Back in the day eastern European weightlifters would employ a training method, today labelled as German Volume Training (GVT) by mastermind and world leading strength and conditioning true life guru, Charles Poliquin. At first glance the protocol seems simple, possibly too easy. You couldn’t be more wrong though, with the correct application the results flow and the challenge of GVT becomes apparent about 25% of the way into the workout. Simply put, GVT follows a simple pattern –
Same weight (approximately 60-65% 1RM)
60-90 seconds rest between sets
On paper is seems simple yet the success rate in regards to adding muscle size is pretty impressive. Charles Poliquin reckons that ‘’weightlifters wold routinely go up a class in weight after a 6 week off-season’’ using GVT with gains over 3kg in lean muscle mass not uncommon. The volume is the focal point of this training method opposed to outright, DY (Dorian Yates) style intensity. The first 2-3 sets won’t feel overly tough, you might even be led into a false sense of security that the entire workout will be fairly easy. However, the reality of it is that after the first couple of sets the going will get tough!! The idea is to help stimulate high threshold motor units with the volume used. As the workout comes to the final couple of sets the intensity will increase as well, further aiding this goal.
After a 4-6 week phase of using GVT you could say that the ‘’accumulation’’ phase, reaching a point of nearly over training has happened. This is when switching to lower volume, heavy lifting will yield the best results in terms of strength and muscle size. A word of caution, exclusively using GVT can and will lead to over training so use it sparingly, as a tool to get out of a rut when you hit that dreaded brick wall.
Applying GVT to your training regime could be one of the best things you ever did, try this following 4 day split and see if over a 4 week period you notice any results. Before we get into it, aim to increase the weight used for each exercise by 4-6% every week!
Workout 1 – Flat dumbbell press Weighted dips
Workout 2 – Wide grip pull ups Seated dumbbell curls
Day off –
Workout 3 – Standing military press Seated calf raises Day off –
Workout 4 – Squats
As a final note, repetition tempo is extremely important if GVT is going to work for you. With an explosive, fast concentric phase aim to use a 4 second negative every rep. What are you waiting for, get in the driving seat and take GVT for a test drive!