German Volume Training for Shocking Muscle Growth

German Volume Training isn't for the faint of heart. Be prepared to train intense and hard. If you're tired of the same old training routine, and want to shock your muscles into new growth, look no further!

Muscle Volume Training for Muscle GrowthSprechen sie Deutsch? Translated, that means do you speak German?

You don’t need to speak German to master German Volume Training. You only need to master your threshold for pain. Because German Volume Training is pain. It’s an insane and effective method of shocking your muscles.

Call German Volume Training the slumpbuster. If you’re in a rut, seeing no muscle gains, and need a dramatic change, look no further. Consider your muscle building slump to be over.

Core Principles of German Volume Training

German Volume Training isn’t rocket science. There’s no elaborate formulas to figure out, and no training techniques to be mastered. GVT is built around three simple, core principles:

  1. One Exercise. You perform one exercise per body part. That’s it. Stick with heavier, compound-style lifts that tax major muscle groups. Because you will be performing a limited number of exercises per week, proper exercise selection is critical in maximizing the effects of GVT.
  2. 100 Reps. For each exercise, you will be performing 10 sets of 10 reps. Start with 50 to 60% of your one rep max for that lift. Perform as many reps as possible for each of the 10 sets. There is no need to train to failure. Train close to failure. GVT is taxing enough without training to failure. When you can perform 100 total reps, or 10 sets of 10 reps, add 5 pounds to the bar the next time you use the same movement.
  3. Rest Pause. You will be resting approximately 60-90 second between sets. There are numerous forms of GVT floating around the Internet, some a variation of Vince Gironda’s 8x8 training, and some with incredibly short rest periods. Resist the urge to lower your rest periods under the 60 second mark. Limiting rest like this will force you to decrease the load. You’re already working with weights slightly above half of your 1RM. It does you no good to use lighter weights then this. For most exercises, a 60 second rest works best. For big, beefy and taxing exercises like the squat, 90 seconds is needed. (And then some!)

German Volume Training Notes

You will also find that on certain exercises, you will lose strength fairly quickly. My strength dives when trying to hammer out sets of overhead presses. I don’t think I’d be able to perform 10 sets of 10 reps with 20% of my 1RM for this exercise.

Hang in there. Over time, your strength endurance will noticeably increase. Push for one more rep on every set. As long as you focus on progression, the weight will take care of itself.

On the first few sets of an exercise, the weight will feel too light. You’ll start to wonder if you’ve made a mistake. You didn’t. Be patient. By sets 7, 8, 9 and 10, you’ll be in tremendous pain. GVT is very deceiving. On paper it looks too easy. After 2 sets, it feels too easy. After a week of GVT, you’ll be ready to quit the program, and never run it again. It’s tough! But it works!

The German Volume Training Routine

German Volume Training involves only three workouts per week. Resist the urge to break this routine up into a four or five day split before actually trying it. It’s best to try GVT for several weeks before tweaking with it. My first GVT squat day left me so sore that I had a hard time squatting 8 days later, so I recommend not changing the program at all.

The three workouts are push, pulls and legs. I’ve modified this workout from the original structure. The original GVT program advocated working arms and shoulders together, and then hitting back and chest three days later. The problem with this approach is that your arms get so blasted tired and sore that it is very difficult to properly workout your chest and back.

The structure of the workouts is as follows:

For abs and calves, there is no need to destroy yourself with a 10x10 set/rep scheme. Perform 3 sets of 10-25 reps for these body parts.

After working your chest and shoulders, your triceps may already be fried. Use your best judgment when working triceps. I recommend using 3 sets of 6-12 reps instead of the 10x10 method. But if you have it in the tank, by all means hammer out 10 sets on triceps.

The original German Volume Training method advocated only 3 sets for both biceps and triceps, and involved no direct hamstring work. You can stick with 3 sets for biceps, or jump up to 10x10. I prefer to go 10x10.

Do whatever is most effective for your body. For hamstrings, I recommend a 10x10 approach. Since you won’t be able to walk anyway from the squats, you might as well sell out completely to the pain.

German Volume Training Exercise Selection

Don’t get fancy with GVT. Stick with basic exercises, and avoid isolation work. A GVT program generally runs between 4-6 weeks. Pick exercises and stick with them. There is no need to worry about muscle confusion or isolation on GVT.

Time to Hit the Gym

It’s time to hit the gym. Expect extreme muscle soreness on this program. I recommend sticking with GVT no longer then 4-6 weeks. After that point, take a break. Your body will need it. Perform a more standard hypertrophy routine at this time.

Push yourself on every set. Try for one more rep. GVT is known for its ability to add up to 10 pounds of muscle over a 4-6 week cycle. Eat big, and rest big!

About The Author
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530 Comments+ Post Comment

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Posted Sat, 01/23/2010 - 23:01

wow, this workout is really hard.. i didnt even left heavy. when i get to 4 to 5 sets, its starting to get harder and i lose my energy... any advice? should i just keep doing it?

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Posted Sun, 01/23/2011 - 19:49
Daniel Moreno

Ya hey. pete try taking n.o xplode nt ....nt is for intense ..there little packets but you should only take half of the pack unless you look forward to crashing . take 30 minutes before your workout

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Posted Sat, 01/07/2012 - 18:09

i do this work out as 8 sets of 8 reps i super set chest and bis back and tries legs and shoulders i do my 8 sets then finish with some thing in 3 sets of ten then onehundred pushup dips and as many crunches or leg lifts as i can do and get awsome results

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Posted Wed, 01/11/2012 - 20:28

Hey Neil,

Just an fyi for your arsenal. The GVT programs are designed to do each set of the same exercise back to back. As in, do not move on to other exercises until all ten sets of the previous one are finished.


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Posted Wed, 05/02/2012 - 04:39

Jack 3d will help. Its cheaper than other pre workouts, and there are no fillers in the product so what you see is what you get. Plus as a person who has very little faith in any other product apart from protein, it works.

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Posted Mon, 04/08/2013 - 20:00

I've done this work out before, sets 5-6 are the hardest but push through them, do as many as you can and you'll find your strength again on sets 8 through 10 (I know it sounds odd) just do as many reps as you can for each set, you'll eventually find yourself able to do 10 reps every set

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Posted Sat, 10/04/2014 - 17:15

Are you lifting 60% of 1RM ?

The whole point is for you to lose energy and your muscle get worn out. By the final sets you shouldn't be hitting 10 every time.

Steven's picture
Posted Sun, 01/24/2010 - 07:39

It's a very hard workout, and not a workout that you can use heavy weight with. I can't make the decision if it's the best workout for you to stick with, but I can say that it's not for beginners. Not sure what stage of lifting you're at...

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Posted Tue, 06/01/2010 - 00:01
Abdiel Quezada

I agree is not for beginners. It took me about 6 months to make the transition to do GVT. With the help of a trainer.

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Posted Wed, 01/05/2011 - 12:30

with the gvt split being only 3 days... is it safe to incorporate cardio on those off days. i'd like to continue running a good distance like 3-5 miles 3 times a week. will that work with the gvt program

Steven's picture
Posted Wed, 01/05/2011 - 15:11

Hi Jon,

Sure you can run on off days.

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Posted Thu, 01/06/2011 - 10:37

In your experience, do you recommend changing the lift you use for each muscle? if so, how often? I'd like to switch the lifts each week.

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Posted Wed, 03/16/2011 - 04:50

First Jon I would not recomend running a long distance if you are trying to build muscle. Short bursts or sprints are ok but never long distance when your trying to bulk up. with GVT its all about muscle confusion you should alternate muscle groups according to how sore they are. If your not feeling the "pump" and waking up sore you arent building muscle.

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Posted Mon, 04/18/2011 - 21:30

Farber, with all respect, I agree and disagree with you when it comes to being sore. One can still build muscle regardless if they are sore or not. This can be affected by stretching, water consumption, and supplements. If you really want to notice muscle changes, focus on whether you increased weights you are lifting, or if your reps have increased. This is considered progress because you see your strength and muscle endurance has increased. Another way to identify this is measuring your muscle groups before and after.

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Posted Tue, 04/19/2011 - 17:21

Mike, Yes you are right. My comment was to just help the Average Person in bodybuilding. One who just started and is just trying to learn. You made a very good point that I should of included. Many variables do contribute to muscle growth soreness is the most obvious but also as you stated increase in muscle mass und size are another. In the end GVT is One one of the best routines there are for muscle growth and increase in strength. But just as important as lifting the weights properly is to have enough Rest und a very good Diet.

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Posted Tue, 12/11/2012 - 23:58

you do realize that the pump has very little effect if any on muscle protien synthesis and isn't considered to be a good indicator of how effective a workout is. on another not just started gvt and f-ckin a my legs are sore

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Posted Wed, 09/18/2013 - 05:11
Kevin Machado

Hi Steve

is this routine recommended for weightloss ?

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Posted Mon, 01/25/2010 - 18:11

Which exercise will be the most benefit for chest? Or do we do all three that are listed?

Steven's picture
Posted Mon, 01/25/2010 - 18:21

Stewie...only do one exercise per bodypart per week. Pick whichever you'd like from that list.

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Posted Sat, 06/16/2012 - 05:46

hi Steve
i would like to ask a question
do i play only one exercise for each muscle ??
and another thing do i play the same exercise each week
for example if i took barbell bench press, the next week i train the same exercise or i choose another

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Posted Tue, 01/26/2010 - 02:42
Mista Zee

Sounds like a great workout. cant wait to try it.

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Posted Tue, 01/26/2010 - 07:21

hey steve
thanks for the workout

but am confused is it 10 sets of 10 reps or perform as many reps as possible for each of the 10 sets.

Steven's picture
Posted Tue, 01/26/2010 - 08:05

Hi Ahmed...

You try to get 10 sets of 10 reps with a given weight. It might happen because GVT is very difficult.

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Posted Tue, 01/26/2010 - 22:04

Hello Steve,

I'm thinking about starting this workout. Just wanted to clear one thing up before I do.

Lets say I'll do Barbell Bench Press for chest (or any other exercise for that matter), 10x10. If I start doing it with 135lbs, do I have to stick with that weight for all 10 sets?

Steven's picture
Posted Tue, 01/26/2010 - 22:17

Yes. You want to start with 40 to 60% of your one rep max, keep the same weight, and rest only 60 to 90 seconds between sets. Let me know if you have any more questions.

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Posted Fri, 11/22/2013 - 16:54
Brennan Boykin

With the GVT could I do more than one workout in one day as long as it's targeting the same body part?

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Posted Wed, 01/27/2010 - 01:18

this workout looks awesome i try it this monday but i had a doubt i did only bench press for chest , militar press for shoulder and skullcrush for tricep was that correct or i have to do all the excersice shown on the chart up the page??

Steven's picture
Posted Wed, 01/27/2010 - 07:57

You only do one exercise per bodypart each week.

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Posted Tue, 02/25/2014 - 22:28

Hi Steve. About this workout, do I need to superset it? Example: 10 reps of pull-ups no rest, 10 reps of bench-press, rest 60 secs, start again...

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Posted Wed, 01/27/2010 - 08:54

Damn Steve you have got to stop posting new routines up It's making it too hard to pick which to do next. :) Looks like this will be my next Bulk routine.

Steven's picture
Posted Wed, 01/27/2010 - 10:47

This is a great bulk routine. You might even have to eat more then a normal bulk to survive.

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Posted Tue, 07/27/2010 - 06:36

Hi Steve:
It would be very helpful if you suggest a diet routine as well.

Steven's picture
Posted Tue, 07/27/2010 - 14:52

Hi Krishna,

Here are a couple good articles on diet:

On German Volume Training, you might consider eating a bit more than normal.

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Posted Thu, 09/09/2010 - 03:21

Thanks a lot steve.

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Posted Thu, 12/22/2011 - 10:29

I am currently doing GVT and I am also doing the Paleo diet. I would recommend doing the Paleo vesion with some carbs in the AM and a bit at lunch (you'll need lots of energy for GVT) combine that with 3 days GVT and 2 or 3 HIIT training and you will turn into an adonis fast!

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Posted Wed, 01/27/2010 - 17:38

this program is for gaining muscles?

Steven's picture
Posted Wed, 01/27/2010 - 17:51

Very much so. But it should not be run longer then 4 to 6 weeks.

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Posted Thu, 01/28/2010 - 13:30

is inclined dumbbell press a good option for chest?

Steven's picture
Posted Thu, 01/28/2010 - 14:17

Derek...sure...that's a solid option.

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Posted Tue, 11/29/2011 - 08:33

Hey Steve,

Would it hurt me if I did it longer then 4to6 weeks?

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Posted Thu, 01/28/2010 - 14:56

This sounds really intense. I am trying to lose some fat ( mostly stomach), would it be counter productive if I am doing 60 minutes of cardio a day in the morning and this routine later in the day?

Steven's picture
Posted Thu, 01/28/2010 - 15:49

It wouldn't be counter-productive at all. This routine would give your body a reason to hold onto muscle while cutting.

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Posted Fri, 01/29/2010 - 01:16

cant wait to start this monday

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Posted Sun, 01/31/2010 - 14:41

If one stick within the 60-90 sec. rest parameters, how long does a typical GVT workout normally take?

Steven's picture
Posted Sun, 01/31/2010 - 15:47

One hour max if you do 3 exercises.

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Posted Sun, 01/31/2010 - 16:30
Simon Bryant

Hello Steve,

Great Workout, my muscles are aching. I have found it more workable in a busy gym than trying to use different equipment for lots of exercises. Would you suggest an increase of 15-20% above maintenance for bulking and should I be eating big on workout days only or rest days too. Thanks

Steven's picture
Posted Sun, 01/31/2010 - 16:48

That sounds like a good amount of calories. I would eat big every day while doing this program. it's more of a shocker for quick muscle growth, so I would maximize eating.

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Posted Sun, 01/31/2010 - 21:32

sounds like a great workout.
i have a buddy that i workout with everyday though. do you suggest to just alternate sets and hope that it doesnt go over 90 seconds? or have us each do our 10x10 all at once?

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Posted Mon, 02/01/2010 - 06:18

So, this would be an effective cutting routine than? I like intensity and would really like to try this. i'm 42 and have been lifting for a while now, but I need something with "shock" value.


Steven's picture
Posted Mon, 02/01/2010 - 08:20

Zane...I would alternate sets. Even if you're a little off with timing, the essence of the workout remains intact.

Gary...I think this would work well as a cutting routine. Just drink plenty of water. This is definitely a "shocker." It's the most shocking approach I've tried.