German Volume Training teaches the body a valuable lesson of patience and grit. Pick two exercises of opposing muscle groups, like chest with back or quads with hamstrings, and do ten sets of ten reps of each with a minute and a half rest period in between. Your muscles experience a particular type of burn from the high number of contractions, to which the body responds with an aggressive recovery afterward.
The methodology works wonders, whether you are a man or a woman, a bodybuilder or an athlete seeking to move up a weight class, and anybody who spends hours at the gym every week to feel like a million dollars. Your metabolism will improve from the denser and not necessarily bulkier muscle mass.
I specify because some people run off when they read the words "increased muscle mass" and miss out on real results that would help them look as lean as they wish. Density is the foundation of the "tone" look sought after by workout enthusiasts, and you need more than just German Volume Training to achieve the kind of size you fear.
Strength wizard Derek Woodzke explains the concept with a car analogy:
Adding muscle mass is like switching to a bigger engine that consumes more fuel.
Now, work out rookies may not finish the full routine on their first attempt. Ten sets of ten reps of the same exercises are no walk in the park, the struggle is real. Your mind's sharpest negotiator will entice you to quit at every step of the way, and your body might experience a shock from the sheer volume through nausea or nervous system shut down.
Push your limits, but know when to stop if you feel your biology shift sideways, a crash can be counterproductive. Here are four tactics to help you cross the finish line:
- Decrease the workload: Start with one exercise instead of two.
- Exercise selection: Chin-ups and other compound motions like squats and deadlifts will get you excellent results, but a beginner could start with seated rows and leg presses to ease into the volume.
- Backup plan: Have a backup plan if you fail to finish with the bigger exercises. Start with chin-ups until you reach your limit, then switch down to seated rows for the remaining sets.
- Progressive overload: Your body might only complete six sets before crashing. Well, get back up, and make sure to add one more round the next time you step into the gym, even if you beat your previous record by one rep. The overload will get you some results that will add up and allow you to finish the full ten sets.
- Week 1: You complete five sets
- Week 2: You make it to six sets
- Week 3: ...6.5 sets
- Week 4: ...8 sets
- Week 5: ...10 sets
Assess your important health metrics ranging from sleep patterns to nutrition, stress levels, and digestion if you fail to progress at all.
German Volume Training Progression
Complete four to six workouts for each muscle group then move onto another methodology. The German Volume Training magic wears off as your body adapts. I cycle two to three phases every year and intensify the workouts each time.
- November: 10 sets x 10 repetitions - Seated Leg Presses
- March: 10 sets x 10 repetitions - Front Squats
- July: 10 sets x 10 repetitions - Front Squats with 2 sec pause at the bottom of each rep.
Your cells will need plenty of water to perform and recover. Have a solid recovery strategy to complement your efforts and enhance results. German Volume Training is a time-tested methodology that will serve as a reliable tool along your journey and propel your workouts to the next level.