German Volume Training

German volume training - Hematime Fitness

Pack on lean muscle mass fast with German volume training. Often referred to as the 10 sets method, and originating from Germany, German volume training is regarded by many strength and conditioning coaches as the number one overloading technique to break through training plateaus and to build lean muscle mass quickly.

German volume training - Charles Poliquin

Created in the mid 70’s and made popular by German national weightlifting coach Rolf Feser, it was widely used by bodybuilders during their off season to build mountains of muscle whilst shedding unwanted body fat.

The Science

German volume training targets a specific group of motor units exposing them to intensive amounts of volume of sets, i.e. ten sets of a single exercise. The body adapts to the mass amounts of stress by hypertrophying (muscular growth) the targeted fibers to cope with the work load. Although this program is geared more towards hypertrophy than strength it still has a substantial positive impact on performance for any weightlifter.

Practicing a lift for ten sets every five days is going to drastically improve your form and muscular endurance. The sheer volume of sets exhausts muscle fibers and forces the recruitment of new fibers to contribute to the lift as the muscle starts to fatigue. Working not only at a muscular level but at a neurological level as well, thus improving lifting form and technique for the respective exercise utilised. At the end of ten sets you will have literally used parts of your muscles that you have never used before.

How To Train Like a German FB_IMG_1435627668493

The format of German volume training is simplicity at its finest.

Goal: 10 reps x 10 sets.

Weight: 60% of 1RM or a weight that you can perform 20 reps to failure.

Tempo: 4-0-2. 4 secs eccentric (downward phase of rep or going with gravity – lowering of weight), 0 sec pause, 2 secs concentric (upward phase of rep or going against gravity – lifting of weight).

Rest: 60 secs with one exercise or supersets of different muscle groups, 90-120 secs when supersetting the same muscle group. Supersets of this nature should consist of an ‘A’ exercise which is a compound (multiple joints and muscles working) and a ‘B’ exercise isolating (single jointed, single muscle exercises) the targeted muscle.

Recovery: 5 days

Different overload techniques can be utilised throughout the ten sets. The above formula is your basic form of German volume training. An experienced training professional will be able to personalise this method to health and fitness goals i.e increasing strength.

Recommended Split

  • Day 1: Chest & Back
  • Day 2: Legs & Abs
  • Day 3: Off
  • Day 4: Arms & Shoulders
  • Day 5: Off


German volume training is simply brutal. Test your fitness mettle, and if you’re mentally strong enough to push through this exhaustive overload technique you’ll reap the rewards of packing on muscle. Sow the seeds of dedication and harvest the rewards of new lean muscle!



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