German Volume Training (GVT) is an advanced style of training which essentially does what it says on the tin; trains volume. This is not something that we use with many face to face PT clients as it is best suited to an advanced lifter, however it is a useful programming tool for some experienced Online Personal Training clients. It is a training method that is renowned for being particularly useful in hypertrophy training, which as we know is training to gain muscle. When performing GVT, you would perform 10 sets of 10 reps of the same exercise at the same weight for every set. Obviously, this leaves you with a huge amount of volume to be trained and therefore creates a very intense workout with little rest. It is particularly effective for when a lifter hits a plateau or stall in progress as the unique intensity leaves your muscles with no option but to respond with growth.
This style of training was made famous by Rolf Feser in Germany (hence the name) who was a National Weightlifting coach. He used GVT to add lean muscle to his weightlifters during their off season, and the method gradually got picked up by bodybuilders who saw great success from it.
The simplified idea behind GVT is that it allows you to get a significant amount of 'work' or volume within a shorter space of time. More commonly, Personal Trainers will use supersets and tri-sets to enable clients to increase volume in training, but GVT is a big step up from this. The sheer amount of reps that you perform during GVT means that your muscles are placed under a lot of stress. This intense stress on your muscles means that your body has to adapt to be in a better position to cope with the intensity, and it does this by increasing the size of muscle fibers. It's important to note, that contrary to popular belief, hypertrophy is the increase in size of muscle fibers, not the increase in number of muscle fibers (this would be hyperplasia).
So, the GVT method can of course be attempted by anyone, however the objective of such a program is purely to gain muscle. Some strength would be gained in the process, however lower reps are much more effective for this and any strength gained would be minimal. During the course of performing 10x10, you are much more likely to improve your stamina, aerobic fitness and conditioning as a by-product to hypertrophy, rather than strength. If strength is your main goal, an altered attempt at GVT could be beneficial (for example 10x3), however it isn't necessarily the most effective strength programming method.
How Do I Do GVT?
So now you know what GVT is and why we use it, but how do you actually implement it into a program? When used for serious bodybuilding/hypertrophic reasons, you should only attempt a GVT program around once every 6 months. The reason for this is that, if done properly, the training will be so intense that your body will not be able to sustain that level of intensity for very long. GVT programs are short both in program length and in workout length, but don't be fooled - this is only because it's all the body can handle!
A non negotiable rule of GVT is: only one exercise per body-part, with 4-5 days rest between body-parts. So, you could try a split of legs-upper push-upper pull, but note you will only be doing 1 exercise on each day. This means your exercise choice is paramount; you want to choose exercises that get you the most bang for your buck (think squats, deadlifts, bench - compound movements).
When choosing a weight to start with, I would advise starting with around 50-60% of you 1rm (roughly). This may seem light at first, but it won't by set 10! Rest between sets should be kept to 60s. Once you can perform all 10x10 at 60s rest with strict form, you can up the weight by 5%. This can be done for around 3-6 weeks depending on the individual before recovery is needed.
It would be impossible to advise a 'one size fits all' overall GVT program here as the overall programming for GVT is complex; periodisation is key here with strict importance on recovery mesocycles and microcycles within your overall program. This is where having an Online Personal Trainer can prove vital to successful, injury free programming.
A GVT program is one of the toughest forms of weightlifting/bodybuilding programs out there, and care should be taken to ensure that not only are you experienced and advanced enough to start the program, but that you effectively plan out your entire program before jumping into 10x10 squats blindly! It is a very interesting and intense program with amazing benefits if hypertrophy is your goal, however as a PT I wouldn't advise using this training style unless your main goal is to build size in the gym; there are far more effective and proven methods for other goals such as weight loss, general fitness and strength.
Before starting an advanced style of training, we would highly recommend seeking the advice of a Personal Trainer, be it in the form of sessions or Online PT. If you already consider yourself to be a moderately experienced lifter, Online Personal Training can give you the support you need without the cost of PT sessions. Your trainer can provide all online programming for you which ensures you are tackling the new challenge safely and effectively.
For Personal Training sessions in Canterbury, or Online programming, get in touch via our website!