Gain Off-Season Mass With This German Volume Training Routine

gym personal trainer man with weight training

gym personal trainer man with weight training


By Steve Green


German Volume Training is one way for athletes to gain size and mass during the off-season. Be forewarned: It’s not easy, but if you stick with it, you will see serious gains.


What is German Volume Training?
During the 1960s and 1970s, German trainers used GVT in the off-season to cultivate lean mass for weightlifters. Once they saw the results, GVT quickly spread through strength and conditioning circles. Also known as the “10 Sets Method,” GVT targets a specific muscle group with 10 sets of 10 repetitions. Generally, muscle groups are trained once every five days, but that can be adjusted if you need more recovery.


Lift Smart
In German Volume Training, you target one muscle group for 10 sets of 10 repetitions. Focusing on the legs, you decide to perform Squats. Ideally, you want to use a weight you can lift for 20 reps. Generally, that would be about 60 percent of your one rep max (here is a calculator you can use to determine your 1RM).


To get the most out of the lifts, focus on tempo. For example, for long-range movements (Squats, Pull-Ups, Dips, etc.), use a 4-0-2 method: lower the weight for four seconds, pause, then lift the weight for two seconds.


The Program
Perform this program three days a week for 4-6 weeks, depending on your schedule and goals. Each workout should consist of two exercises for 10 sets of 10 reps, followed by two optional exercises with a smaller set and rep scheme. Rest 60-90 seconds between sets, and feel free to combine the exercises into one superset if that works better.


Monday: Chest/Back

  • Barbell Bench Press – 10×10
  • Chin-Ups (palms facing away) – 10×10
  • Cable Cross (optional) -3×10
  • Dumbbell Row (optional) – 3×10


Tuesday: Arms/Shoulders

  • Dips (parallel bar) – 10×10
  • Standing Bicep Curls (barbell) – 10×10
  • Dumbbell Side Lateral Raise (optional) – 3×8
  • Incline Dumbbell Curl (optional) – 3×10


Wednesday: Off


Thursday: Legs

  • Barbell Squat – 10×10
  • Lying Leg Curls – 10×10
  • Standing Calf Raise (Optional) – 3×12


Friday-Sunday: Off



You can use your off time simply to recover, or as active rest days if you feel good enough to be active. A good German Volume Training routine hits the abs through the exercises listed, but if you have a specific core program, you should employ it. Always aim to complete 10 sets. If you cannot complete 10 reps, do as many as possible. If you can complete 10 sets of 10 reps, add weight the next time. After 4-6 weeks, evaluate your progress and move into a different routine.


German Training Volume is one of the most intense workouts an athlete can do. If you think you’re ready to add serious mass, give this routine a try and watch your progress.





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