German Volume Training

You are looking for a new training concept to fresh up your current workout routine, or just want to try something new? Then read on and I’ll tell you everything you need to know about the “German Volume Training” and why you should try this form of training!


This type of training has its origin, as the name implies, in Germany and goes back to the 70s. Also often referred to as the 10×10 or 10-set method, the goal of this form of training was to increase an athletes lean muscle mass.

Especially bodybuilders (during the off-season) or olympic weightlifters used this technique and it is currently experiencing an upturn. Why? Because, as simple as it may sound, it just works!

The training

The training form is quite simple: 10 sets of 10 repetitions are performed with about a minute break in between sets. For the weight, you should aim for 50-60% of your maximum weight. That may sound like little, but after 5-6 sets, you will already be struggling with the weight, especially if you have never trained with such a high volume.

The exercises you should choose are primarily basic exercises such as bench press, squat, barbell rows or the like. The advantage is, that you can train many and especially large muscle groups that way.

The first two exercises are usually performed according to the 10×10 scheme. Then you can add about 2-3 isolation exercises with a more common repetition scheme like 3×12 to complete your workout. Normally, antagonistic, i.e. opposite, muscle groups are trained.

Occasionally it is also recommended to perform the first two exercises (according to the 10×10 scheme) as a superset, i.e. directly after one another. I would, however, advise against it, since the stress during an exercise in is already high enough. If a superset is used here, the risk of bad form during the exercise and the risk of injury increases too much, in my opinion.

Why does it work?

As you can probably imagine, German Volume Training is a very high-volume training method. The idea is that the body can not recrute every muscle fiber during a muscular effort. Due to the high training volume and the consequently very heavy stress on the muscle, the proportion of recruited muscle fibers is supposed to increase and thus the muscle growth should be increased.

Due to the heavy stress on your body you should not use the German Volume Training permanently as a training method. After about 6 weeks it is recommended to change the training form at least temporarily.

For whom?

The German Volume Training is more suitable for advanced athletes. One reason for this is that, with the very high volume of 100 reps, it is very important to pay attention to the correct execution of the exercises. As a beginner, this will definitely be harder for you, while advanced athletes will have less problems here.

Furthermore, as a beginner you can get great results and work on your form with more common training forms and repetitions schemes. As an advanced athlete you will often reach training plateaus. The German Volume Training can be used to overcome this plateau or simply to spice up your workout routine.

The plan

Following this principle, you can create your own workout routine following the German Volume Training pretty easy. For reference, however, I want to show you a sample workout plan according to the scheme of the German Volume Training. Your week might look like this:

Monday: shoulders/back
Tuesday: break
Wednesday: legs/abs
Thursday: break
Friday: shoulders/biceps

On mondays, the exercises executed according to the 10×10-scheme might be bench press and barbell rows. As complementary exercise, you can incorporate incline presses with dumbbells and dumbbell rows.

On Wednesday your 10×10 exercise can be squats, while doing supplementary exercises such as calf raises and leg raises on the bar.

On Friday, the two 10×10 exercises might be military press and barbell curls, while your complementary exercise can be side raises.

Approximately 60% of your maximum weight is recommended as a guideline for the weight during the 10×10 sets. However, when I started with my first training session of the German Volume Training it quickly was clear to me: You won’t finish your sets with this weight ;). I finished my tenth and last set with 50% of my maximum weight.

Especially if you’re not used to such high-volume training, as I definitely am not, I would suggest to start with lighter weight and to test your limits.

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