German volume training (GVT) is a fantastic style of training you can incorporate into your programme for a switch up. It’s also very beneficial if you’ve hit a plateau or if you’re struggling to gain mass.
Putting it simply, it is 10 sets, of 10 reps, with one minute rest between sets, of any movement. Compound is best, such as bench press, squat, leg press, overhead press and barbell row. You would choose one of the exercises in your daily workout to perform this 100-rep style set.
You need to start at a weight you can perform 20 reps, with full range of movement. For example, using the squat as your exercise of choice – after warming up, set up the bar with a weight about 60% rep max (or a weight you can perform 20 reps with).
You will need a timer or stopwatch. Perform 10 reps ensuring full range of movement with each rep. Rack the bar and immediately set the timer for 1 minute. Once the minute is up, you are straight back under the bar performing the second set of 10 reps, and so on.
You will find the first few sets fairly easy, but once you come under pressure, that minute’s rest will seem to fly by way too fast and you will be struggling to complete the last few sets.
This style of training will test your strength, stamina and cardiovascular fitness. It will force your body to learn how to recover quickly in order to perform the next set. It will force blood and oxygen into the muscle faster than the lactic acid can be cleared, giving you incredible pumps.
Once you’ve got to the stage where you can complete the whole set of 10 at a particular weight, then you will increase the weight for the next session.
Example chest workout
- Warm up: Press-ups – 20 reps x 4 sets
- Bench press: 20 reps x 2 sets (warm up sets at a moderate weight)
- Bench press: GVT – 10 x 10 (20RM/ 60%RM)
- Dumbbell chest flyes – 10 reps x 4 sets
- Cable cross-overs – 10 reps x 4 sets
Example legs workout
- Warm up: Superset leg extensions and leg curls – 20 reps x 2 sets
- Goblet squat: To warm up ankles and hips, 20 reps x 4 sets
- Legs press: Warm up, 20 reps x 2 sets
- Leg press: GVT – 10 reps x 10 sets (20RM/ 60%RM)
- Squats – 10reps x 4 sets
- Walking lunges – 20 steps x 4 sets
You may find that you can’t complete sets 8, 9 or 10 and can only achieve 8 reps, for example, before resting. Make a note so that you can aim to improve on rep range at your next attempt with the same weight.