German Volume Training - Shaun Stafford WBFF Pro
There are plenty of things that the Germans can be pleased with themselves about: their economy, their automotive industry, and their heritage in weight-lifting, and producing some of the most well trained and conditioned athletes on the planet.
Many people in strength and conditioning and bodybuilding community have heard of the ’10 x 10’ method of training as a great tool for packing on quality lean mass, but not that many people are aware of it’s roots in Germany in the mid-1970s, where it was popularized by The German Weightlifting Coach, Rolf Feser. I came across it through my reading of Canadian Strength and Conditioning Guru Charles Poliquin, and his interpretation of the protocol and subsequent success he achieved with his myriad of athletes.
It was during my reading as preparation for my first PICP Internship that I first stumbled across this protocol, and I can honestly say that once tried, I was instantly converted as a believer: in six weeks on this style of training, I put on nearly 4kgs of quality muscle (coming from a good base to start with), whilst dropping my bodyfat levels below 10% (offseason). I now make sure that it features in my training at least once every 6 months, and is one of my go to programs if I need to get in shape fast! So that is the why, now for the how.
The main aim of the program is to complete 10 sets of 10 reps of an exercise, without having to drop the weight. Most people find that starting with a 20rep max weight to start with provides the right level of feedback and overload, and will get you crawling over the line with just about proper technique! Other people choose about 60% of their 1 rep max, and in my experience, this get’s you there too…
The standard training split for GVT follows an Upperbody/ Legs&Abs/ Rest/ Shoulders&Arms split, and this works incredibly well, but for my Modified Version (MGVT), I have gone for a Back/Chest/Quads&Glutes/Bis&Abs/ Shoulders/Hams&Traps/Rest split… The main reason for this was that I am loving training at the moment, and want to hit weights 6 times per week, and have found this split worked really well for me in the past!
The program should be designed by selecting a big, compound exercise to open up with: for me I always like to go for a pull-up or bench press for the upper body, and a deadlift or squat variation for the legs. After the 10 sets have been knocked out, I add in some ancillary exercises working the same group from a different angle, or in a different way. This additional work can be 2-3 sets of 10-20 reps, and be 2-3 additional exercises. Rest for the entire program runs between 60-90s.
Here is a sample program from ‘Back’ day:
A1- WideGrip Pull Ups 10 x 10 @ 4110 with bodyweight, rest 60-90s.
B1- Seated Cable Rows 3 x 12 @ 4120 with 60kgs, rest 60-90s.
C1- Neutral Grip Chins 3 x 15 @ 3110 with bodyweight, rest 60-90s.
D1- Single Arm Cable Row 2 x 15e @ 2120 with 30kgs, rest 60s.
These workouts usually take less than an hour, and provide you with a really good fatigue in the muscle. In terms of training regularity, give yourself a good 48hr+ to recover before training the same group again, and in terms of progression, only increase the weight once all 10 reps can be completed with solid technique. Once this can be achieved, weight can be increased by up to 5% per exercise.
This program's brilliance is anchored in it’s simplicity and ease of structure: there is no need for advanced techniques to drag out the sets, the volume and effect of repeated efforts gives the muscles all the stimulus they need to grow.
If you like this style of training, I urge you to track down the original format of Mr. Poliquin and give that a go; he has some great progressions, and the switch to the more conventional split will provide a new level of variation to the program here! Enjoy, and let me know how you get on.
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