GAIN MUSCLE

German Volume Training: Force Muscle Growth With This 10×10 Program [With Spreadsheets]

by Nader Qudimat
Updated November 2, 2021
OVERVIEW
Goal
Hypertrophy
Experience Level
Intermediate to advanced level
Periodization
Follows a linear periodization.
Duration
4-8 weeks
Positives
Simple but demanding program
Lasts for 4-7 weeks (max)
Negatives 
Can easily lead to overtraining if used for too long

Bottom Line

German Volume Training is created by Charles Poliquin as a hypertrophy program.

It's designed to force muscle growth with high volume by 10×10 sets through small training cycles of 4 weeks.

This program is made to be run in a short time as it's highly intensive. 

According to Poliquin, gaining 10lbs in 6 weeks isn't uncommon as a result of this program. 

Even half that result would be impressive.

Make sure you make a copy of the spreadsheet. For how to save spreadsheet instructions on mobile, click here, or desktop, here. 

Click  Here For Spreedsheet 

The German Volume Training is an intensive program that forces muscle growth with high volume and short rest periods. 

It's designed to be run in a short period of time, so it's not recommended to sustain this type of intensity for longer than 4-7 weeks or it may lead to overtraining. 

The program consists of 2 phases, which both contain 3 workouts per week, but with phase 2, that's when exercises, reps and tempos are switched up. 

There are 2 versions of the GVT program, the latest variation is designed by Charles Poliquin in 2015 as a way to revisit and expand the program. 

While there is another variation done before 2015, including one done by Poliquin, there isn't one that is suppose to be the “best” and you can make any modifications that you see fit. 

German Volume Training Program Overview

You can find the program below.

The template is created by LiftVault, and the program is shared on StrengthSensei.com and Barbend.com

Here's the spreadsheet:

German Volume Training Spreadsheet

The original GVT program has two phases, Phase 1 and Phase 2.

If you use only one phase, the program would last the minimum 4 weeks. 

But using both phases will lengthen the program to 7 weeks, the maximum recommended run. 

The first phase will look like this:

  1. Chest & Back
  2. Legs & Abs
  3. Rest
  4. Arms & Shoulders
  5. Rest (end of cycle 1)
  6. Chest & Back (start of cycle 2)
  7. Legs & Abs

The cycle starts on a different day than the previous week, which will make each week's training days different than the previous because of the 5 day cycles. 

Each workout has 4 exercises, that are split by two groups, A and B.

A and B are superset groups: you do exercise A1, rest the pre-made time period, do exercise A2, rest again, and so on until 10 sets of A1 and A2 have been completed. 

You can perform A1 and A2 without rest but doing it this way means you would double the rest time between sets. 

Like do exercise A1, then A2, then rest the required time x2 before starting the next A superset. 

You can perform the exercises like this or you can do a true superset, it's up to you to choose.  

Tempo

Also every exercise has a tempo column.

A 4-0-4-0 tempo means:

  • Lower the weight for 4 seconds (eccentric)
  • No pause at the bottom or top of the lift (the bottom position)
  • Lift weight for 4 seconds (concentric)
  • No pause (top of lift)

The time under tension is important as controlling the eccentric portion of the lift has been shown to be an effective way to increase strength and muscle. 

While the evidence and science for the time under tension may not be substantial, it's still important to follow the programs protocols. 

Starting Weight:

To choose a weight, Poliquin recommends choosing a weight starting around 60% of your 1 rep max for that lift. 

Since this is a hypertrophy program, it's safer to start lighter than heavier. 

Each week you'll increase the weight by 4-5% if all the reps are achieved with the rest periods. 

For smaller exercises like chin ups or curls, choose a weight that you can do 20 reps in one set with, and use that weight for working sets. 

You may make mistakes finding these numbers, but it's better to choose a lighter weight than you think as the program is quite intensive and the progression is done weekly. 

If you find the weight is too heavy to complete the program with, no problem, you can decrease the weight for the next session. 

Warm Up

For warm up, it's a good idea to take 5-10 minutes to walk until you feel warm. 

Once you do that, perform a few light sets of the muscles you're about to workout. 

You should do at least 3-4 warm up sets before your actual workout, and then follow the program's workouts. 

You can do 1-2 warm up sets before a specific exercise. 

GVT FAQ

What Is GVT?

GVT is a 10×10 set program made by Charles Poliquin. 

It was designed as a hypertrophy program to help shock the muscles with high volume training. 

It's made to be used for a short period of time. 

Trainees who use it commonly report gains anywhere from 5-10lbs in 6 weeks. 

It should be run only once or twice per year as it's a highly intensive program. 

Who Is German Volume Training For?

GVT is made for intermediate to advanced trainee. 

It's hard and it's not designed to be fun. 

Using this program will result in massive gains but only if it's used correctly.

If you're serious about your physique and training then you'll probably enjoy the results from GVT. 

Signs of Burnout?

The GVT program is an easy program to overtrain with. 

Choosing a weight low enough that you can complete 10×10 sets is important and you should follow the instructions above to ensure that you do. 

Here are some overtraining signs to look out for:

  • Pain at joints like knees, elbows, shoulders, etc.
  • Soreness at distal portion of muscle.
  • Like feeling sore near joints.
  • Lack of proper sleep
  • Suddenly feeling sick or a cold coming on- immune system is compromised.
  • Loss of libido
  • Depression

If you ignore these signs and keep exercising, you will eventually hit a plateau and will increase chance of injury.

If you're already experiencing these symptoms, take it easy and avoid pushing yourself for at least a week or two.

GVT: The Ultimate High Volume Program

GVT isn't for everyone. 

But if you're looking to try something new and intense, then you may want to try it. 

It's a highly intensive program that should be only ran once or twice a year.

Feel free to leave a comment below if you have a question or contact me here. 

by Nader Qudimat

Forged by the iron and cold steel, Nader takes his knowledge and hulks it up into this site.

Having to be stuck as a 110lb skinny guy in the early days, he has had no choice but to keep improving himself until he cannot.

Click here to check out his 12 year transformation: Natural 12 Year Transformation

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