German Volume Training (GVT)
Keep hearing about this GVT on Reddit or your favorite forum? Wondering what this magical protocol is? GVT is German Volume Training (also known as the 10×10 or The 10 Sets Method), and it actually has rather mundane origins.
GVT was popularized by Charles Poliquin in 2002, which was adopted from a similar method promoted by Vince Gironda before him. Regardless of who popularized the method, it has been used in German speaking countries for years as a training method used in the off season to help lifters build some lean muscle.
GVT is a brutal, high volume routine that is hypertrophy focused and aims to build lots of lean muscle. Fast. And it works… with a catch. GVT is brutal and requires good execution to see the best results. But, if you can stick with it and hammer it out, you will pack on more lean muscle than you ever have in your life.
Whichever name you call it (10 sets, GVT, 10×10, etc), the goal of the program remains the same. Take a weight that is roughly 70% of your 1RM and lift it for 10 sets of 10 reps. You don’t pyramid, you don’t increase the weight or decrease the weight; you keep the same weight on the bar and do 100 reps. Sounds easy right? It will even seem easy when you start. Until you hit set 5 or so.. trust me, it may sound easy on paper, but the execution is much.. much harder.
With this protocol, you want to expose each group of muscle to a single, super intense training session every week. You want to use movements that utilize the most amount of muscle possible. You will work those muscles into the ground, and then give them a week to recover. I suggest doing GVT as a 3 day split, although you could try doing a 4 day split if you prefer.. I have done a 3 day split with GVT and it worked great. I also don’t suggest doing GVT for longer than 4-6 weeks, and definitely not while cutting. If you plan on doing a cycle of GVT, plan it around a bulk and do it for a 4-6 week cycle, and then go to a lower volume routine for a several weeks while you recover.
An example 3 day GVT split:
Rest time between sets should be somewhere between a 1-2 minutes. Give yourself ample time to recover between sets and push through the next one. The weight will seem light at first, but once you get a few sets in, you will start to fatigue; especially if you aren’t used to a high volume routine. It will seem like your strength begins to tank, and you may have to deload more than once. Stick with it, and you will begin to see a noticeable increase in endurance.
The program outlined above is just an example. It works a lot of muscle and will suit most individuals. If you want to change something up or add something in, go for it. Just remember that it will be intense!
There are several variants floating around out there of GVT, the most popular being Vince Gironda’s 8×8 routine. This routine generally works in a 4 day split, and includes more isolation work, etc.
What weight should I use?
Try starting with 70% of your 1RM for a given lift. It will seem light. This is normal. You didn’t do anything wrong, everything is fine. It should seem light.. at first. Get in about 5 sets and see how it feels.. after 5-6 sets, you should be feeling pretty rough. If you are cruising through 5-6 sets without feeling it.. then maybe you do need some more weight.
Once you get to the point where you can comfortably do a set of 10×10, try adding 5 pounds to the lift next week. It is possible that you will go a week or two without adding anything to the bar, and that is fine. Overload through intensity isn’t really the goal here, its overload through volume.
If you are looking for something new to try and want to pack on some serious muscle, you should definitely try a GVT cycle. Just remember that I warned you about the intensity! Now go be a better man and lift heavy shit!