German Volume Training (GVT) is considered to be one of the most effective training programs for gaining serious muscle mass.
Modern day interest in GVT was rekindled by Canadian strength coach, Charles Poloquin in 1996 in 'Muscle Media 2000' magazine. Poloquin states that he derived the program from Rolf Feser, a German national weightlifting coach who brought the regime to the masses in the 1970s, and later by Canadian power lifter Jacques Demers and female bodybuilder Bev Francis.
GVT is not a program for the uninitiated as a high amount of stress is placed on the muscles in order to grow new muscle. It is essential that the body is preconditioned before attempting to incorporate GVT into one's fitness regime. However, first-timers are advised to stick to the basics unless they have a PT or coach well versed in the program.
This is a serious training program. It is essential to rest on off days and to not train the same muscle groups more than once every four to seven days; if possible, aim for a five day rotation.
The Key to GVT
GVT targets a specific group of motor units by exposing them to intensive amounts of volume (in this case, 10 sets of a singl.e exercise). By doing so, the body adapts to the amounts of stress placed upon it by hypertrophying, or in lay-man's terms, muscle growth. By praciticing a lift for 10 sets every five day, one will drastically increase their form and muscle endurance over a six week period.
Ideally, one should stick with major compound exercises when devising a GVT program and avoid machines in favour of weights whenever possible as one is looking for maximum impact on the body. Exercises such as deadlifts, squats, and rows are all great options, while isolation exercises such as calf raises and bicep curls should be given a miss.
Sets, Reps and Rests
GVT protocol dictates 10 sets of ten repetitions. One is advised to start with a weight that is 60% of a weight one can lift only once.
When one is able to perform 10 x 10 on a particular weight, it is then time to increase the weight. But, take it slowly, and add by the smallest increment for the next workout, and so on and so forth. Although one can expect pretty rapid muscle increase results, one should never rush to achieve a greater weight lift. GVT is a regime, not a race; one should avoid injury and failure at all costs.
Rests are typically 60 or 90 seconds. Rest between 10 x 10 sets on main lifts is usually 90 seconds, while rest for accessory lifts is usually 60 seconds. However, some prefer shorter rest periods on the upper body and longer on the lower body.
Alongside one's chosen GVT regime it is essential to maintain a nutritionally sound and tailored diet and rest/sleep accordingly.
Taking on board diet, downtime and a well thought out GVT routine, one should expect to see phenomenal results within six weeks. Despite GVT not being a typical cardio/weight loss regime, it is known to shed weight, increase lean muscle mass and one's metabolism, thus burning fat and calories during and after workouts.
Don't go into this expecting a quick and easy fix. GVT is NOT for the faint hearted. It was designed by professionals for elite, world class athletes, and as such requires a serious, dedicated, and focused approach.
Think you've got what it takes? Prove yourself right.