Morning all,

This weeks #TrainingTips post is all about a training system that is not for the faint hearted.

German Volume Training or otherwise known as GVT is a training system which has been gaining more and more popularity in recent years.  Traditionally GVT has been a hypertrophy (size and strength) training protocol, but of late it is being used as a successful protocol for fat reduction and shredding up too.  Now GVT is nothing new it’s been kicking about since the 1970’s, and there is also evidence of the GVT protocol being implemented long before that too, even if it wasn’t branded as GVT at the time.

So because of all this increased hype I thought I best dust off my GVT hat and put it on for 4 weeks as an experiment.  During these 4 weeks I didn’t change anything but my training regime.  To minimise the influence of any other stimuli my nutritional and sleeping habits remained the same.

Before I go into how I got on, just a little more information on this training system.

GVT as I’ve already said is not for the faint hearted, it consists of 10 sets of 10 reps at roughly 60% of your 1 rep max.  Now that’s a lot of volume I tell you.  Because of this amount of volume choosing 2 or 3 movements is ample as you’ll find that 3 movements will take you a good 45 to 60 minutes alone.  The movements you want to choose want to be big compound movements, so things like bench press, bent over row, squat, deadlift, pull up and shoulder press.  GVT exposes your body to a huge amount of stress because of the extensive volume used, which gives your body no excuse but to adapt.  Rest is big part to GVT, you need to take the time to recover after a session and so doing consecutive days of this stuff is not advised.

My previous experiences of it have been limited, I have used GVT for random sessions but never consistently and especially not for a solid 4 weeks.


Image Source: https://www.miamimuscleusa.com/re-inventing-german-volume-training/

So how did I go?  Well it was an interesting 4 weeks, I carried it out twice a week where I was doing 3 movements in each session.  Just to give you a picture of the rest of my week my remaining training days were 2 circuit based classes, a day of movement play and 2 days of complete rest.

The first week it felt more like it was a mental barrier which I had to break through rather than a physical one.  Sets 7,8,9 and 10 were emotional and I think that was purely down to my body not used to producing so much volume.  But I got through it, I felt pretty wiped afterward but had a re-feed and felt fine.  DOMS was manageable and not as excessive as I was preparing myself for, which I’m not going to lie was a relief, especially when I was working out some of the accumulative weight I had shifted.  It was quite gob smacking.  I could tell my body wasn’t used to it this amount of volume though as when I was joining in with some of my classes I felt quite obviously tired and my heart rate was peaking much higher for less perceived effort.

Week 2 flew by with slight increases in weight shifted and reduced rest periods between sets and that was done only because I felt good at the time.  Muscle pump was more obvious early on in the sets but didn’t affect fatigue at all.  The final couple of sets were tough again, but I managed them better because I knew what I was in for.  Again after that final set my body was ready for a re-feed and I felt fine afterward.  This week when I was joining in with my classes I could still feel the after effects but it wasn’t quite as bad as the previous week.

Week 3 started off like I’d hit a brick wall, everything felt heavy and I felt both mentally and physically drained, but with no obvious reasons why apart from the accumulative fatigue from my training.  But I got through it and even managed to stick at the weight and rest periods I had on week 2.  The remaining sessions that week however was like I had a rocket up my arse or had been given pre-workout in my water (which I hadn’t I hasten to add), I powered through the session again increasing the load slightly and felt great afterward and my effort during classes felt almost back to normal.

Week 4 was pretty much the same as the latter part of week 3, I felt good and powered through.  I was however glad it was coming to the end of the 4 weeks as I was really missed some variation in my training and the 10×10 was getting a little boring.  But how much of that was me just wanting to go back to my comfort zone I don’t know.

I think I will definitely use it more often as a variation, as after hitting 5×5 again last week I could definitely feel that I have come of the back of 4 weeks of GVT stronger physically but definitely mentally.

As for results off the bar though, what did it do to my body?

Well as I’ve already said the only factor I had changed was the introduction of GVT into my programming.  But after 4 weeks of GVT training my lean mass percentage had increased by 1.5% and my body fat percentage dropped 1%, now these figures may seem marginal, but I was sitting at 8.4% body fat before hand so there wasn’t a great deal of fat to lose.  Measurements wise there was slight increases across the board around my major muscle groups with very small reduction around my waist.  I felt leaner and I felt bigger but appearances in the mirror didn’t boast that to me, but the Mrs did say I was looking leaner and wouldn’t say I was looking bigger because she knows it would give me a big head.

Jokes aside over the 4 weeks I saw small gains in lean mass and reduced body fat with just a change in trading stimuli.  If I had changed my nutritional habits too there may have been even bigger changes.  I would like to try this again soon with some nutritional adjustments to see the difference.  So it appears GVT may be a great protocol for not only for hypertrophy but also fat reduction, even if it is a little extreme.  But from spending 4 weeks doing GVT and then going back to my usual training regime I can say it has made a benefit to my training, whether that is just an increase in mental toughness or it is due to the physiological changes.


All in all give it a go, it’s tough stuff but I would recommend it and let’s be honest it can’t of been that bad if I’m willing to do it again.


Have a great weekend.


Stay strong and live, love and laugh!





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