GERMAN VOLUME TRAINING (GVT) Hypertrophy Programme

One of the most effective, and proven, ways to gain muscle mass quickly is to the use German Volume Training (GVT). As the name suggests the stimulus of the programme is based on doing really high volume of lifting.

The GVt has been advocated in the coaching and popular media as an effective training method to help athletes gain lean body mass and muscle size.

It is believed that German weightlifting coach Rolf Fesser developed GVT  to assist his athletes who wanted to increase lean body mass.

GVT works by targetting a group of motor units, exposing them to an extensive volume of repeated efforts, specifically, 10 sets of a single exercise. The body adapts to the extraordinary stress by hypertrophying (enlarging/make bigger) the targeted fibres.

The normal protocol call in this programme is to do 10 sets of 10 reps which straight away would indicate this is not for the novice/beginner trainer, only the advanced/experienced should undertake this regime, an it is nuerally very fatiguing.

You should try and begin with a weight you could normally lift for 20 reps to failure in need be. A rough rule of thumb would be 60 % of your 1 Rep Max (1 repetition of your heaviest lift for that particular exercise) for example if your best Squat is 100 Kg  60% of your 1 RM in the squat is 60 Kg.

I experimented with this programme for 8 weeks in March of this year and I packed on 4-5 Kg’s of lean muscle mass.

Let me share with you my GVT experience.

I had often heard about the benefits of GVT, normally a sceptic to anything that claims to be brilliant and wonderful, I normally try out these claims before I become a believer.

Reading through the vast amount of literature in documents and on the net about GVT, it was telling me to train 3 days a week, monday, wednesday and friday. The reccomendations where to do a lower body (squat/deadlift) on monday, a chest and arms on wednesday, back and shoulders on friday. You can mix match this sequence any way you want. Ie you may want to do chest and back on monday, legs on wednesday, arms and shoulders on friday

I am not a great lover of isolating body parts for my own training regime, but for the purpose of this experiment I was prepared to bite the bullet.

Before I started I also conferred with Fergus Connolly (Head of Sports Science of the Welsh Rugby Union) and his advice was try and rest as much as possible in between the training days.

I planned out my own  GVT training schedule and it took the format of below.

1)     Squat  10 x 10 @ 80 KG    Superset with

Push Press 10 X 10 @ 60 Kg   with  90 secs recovery

2)    Barbell Shrugs   5 x 10 @ 80 Kg  S/S with

DB Push Ups     5 X 10   Bodyweight       with 90 secs recovery

1)  DB Bench   10 X 10 @ 35 KG DB’s    S/S with

Barbell Curls  10 X 10 @ 40 KG    with 90 secs recovery

2)  Dips  5 X 10   S/S with

Hammer Curls  5 x 10  with 90 secs recovery

1) Rack Deadlifts   10 x 10 @ 120Kg  S/S with

DB Shoulder Press 10 X 10 @ 30 KG  with 90 secs recovery

2) Single Arm DB Row 5 X 10 @ 45 KG S/S with

DB Lateral Raise 5 x 10 @  10 KG   with 90 secs recovery
So as you can see there is big volumes there, if you take the squats alone on monday 10 x 10 at 80 Kg is 8000 Kg you will squat in that part of the session. The other important factor to mention at this juncture is the beauty of GVT is it can be completed in under 30 minutes.

The ideal progression is to increase the weight of all the lifts by 5-10 kg per week or 4-5% of the previous weeks weight if the athlete is able to deal with the initial loadings.

I undertook week one and right from the very 1st session I felt the intensity ratchet right up from a normal traditional lower body session. The fact that you where sticking to a 90 secs recovey time after effectively squatting 800 Kg ( 10 X 10 of 80 Kg) then 600 Kg (10 X 10 of 60 Kg) of Push Press meant I had exposed my body to 1400 Kg of loading in one hit, and I had 9 hits to go !!!!!

After completing my first 3 sessions in week 1, I was a wee bit sore and stiff but mentally I felt good, GVT becomes a real mental challenge where I approached all the sessions with the attitude,

“Right today I am going to rack deadlift 10 sets of 10 at 120 Kg that’s 12000 Kg, plus with that I wil be doing DB Shoulder Press at 10 sets of 10 at 30 KG that’s another 3 000 KG that’s a total of 15 000 Kg in 20 minutes ! ”  that’s where  I was getting my mental stimulation from !

By week 5 and 6 I had put on 3.5 Kg, all from doing 3  X 30 minute sessions a week, the weight I was lifting had increased, but the cumulative fatigue was starting to kick in. I started to find I was eating a lot more in this phase and sleeping really well 8-9 hours a night. (Fergus Connolly had said the most anabolic thing you can do is eat and sleep !)

Into the last week and I was really struggling, I was dreading the sessions, but determined to complete my target, I was starting to realise that 8 weeks is too long on a regime like this, my body screamed for something easier.

I completed my last deadlift session which had gone up to 147 Kg for 10 X 10, my squat had plateaued at 122.5 KG for 10 X 10, but by this stage I did’nt care, I had enough.

I weighed myself 2 days after my last GVT session and I had gained 5.4 Kgs over the eight weeks and lost 2.6% body fat (the high intensity nature of GVT gives you a high aerobic hit ).

So with this data collected I was happy with the outcome, in summary GVT is brutally hard but it is an effective way to pack on muscle fast.

Enjoy !!!!!!!!!

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