German volume training involves performing 10 sets x 10 reps of any given exercise with short rest intervals and light weight. The name originates where it became popular in German speaking countries back in bodybuilding’s golden age.
This type of training has been around for decades and is sometimes disguised. For example, Arnold Schwarzenegger employed high volume training in which he worked his entire body in two days performing hundreds of sets often taking several hours each day to complete. Although Arnold didn’t follow a prescribed number of sets and reps his philosophy was to remain in a constant state of overtraining with high volume training.
German volume training traditionally follows a 10 x 10 pattern which is easy to remember and can have a placebo effect if you believe in the numbers.
One of the most basic 10 x 10 routines I have done in the past involves using three exercises performed three times a week with a day’s rest in-between. The three exercises are back squats, bench press, and barbell row.
The 10,10,10 Routine.
Start with a weight that you can only perform 15-20 repetitions with. Complete two sets resting no longer than 60 secs and drop the weight 10 lbs every second set. Be sure to have extra 5 lbs and 10 lbs plates handy as changing the weight between each set in less than 60 seconds can be challenging.
I also recommend not using collars on the bar given that you are proficient in these three exercises and don’t bother with a belts or knee wraps. You won’t have time to put them on between sets and not advisable to wear throughout your entire workout.
For example, if you can bench 200 lbs for 15-20 reps you would start with this weight but only perform 10 reps, rest 60 seconds, and then do another 10 reps. Drop the weight down 10 lbs and repeat the process until you have completed all ten sets. Rest 5 minutes and go on to the next exercise. Perform squats first, bench press second, and barbell rows last.
The major advantages of this workout are intensity and time saved. The workout is fast paced and your muscles will be burning before you have completed the sixth of set on each exercise. You will also be in and out of the gym within an hour and have completely trained your entire body.
Also, remember this is an advanced technique in which you push yourself to the limit each workout. Expect to be sore the next day but don’t be afraid to train again when you are sore. Spend a few extra minutes warming up.
When I did this program I noticed an increase of about ¼ inch on my quads each week. Some expert claims the average person can gain as much as 10 lbs of muscle mass within the first 6 weeks of training.
One note of caution! This type of training will initially produce tremendous results from the stress placed on your body. However, German Volume training is usually only recommended for a period of 6 to 12 weeks before reaching burn out. All good things come to an end and if you continue to remain with this program beyond 12 weeks the results you obtain simply won’t be there. My advice is to switch to a different style of training for about the same period of time before switching back.