

Legs and Abs – Leg Curls

10

10

90

4 (A)

2

Legs and Abs – Weighted Sit Ups

3

15

60

4 (B)

2

Legs and Abs – Calf Raises

3

15

60

5

3

REST DAY

6 (B)

4

Arms and Shoulders – Dips

10

10

90

6 (B)

4

Arms and Shoulders – Hammer Curls

10

10

90

7 (B)

4

Arms and Shoulders – Lateral Raises

3

15

60

7 (B)

4

Arms and Shoulders – Lying Side Laterals

3

15

60

8

5

REST DAY

You have to alternate between (A) and (B) till you complete the required sets. For example, on Chest and Back day, do a set of Bench Press and take 90 seconds of rest. Follow it with a set of Chin-ups and taking 90 seconds of rest, then start Bench Press again.

German Volume Training Dietvolume training

German Volume Training has no mention of a diet, but you will need a lot more energy than you usually consume in your diet.

Everyone going to the gym follows a diet plan. No matter whether you are there for weight loss or muscle-building, there would always be a diet.

Volume training in itself is going to eat up lot of your energy. When you are going through volume training regimen, it is important that you increase your calorie intake by at least a 1000 calories.

Put in a dozen bananas, 4-5 apples, 3-4 granola bars, an extra scoop of protein shake per day and you are good to go. This will give you enough energy to get through this grueling training regimen.

Eating bananas or apples during the workout is also a very good idea because they give you an instant boost of energy.

I recommend that you keep a bottle of glucose along your side during the workout and keep taking a sip every now and then. Glucose is the purest form of energy that we can consume and would keep replenishing your energy stock regularly.

Is German Volume Training Right For Me?

WAIT. Before starting any exercise schedule, you have to ask yourself these questions:

  • Why am I doing this?
  • Does the schedule fit my goals?

Once you have answered these questions, you would be able to pick up the schedule and stay committed to it.

So what is your goal?
If you are someone trying to lose weight, I am sorry this is not the program for you.

Are you someone whose muscle growth has slowed down?
If yes then you should go ahead and start. Because German Volume Training gives you the greatest muscle pump.

Are you beginner but want to get some muscle?
It is important that you BUILD STRENGTH first and then move on to BUILDING VOLUME.[2]

I hope you enjoyed reading the post and found it share-worthy. If you did, then comment below and share your new-found info with your friends.

References:

[1] BAKER, Dan (2009). German volume training: an alternative method of high volume-load training for stimulating muscle growth. NSCA’s performance training journal, 8 (1), 10-13. (pdf) ^Back to Top^

[2] Marx JO, Ratamess NA, Nindl BC, Gotshalk LA, Volek JS, Dohi K, Bush JA, Gómez AL, Mazzetti SA, Fleck SJ, Häkkinen K, Newton RU, Kraemer WJ. Low-volume circuit versus high-volume periodized resistance training in women. Med Sci Sports Exerc. 2001 Apr;33(4):635-43. PubMed PMID: 11283441. ^Back to Top^

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