German volume training has been around for ages and is one of the best programs to do if you want to add slabs of muscle to your frame. I have used German volume training twice in my training and it only leads to great results. There are many reasons for this in which we will talk about in a second, but the man most popular with bringing German volume training to the masses is Mr. Charles Poliquin. This man is an idol to me and a God in the strength and conditioning field. He has worked with more Olympic athletes and professional athletes than anyone I have ever heard of and his results speak for themselves. He is an absolute genius and has forgotten more about training that I will ever hope to learn and understand.
The basis of German volume training originated in Germany in the 1970’s adopted by Olympic lifting athletes to pack on pounds of muscle mass in a short amount of time. Now there are many reasons why this program works so well and the main one that a lot of people talk about is because of its simplicity and the targeting of a specific pool of motor units.
Research has clearly demonstrated that if your main goal is hypertrophy (gaining muscle) then you should work in a rep range of between 8-12 repetitions. Now obviously you can build slabs of muscle with different repetition ranges and this is dependent on how you structure your training program, but this is the beginning and start of the whole “which rep range is best to build muscle.” Now with German volume training, you’re going to be doing two main movement per workout with 60% of your 1 rep max for 10 sets of 10 reps alternating in a back and forth fashion. Now it looks simple to do on paper, but boy is it hard. Each time I did the program, I experienced new found growth because of its brutality. But it’s not so much the 10 reps that build muscle; it’s the total volume and the overload at that specific pool of motor units that innervate into those specific muscle fibers. Because of the tremendous volume and same movement patter, your body essentially goes into super adaptation mode. The body is an adaption machine. It hates NOT being in homeostasis and it always wants to remain at that level. To make a change, you need to throw it out of whack. But when you do too many exercises and are always changing your training parameters, it’s a lot tougher for your body to adapt to something at its full potential. So that’s the real beauty with German volume training is that you’re only doing 2 main movements per day at the same movement pattern for 10 sets of 10 repetitions.
With regards to the exercises that you choose, make sure to only pick the ones that are going to give your he most bang for your buck and are going to hit your biggest weaknesses. For example with chest, if your upper pecs are lagging, then I would choose some kind of incline movement to really target this area for 10 sets of 10. You don’t want to waste your time doing dumbbell chest flies for 10 sets of 10. That’s just a pure waste of time. And the same goes for your back exercise. If you want o focus on getting wider, then I would go with some form of pull-ups, chin ups, or pull down movements.
German Volume Training Routine
The German volume training routine is pretty simple and straight forward. You’re going to lift 3 days a week preferably Monday, Wednesday, and Friday, or you can also do a Tuesday, Thursday, and Saturday split, it doesn’t really matter and it’s totally adaptable to your lifestyle. For Monday you’re going to hit your chest and back, Wednesday you will target your quads and hamstrings, and for Friday you’ll hit your biceps and triceps.
Here is a sample training template that you can use:
Monday – Chest and Back (rest 60-90 seconds in between each set and alternate)
A1) Incline Barbell Bench Presses 10×10
A2) Wide Grip Pull ups 10×10
B1) Decline Dumbbell Presses 3×15
B2) Dumbbell Rows 3×15
Wednesday – Quads and Hamstrings (rest 60-90 seconds in between each set and alternate)
A1) Back Squats 10×01
B1) Seated Leg Curls 10×10
C1) Back Extensions 3×15
C2) Standing Calf Raises 3×12
Friday – Biceps and Triceps and Shoulders (rest 60-90 seconds in between each set and alternate)
A1) Dips 10×10
A2) Preacher Barbell Curls 10×10
B1) Dumbbell Lateral Raises 3×12
B2) Bent Over Dumbbell Lateral Raises 3×12
Trust me if you do the above program it will be tough enough and it will definitely spark some new found growth to your physique. Just make sure to eat plenty while on this program. You’re breaking down a lot of muscle tissue so your body is going to need those extra calories to build yourself back up again. This program is one of the most powerful and most simple to produce maximum gains, but if your nutrition is not up to par, then your results will be sub optimal at best.