By the healthiergang writer , certified personal trainer and athlete ().
German Volume Training: What is it?
German Volume Training, as the word says, was born in Germany, as a type of training, in the mid-70s. This type of training, also called "10 series method", was popularized above all by the coach of the National Weightlifting Team Rolf Feser who used it to train lifters during rest periods from competitions, in order to stimulate their muscle hypertrophy to the maximum. Almost always, by performing the GVT protocol for a period not exceeding 12 weeks, the mass increases of the athletes were so significant that they allowed them to move to a higher category than the starting one.
In the 90s Charles Poliquin, one of the foremost experts in bodybuilding and Olympic trainer of strength sports, took it up again, “rejuvenated”, remodeled and made it a classic by now. I consider it an excellent program for muscle "reconditioning" after a rest period, such as the break of the summer holidays, to be used then when we seriously start training again and therefore we need that the metabolic functions are completely reactivated. It is a complex and intense program, which of course cannot be used for long; the workloads are in fact very hard and their purpose is to bring your body back to the levels before the interruption and prepare it for the main loads of your sporting activity.
German Volume Training: How to Practice?
It, as we have said, consists of 10 sets of 10 repetitions each that will be performed using the same weight for each exercise, which will then be completed until exhaustion of strength; we generally recommend use a weight that is 60% less than that usually used for those same exercises. Each workout involves the use of only one motor group at a time with 2 days of rest out of 5 of training, to be divided as follows:
1) chest and back
2) legs and abs
4) arms and shoulders
The interval between the series must be a minimum, of 60 seconds between one series and the next, and maximum 90/120 seconds if it is a superset or an exercise involving large muscle groups. What you will probably notice is a failure in the middle of the series with a recovery (by "neural adaptation") around the eighth series and through to the end.
Not all exercises are recruited for GVT, but only those that maximize the work of each muscle group, combined in antagonism (for example a biceps exercise followed by a triceps exercise), so that each group works from multiple angles.
The daily workout is characterized by a series called A, comprising two single main exercises o in superset (i.e. to be performed in succession without recovery) to be performed for 10 series trying to complete the 10 repetitions for each series (it is important, however, that you maintain a correct execution of the movement), and completed by a series called B of two additional exercises; the latter two will be performed for a maximum of 3 series of 10-12 repetitions. The reason why group B should not be performed in 10 series is of fundamental importance in order not to risk overtraining. Initially, group A, performed with a weight much less than that usually used, may seem too simple, but do not be fooled: as you continue with the repetitions you will realize how hard this type of training is.
Depending on the type of exercise, the execution time must be established with the so-called 4 0 2 0 routine, or 4 seconds to reach the point of release of the weight, an immediate elevation and 2 seconds to reach the apex of the movement (this is how squats or chin ups must be performed, i.e. all those with a wide range of motion); for exercises with a shorter range of motion, the tempo pattern will be 3 0 2 0, 3 seconds for the lowest point and 2 seconds for the maximum movement. It is very important to have a stopwatch who carefully monitor the seconds of recovery, fatigue will often tempt us to recover more than the expected time, and this to the detriment of muscle work.
Each group must be left to rest for 4/5 days, expect particularly hard DOMS in the following days, however, muscle hypertrophy will continue its work for as long as the motor group is kept at rest.
The method must be performed for a 6-week cycle; the goal in the first week would be to complete your routines with a submaximal load, this will probably allow you to do 10 repetitions only in the first 3 or 4 series, the following ones will allow you to do fewer repetitions; this is fine, the important thing, as I said above, is the correctness of the execution. From the second week or maybe beyond the second, I repeat, the speed of switching to a new load is not important, you should be able to do all the repetitions with less and less difficulty; at this point it is possible to increase the workload by approximately 4-5%.
The first 6 weeks will be followed by a 3-week course of functional recovery, in which both the series and the repetitions will be reduced (for example 6-8 of about 4-6 repetitions can be done) or replaced by workouts that will be considered more suited to one's physical recovery.
At the end of this phase we will move on to an intermediate cycle; this second cycle of 6 weeks will have to include 10 series of 6 repetitions each with a load of weights that can allow you to perform at least 12 per exercise.
The next step is finally that for advanced athletes, which is structured in a very mathematical way, so much so that it would be useful to take note of all the training. Poliquin suggests an incremental method of percentage type, i.e. increases the workload by 4-5% and decreases the number of repetitions for at least 2 seriesAnd; then it reduces the load again by 4-5% by increasing the repetitions to 10.
Below, I would like to point out some tables that Poliquin himself considers valid training schemes and which I believe are the best and safest both from the point of view of correctness and safety throughout the path you want to follow, and from the point of view of the muscular hypertrophy you want to achieve.
Phase 1: Beginners
Day 1 : Chest and back (series A 10 x 10, time 4 0 2 0, rest 90 seconds; series B 3 x 10-12, time 3 0 2 0, rest 60 seconds)
Series A-1: Extensions with dumbbells on reclining bench
Serie A-2 : Chin-up
Series B-1: Crosses with dumbbells on declined bench
Series B-2: Rowing with dumbbells with alternating arms
Day 2: Legs and abs (series A 10 x 10, time 4 0 2 0, rest 90 seconds; series B 3 x 15-20, time 2 0 2 0, rest 60 seconds)
Series A-1: Barbell Squat
Serie A-2 : Lying Leg curl
Serie B : Leg Pull-In
Day 3: Rest
Day 4: Arms and shoulders (series A 10 x 10, time 4 0 2 0, rest 90 seconds: series B 3 x 10-12, time 2 0 x 0 rest 60 seconds)
Serie A-1 : Parallel bar dips
Series A-2: Hammer curl on inclined bench
Series B-1: Lateral raises in supine position on incline bench
Serie B-2 : Seated dumbbell lateral raises
Day 5: Rest
Phase 2: Intermediates
Day 1: Chest and back (series A 10 sets x 6 rep time 5 0 2 0 rest 90 seconds; series B 3 sets x 6 rep time 3 0 2 0 rest 60 seconds)
Serie A-1 : Incline dumbbell press
Serie A-2 : Wide grip rear pull-up
Serie B-1 : Dumbbell flyes
Serie B-2 : Bent over barbell row
Day 2: Legs and abs (series A 10 sets x 6 rep time 5 0 2 0 rest 90 seconds; series B 3 × 12-15 Time 3 0 2 0 rest 60 seconds)
Serie A-1 : Barbell deadlift
Serie A-2: Seated Leg Curl
Serie B-1 : Twisting crunch
Serie B-2 : Standing calf raises
Day 3: Rest
Day 4: Arms and shoulders (series A 10 sets x 6 rep time 5 0 2 0 rest 90 seconds; series B 3 x 10-12 time 2 0 x 0 rest 60 seconds)
Serie A-1 : Parallel bar dips
Serie A-2 : Incline hammer curls
Serie B-1: Dumbbell lying rear lateral raises
Serie B-2 : Seated Dumbbell lateral raises
Day 5: Rest
Phase 3: Experienced Athletes
The advanced phase sees the use, as mentioned above, of a system of percentage variations, that is the weight to be lifted is increased by 4-5% by decreasing the number of repetitions by 1 for each load increase; and viceversa. The model is strictly mathematical, so it is very important to get used to keeping a training diary that records the feedback for each workout of each phase.
Below you will find an example exercise plan of this phase.
Example 1: Barbell curl routine (you should be able to lift 45kg for 10-12 reps)
Workout 1: 10 set x 6 @ 50 kg
Workout 2: 10 set x 5 @ 52 kg
Workout 3: 10 set x 4 @ 55 kg
Workout 4: 10 set x 6 @ 52 kg
Workout 5: 10 set x 5 @ 55 kg
Workout 6: 10 set x 4 @ 55 kg
Workout 7: Test day, in which you should have increased the weight lifted by 9% for 12 reps, or 55 kg.
Example 2: Bench press routine (with barbell and a starting weight of 135 kg)
Workout 1: 10 set x 5 @ 135 kg
Workout 2: 10 set x 4 @ 142 kg
Workout 3: 10 set x 3 @ 150 kg
Workout 4: 10 set x 5 @ 142 kg
Workout 5: 10 set x 4 @ 150 kg
Workout 6: 10 set x 3 @ 155 kg
Workout 7: Test day, where you should be able to lift 150kg for 10 reps.