GVT: 10 x 10

In Germany, the ten sets method, a.k.a. German Volume Training (GVT), was used in the off-season to help weightlifters gain lean body mass. It was so efficient that lifters routinely moved up a full weight class within 12 weeks.

The program works because it targets a specific group of motor units and exposes them to an extensive volume of repeated efforts; specifically, 100 reps of a single exercise. The body adapts to that extraordinary stress by hypertrophying the targeted fibers. To say that this program adds muscle fast would be an understatement. Gains of 10 pounds or more in six weeks are pretty common.

How It's Done

The goal of the GVT method is to complete 10 sets of 10 reps with the same weight for each exercise. You want to begin with a weight you could, if you really pushed, lift for 20 reps before failure.

For most people, on most exercises, that would represent 60% of their 1 RM (rep max). Therefore, if you can bench press 200 pounds for one rep, you would use 120 pounds for this exercise. Now it may sound easy, but you'll be pleasantly, or unpleasantly, surprised.

For beginners, I recommend using the following body part splits:

  • Day 1:  Chest and back
  • Day 2:  Legs and abs
  • Day 3:  Off
  • Day 4:  Arms and shoulders
  • Day 5:  Off

Do one exercise, and one exercise only, for that particular body part. When performing this program you should keep a detailed journal of the exact sets/reps, load, and rest intervals performed. Only count the reps completed in strict form. Increase the resistance when you can do 10 reps for all 10 sets.

You may discover while doing this workout that, although your number of reps may go down about the sixth or seventh set, they may actually go up again at the eighth or ninth set. The thing to remember is that you're not going crazy; this is merely an interesting neurologically-based phenomenon.

For more details, check out the related links below.

Related:  The Return of German Volume Training

Related:  GVT Revisited