KO knows German Volume Training Part 1

By: Kerry Overfelt (KO)

GVT Training or German Volume training is a brutal workout plan if done correctly. I first heard of GVT about 15 years ago through Charles Polquin. Charles had written a few articles and a book about the training system. I did not fully understand at that time how the workout was suppose to be done . The idea of 6 weeks of 10 sets of the same exercise bored me to death at that time.

As a professional Highland games athlete I only have about 6 months to get as big and strong and explosive as possible before the season starts up again. So for me that seemed a bit of a waste of six weeks, I could be using that time to get my squat and deadlift stronger.

With that being said I decided this year to give it a try. I saw an article on twitter talking about GVT training. My partner and I had just came off a tough little 6 week modified Westside program. I decided this was the program we were going to try for the next 6 weeks. I modified the program just a bit to fit in a little bit more recovery.

The regular program calls for two lower body days and two upper body days. A regular GVT template would look like this: Monday would be 10x10 squats and stiff leg deadlifts, using about 60% of your squat max for squats and just picking a tough weight for stiff leg. Tuesday would be 10x10 bench press and t-bar over rows, Thursday is 10x10 front squat and lunges and Friday 10x10 standing overhead press and one arm rows. The upper body days you actually superset the exercises.

Here's the modified version that we came up with to help with recovery.

  • Week 1 Monday lower squats
  • Week 1 Wednesday upper
  • Week 1 Friday lower
  • Week 1 Saturday core and bi-tri ( optional )
  • Week 2 Monday upper
  • Week 2 Wednesday lower deadlifts
  • Week 2 Friday upper
  • Week 2 Saturday core and bi-tri ( optional )

We rotate on lower days from squats to dead lifts. We also tweaked our rep range on DEADLIFTS and squats. We do 10x6 on those two lifts to allow us to use a little more weight. We do 10x10 on our second lift on lower day.

Then on upper days we rotate pullups and bench press to push press and bent over rows or t bar rows. We stick to 10x10 on our upper body movements. By rotating a three day split I do not get to taxed. I could not do that much volume on squats and deads each week. It would take it's toll on me pretty fast. In my opinion a younger person could get away with this because of the quick recovery they posses. We also add weight each week to the exercises. We add 10 pounds each week to each lift.