German Volume Training

June 17, 2022

Robyn French

When it comes to strength training, there are many different approaches. Some people may be looking to tone their muscles while others are looking to bulk up. Sometimes our bodies plateau and we need to make changes to the way we exercise to help get our muscles back on track. One exercise program that has been commonly used to help gain more muscle mass quickly is called German Volume Training, sometimes also referred to as the 10x10 workout. This style program puts our muscles under a lot of stress for a long duration of time, causing both types of muscle fibers to be called in for action, leading to muscle hypertrophy in less time.

Number of exercises

German Volume training can be done by picking two to three exercises that can be used as a superset with an antagonist muscle movement. For example, when doing a chest exercise the antagonist muscle would be the back. So, a good superset would be 10 reps of bench press and then 10 reps of bent over row. Or for the overhead press, the opposing exercise could be a chin-up. A third add in could be an abdominal exercise.

For legs, two exercises could be Squats and Glute Ham Raises or Romanian Deadlifts. When doing squats or deadlifts, because of the core involvement and heavy loads they require, it would not be safe to include an abdominal exercise. Make sure to chose only one exercise per body part to perform and that the exercise engages a lot of the muscle.


Resting for about 20 seconds in between each exercise is ideal for recovery. At the end of each set, it is then suggested to rest for between 1 to 3 minutes to allow muscles to be ready for the next set. (Remember there are a total of ten sets.)

Choosing the right weight

When choosing what weight to use 60% of a one-rep max is a good start, a weight that can be lifted up to 20 reps. This is to enable that the same weight gets used for all 10 sets. In the event of not being able to complete all the repetitions, weight should then be reduced 2.5%-5%. For example, if the weight being used is 100lbs, drop it down to 95-98 pounds on the following set. While it may seem as a small decrease, the point of this type of training is to keep the intensity as high as possible for efficient results.

Training frequency

Due to this being such an intense program, it takes longer for the muscles to recover. Therefore, one training session every four to five days per body part is plenty.


Remember the key to progression is to continue to overload the muscles. So, when 10 sets of 10 can be completed, this means its time to increase the weight by 4-5%. Also, expect a deeper soreness after performing this type of workout program.

Besides muscle hypertrophy, GVT can also benefit the cardiovascular system. This kind of volume training causes the heart rate to climb higher during each set and by the end of the workout, the heart rate starts to remain at a higher rate even during rests.

The idea behind this type of training and why it works is because after attacking the same muscles repeatedly, the main working muscle fibers will fatigue, and the body will then bring in our slow-twitch muscles fibers to do the work. This allows both our fast and slow twitch muscle fibers to experience growth. Therefore, our muscles will undergo faster development under this type of volume training.


  • Three workouts per week: Make sure to have at least one rest day in between. A good break down is to do this program Monday, Wednesday, and Friday, focusing on different major muscle groups each time.
  • Supersets: Two to three exercises that can be done back-to-back. This keeps the workout time down while still allowing high volume.
  • Big compound lifts. Bench press, squats, and rows. Exercises that pump up and use all the larger muscles in the body.

Example layout

Day one: chest, back, and core.

  • 10 reps of bench press, rest for 20 seconds.
  • 10 reps of bent over row, rest for 20 seconds.
  • 10 reps of leg lifts, rest for 1 to 3 minutes. Repeat complex 10 times.

Day two: rest

Day three: legs- quads and hamstring/glutes

  • 10 reps of squats, rest for 20 seconds.
  • 10 reps of glute ham raise, rest for 1 to 3 minutes. Repeat complex 10 times.

Day four: rest

Day five: Shoulders and arms

  • 10 reps of overhead press, rest for 20 seconds.
  • 10 reps of biceps curl, rest for 20 seconds.
  • 10 reps of skull crushers, rest for 1 to 3 minutes. Repeat complex 10 times.

So, if you are finding yourself in a rut when it comes to building more muscle mass, give German Volume Training a try for a few weeks. Keep track of the weights being used and try to increase them a little each week. Remember, there are many ways of doing this technique and breaking down different movements for each muscle group. Try different complexes and find what best fits you.

If you feel like you'd like to try German Volume Training but feel unsure of where to start, get in touch with a Western Personal Trainer. We would love to set up a session and help you learn some new training techniques! Visit and fill out the inquiry form or stop by the Trainer Desk and talk to a trainer anytime!

Subscribe to get the latest news from us

By submitting this form, you are consenting to receive marketing emails from: . You can revoke your consent to receive emails at any time by using the SafeUnsubscribe® link, found at the bottom of every email. Emails are serviced by Constant Contact
linkedin facebook pinterest youtube rss twitter instagram facebook-blank rss-blank linkedin-blank pinterest youtube twitter instagram