GVT, also known as German Volume Training, is a very specific style of hypertrophy (muscle building) training used within the greater spectrum of resistance training. In short, GVT consists of 10 sets of 10 repetitions, with 60 seconds rest in-between each set. So, does it work?
Yes, it is very effectively for building mass and increasing muscle size, but it’s important to implement it correctly in order for it to be effective. So, let’s talk about how to use it:
GVT works on the basis of accumulating vast amounts of volume within a single exercise. You shouldn’t be using a weight close to your 10RM when attempting GVT, but rather a good starting point would be to use ~60% of your 1RM. Don’t worry if not every set is mega challenging, the idea is not to be working to failure on every set – by the end your muscles will be fatigued, but start out too heavy and you will likely struggle to complete the exercise.
Think too about the types of exercise that you choose for performing GVT: opt for compound exercises, and stick to free weights most of the time. This is due to the increased metabolic stress from using free weights over machines – if you want to maximize muscle growth, then you want to be maximizing metabolic stress and mechanical tension. This is more readily achieved using free weight exercises. Think squats, bench press, rows, overhead presses etc. (and of course bicep curls if we’re trying to work those guns…)
Now, we have discussed about the high levels of stress that GVT puts on your muscles, and we must also be aware that the amount of muscular damage incurred is relatively high, too. So a very simple recommendation comes naturally: one exercise per muscle group per week is probably enough. More than two per muscle group per week is likely to push you into a state of overtraining. Depending on your training split, this might mean 1-2 exercises of GVT per day. More than this really isn’t necessary, and will actually make it very challenging for you to recover from in time for your next session. It will also be very time consuming, as a single exercise of GVT can easily take 20 minutes to perform.
Finally, I would not recommend GVT to anyone just starting out weightlifting and resistance training – as the demands on form and technique are very high. If you have been training for ~1 year or more, then by all means give it a go. Try putting it into your program for a 6-8 week cycle of training before subbing it out again.
Let us know what you think of it!