How German Volume Training Can Add More Muscle And Strength

German volume training (GVT) is a high volume, high intensity no b.s. training program. If you’re looking for a way to break through a strength plateau, or just want to start a new training protocol and stack some major gains, then GVT could be exactly what you’re looking for. But how does German volume training stack up against other strength and hypertrophy training programs? We’re going to talk specifics about German Volume Training, how it works, and how effective it really is.

What Is German Volume Training 

In the mid 70’s, German National Weightlifting coach, Rolf Feser, implemented a high volume and intense training program, to give his lifters more strength and a competitive edge. That training protocol became known as German Volume Training (GVT). Charles Poliquin, a Canadian strength training coach, author, and fitness instructor, brought attention to the brutal and effective training method, to help build more strength and muscle mass to his clients in the late 1990’s.

German Volume Training (GVT) is characterized by high volume, high intensity workouts with minimal rest intervals. Honestly, it’s one of the most challenging and brutal training protocols out there. Not only is it physically challenging, but it’s also mentally challenging. German volume training, also referred to as the 10×10 method, is performed by focusing on 1-2 specific exercises, with a protocol of 10 reps, for 10 sets, at 60% of your max effort. With traditional volume training, you’ll see a training protocol, that has 5-6 sets at most. But with GVT, you’re loading heavy weight for a hard-hitting 10 sets, with 60-90 second rest intervals. That’s

How Does German Volume Training Work

German volume training is built around a distinct workout structure

Training Split: The training split consists of three days over a five-day period, for six cycles for a total of 30 days. Considering the training volume, rest days will be crucial. You can either train 3 days on 2 days off or have a rest day between each training day.

Volume: Each exercise will consist of 100 reps, at 60% of your max effort. The first few sets will feel easy; however, you will start to feel extreme fatigue after sets 7-8. That means you’ll be hitting 400 reps, every training day.

Exercises: Training will consist of four exercises, split into exercises 1A – B, and 2A – B. Sticking with compound movements, such as deadlift and squats, will ensure you effectively train multiple muscle groups as opposed to isolation movements. Training splits can follow a normal bodybuilding structure (I.e. Back and Biceps, Chest and Triceps, Legs and Shoulders) or however you’d like to split muscle groups. You can also implement a push-pull structure, lower and upper body days etc.

Rest Intervals: Rest intervals will consist of 60-90 seconds between sets, with a 4-0-2 tempo, meaning it will take 4 seconds on the concentric phase, and 2 second on the eccentric phase. The short rest interval is what makes this training program brutal. The weight will seem light at first. But will only 60 seconds of rest between sets your muscles are going to be very fatigued.

German Volume Training Splits  

Let’s talk about splits because they can be confusing. Training splits will really depend on how you want to train. There is no right or wrong split, whether that’s upper/lower body split, traditional muscle group split, or push/pull legs split. An example of a workout could be

 Day 1




Shoulder Press

Lateral Raise


 Day 2


Lat Pull Down

Seated Row

Preacher Curls

Dumbbell Curls


 Day 3


Bench Press

Pec Flys

Tricep Push Down

Narrow Tricep Pushup

Does German Volume Training Work

We know that GVT has a ton of volume and that it’s extremely challenging. But what does the science say? Is German Volume Training more effective than other training methodologies?

A small study published in the Journal of Strength and Conditioning, investigated the effects of a modified German Volume Training On Muscle Hypertrophy And Strength.

19 healthy male participants were randomly assigning to 6 weeks of 10 or 5 sets of 10 repetitions for specific compound resistance exercises included in a split routine performed 3 times per week. 

Across groups over the six weeks, there was a significant increase in lean body mass, however, greater increases in lean body mass were found amongst the 5 set groups. The study concluded that GVT program is no more effective than performing 5 sets per exercise for increasing muscle hypertrophy and strength.

A similar study published in the 2018, investigated the effect of a 12-week modified German Volume Training intervention, or the 10 sets method, on muscle strength and hypertrophy. 12 healthy male participants were randomly assigned to either a 5-SET or 10-SET group and performed 5 or 10 sets, respectively, of 10 repetitions at 60–80% one-repetition maximum (1RM). After 12 weeks, no significant changes were seen in strength and lean muscle mass amongst groups. However, a decrease in lean leg mass was observed within the 10-SET group between six and 12 weeks [R].

German Volume Training: Takeaway

German volume training like other resistance training protocols, will help build more mass and strength. One of the most critical variables in building more muscle and bodybuilding is volume. Load and intensity will also dictate the rate of muscle protein synthesis, helping build more mass. Compared to other training programs, more volume and less rest between sets will help burn more body fat and increase lean muscle mass, to help with a more defined aesthetic. My take, try it out. See how well your body adapts. It’s also fun to change things up.

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