German Volume Training

June 28th, 2007 by Paul Johnson

German Volume Training is also called the “Ten sets method”. It’s called this because you do ten sets for each muscle. It became popular outside of Europe and into the U.S when Vince Gironda started heavily promoting it.

In the 1990's Charles Poliquin started training his olympic athletes using this workout routine.

The reason why this is a popular workout routine is 10 sets on each muscle group puts a tremendous amount of stress on the muscles. It forces them to grow. Overtraining can be a concern so diet and sleep is of utmost importance with German Volume training.

There are many variations of German Volume Training. All have the common theme of hitting your muscle for 10 sets in a row. Frequency of workouts will have to be tailored to your own body for best results. Many routines have you excercise each bodypart every 5 days, however most people prefer to excercise each bodypart just once a week.

Best German Volume Training Routine

Optimized Volume Training (OVT). Unlike the normal 10 Sets of 10 reps for one excercise on one bodypart you will break it up among multiple excercises.

One method is to do one compound excercise for that muscle group for 5 reps and then do a isolation for that same muscle for the another 5 sets immediately after. So instead of doing 10 reps of one excercise you do a 2 excercise superset, done 10 times.

For example for chest you will do 5 reps of bench press then with no rest you will immediately do 5 reps of chest flyes. Then you will take a rest and then repeat this again 9 more times. Rest time is usually done for 60 seconds.

  1. Elmo on June 28th, 2007

    Hey, and all of this time all I thought German’s routine consisted of was bratwurst and beer! Ha! this is an outstanding blog and a great reference!

  2. Nick on November 27th, 2008

    I am in phase 3 of the German Volume Training program, and this program is not to be taken lightly! I started it on 1 Sept 2008 @ 230lbs, weigh in on 27 Nov 2008 and i am sitting @ 246! I Have been working out since I was 14, im 29 now and I have never put on this kind of weight in such a short time. This program is fantastic for strength and size increases. Trying to eat enough so you dont feel hungry is tough w/ this program, I was taking in over 4000 calories from food a day, plus 100-125g of protein per day (includes food and whey supplements) Cardio is diffucult while doing this type of training, when you are hypertrophy training your body will say when your have had enough, a couple times I was close to puking from the intensity (I only puked once while training and that was when I was in the Army). So if your serious on doing GVT I strongly suggest you do a ‘build-up’ period where I suggest following some of the exercises in the program but only do 6 sets of 10. I did this for 5wks and i didnt really have much deep muscle soreness once i started the program. my workout partnet didnt do it and he quit after the 2nd wk, he said he couldnt take it any longer.

    All in all this program is for people who are serious about obtaining huge gains in strength and size, and I’m not joking. f your try it I hope your enjoy it as much as i have!

  3. Nick on January 29th, 2009

    Just droppin a line again on this subject i have finished GVT in the week of 5-10 Jan 2009 i started on 1 Sept 2008 @ 230lbs, i now weigh in @ 254lbs. this is an amazing program. i am doing it again in 4wks time for a total of 55 days. i will be following the strict sched of GVT under the true history of the program.

  4. admin on February 2nd, 2009

    Thanks for the update nick.

  5. Drake Remore on August 26th, 2009

    What does the program mean by Super sets? Charles Poliquin’s program says (for example) “Rest 90 seconds between each “A” exercise and each superset” He doesn’t define what the superset is and so I’m confused.

  6. clayton morrissey on January 11th, 2010

    Hello, I do not want to sound stupid in any way but do you really only use one compound exersize to really smash that group……. ordo 5 of the compund and lift and 5 of the isolation lift…..I am currently using a four day split

  7. bryce merrill on February 8th, 2010

    supersetting is when you combine so one set of one exercise and directly after do another exercise until you reach your target set amount

  8. ANDREW on March 27th, 2010


  9. Damian Brown on March 31st, 2010

    I take it Charles means:

    Option 1:
    A1 (90 seconds)
    A2 (90 seconds)

    Option 2:
    A1 (no rest)
    A2 (90 seconds)