German Volume Training or GVT is my all time favorite bodybuilding style, so it is the first training style that I am sharing with you.
I first did GVT about eight years ago with my workout partner; I was getting him ready for a performance to raise money for a charity event called “Best in Drag” to raise money for AIDS and HIV. Together, we transformed him from a skinny-fat attractive man into a startling ballet-dancing female bodybuilder in six months.
We did a three-day workout split, repeated twice a week for six days straight with one day of rest, and the results were phenomenal. You can get huge, FAST. Another benefit is that you have to lower the weights that you normally use, so it gives your ligaments and tendons a chance to strengthen at a lower weight. Both the ligaments and the tendons achieve strength gains slower than the muscles, so this is a plus.
GVT is a mental workout as well as a challenging physical routine, because of the timing of the negative and the relentlessness of 10 reps times 10 sets for a single exercise. It’s a lot. During this work out I almost always get frustrated and feel like quitting, but immediately afterwards it feels like a big accomplishment. I forget all about the monotony, and by the time I’m eating my post workout meal, I’m already looking forward to the next GVT workout. It improves my ability to work through things I must do but do not feel like doing.
I am going to teach you the same three-day split and explain the procedure and the rationale.
Let’s start with Day One, chest and triceps. You do one chest exercise for 10 reps with a negative of a four count and 10 sets and then one tricep exercise for the same rep count, negative count and set count.
Following these two monster sets you do one chest exercise for a traditional rep count of twelve for three sets with no emphasis on the negative, then one tricep exercise in the same format. Then you are done!
I usually do a rest of 90 seconds on the 10 x 10’s and 60 seconds on the 12 x 3’s. If you are in a hurry you can do the 10 x 10’s with a rest of 60 seconds, but it may force you to drop weight slightly.
For anyone who doesn’t know what the “negative” is, it’s the eccentric movement of the lift, when you lower the weight to the start position. For example, when you are doing a bench press and lower the weight to your chest before you press up, that is the negative.
Lets get a three-day split we can work with:
GVT PHASE 1 (SIX WEEKS)
DAY 1 Chest & Triceps
Bench Press- 10 sets X 10 reps- 4 count on the negative
Tricep EZ Curl Cable Press Down – 10 sets X 10 reps- 4 count on the negative
Incline Dumbell Chest Press- 3 sets X 12 reps- normal pacing
Single Arm Tricep Kickbacks on Bench- 3 sets X 12 reps- normal pacing
DAY 2 Back & Biceps
Pull-ups (on assisted machine with lowest assistance you can manage)- 10 sets X 10 reps- 4 count on the negative
Bicep Hammer Curls- 10 sets X 10 reps- 4 count on the negative
Seated Cable Row (i like a narrow grip since the pull-up is a wide grip, but you can do wide here if you prefer)- 3 sets X 12 reps- normal pacing
Bicep Cable Curl with EZ Bar- 3 sets X 12 reps- normal pacing
DAY 3 Legs and Shoulders (It’s a killer!)
Barbell Back Squats- 10 sets X 10 reps- 4 count on the negative
Romanian Deadlifts-10 sets X 10 reps- 4 count on the negative
Seated Calf Raises- 3 sets X 20 reps- normal pacing
Arnold Press- 10 sets X 10 reps- 4 count on the negative
Lateral DB Raise- 3 sets X 20 reps- normal pacing
DB Shrugs- 3 sets X 20 reps- normal pacing
On the first day of this six week cycle you will be figuring out your weights, and you might have to play around with it a bit to get it right. You will be lifting lighter weights than usual — somewhere between 30 to 50% lighter. For example, on a bench press I can lift two 45’s and a 25 on each side for eight reps. During GVT I drop to about 50 pounds on each side the first week and go up slowly as I move into the six-week cycle.
You may start with a weight that is much higher than you can handle, but you will know soon enough. Just drop back a bit and find the weight that challenges you but is doable for the ten sets. Don’t expect to be adding a lot of weight throughout the cycle; it’s not that type of workout, but do expect to get huge!
Have fun with this and make sure you check back in about five weeks for GVT 2, and then the last round GVT 3 after that. Each phase is different and sets you up for mad gains! Feel free to email me with any questions as you go along. Get into it!
(Click on GTV Routine for a PDF document outlining the routine that you can print out or load onto your cell phone and take to the gym with you.)